As of March 30th, COAC has suspended backcountry avalanche advisories and pro observations until further notice.

On March 23rd, Governor Brown of Oregon issued Stay at Home orders for the public regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. The directives are clear in that “to the maximum extent possible, individuals stay at home or in their place of residence.” On March 27th the Deschutes National Forest issued a closure of all developed recreation sites including trailheads and snoparks. COAC is committed to supporting our community, local emergency services, and agency partners and because of this we felt it important to cease operations as we all work together to minimize the impacts and spread of COVID-19.   

This decision was not taken lightly. Aside from the need to maintain congruency with the Governors' orders, there are inherent risks with backcountry activities in alpine environments and it’s important to consider unnecessary exposure to COAC forecasters, first responders, and local medical staff in light of the current situation.

We look forward to getting back into the mountains and providing you all with the tools to recreate safely in the backcountry. Until then we thank you for your continued support and wish all our mountain community the best of health and wellness.

Advisory for Feb. 1 & 2

THIS Avalanche Advisory EXPIRED ON Feb 2, 2020 at 11:19 pm
Avalanche Advisory published on Jan 31, 2020 at 11:19 pm
Issued by Aaron Hartz
Bottom Line
On Saturday morning, the wet loose problem will likely still be with us although that should go away with falling air temperature by midday. As we begin to see new snow accumulate later in the day on Saturday, expect danger to increase related to the windslab problem. Remember, anytime you observe signs of unstable snow, move to lower angle terrain.
Avalanche Character 1: Wind Slab
This will be timing related and will come on as we start to see some accumulation of new snow on the ground. As we see a few inches of snow falling, expect new windslabs to begin forming on NE-E-SE aspects near treeline and above treeline. They will not be everywhere throughout the terrain; watch for evidence of wind transported snow on lee slopes below ridge tops and around features that catch wind blown snow. Triggering a windslab will be possible to likely in the right terrain. The potential size will start out small, and if we see 6 to 8" or more of new snow we could see windslab avalanches up to size D2; wind can deposit snow many times deeper than what falls on the ground. If you see cracking in wind transported snow, this is a sign that windslabs are likely to trigger.
Avalanche Character 2: Loose Wet
Once again, this will be about timing. The air temperature is expected to remain around mid 30's F through Saturday morning. Triggering small loose wet avalanches will be possible for people venturing out for dawn patrol missions on Saturday. Watch for these at the lower elevations below treeline on steep slopes. Once the temperature drops below freezing, this problem will go away.
Snowpack Discussion
The upper and mid pack are generally showing good structure and are right side up. We have no new observations from the deep pack in the Sisters area. In the Paulina Peak zone, weak rounded faceted snow was reported to still be near the base of the snowpack.
The 1/18 rain crust is now 50 to 80 cm below the surface. Storm snow from the last few days has become wet and heavy with a thin melt freeze crust on the surface forming late Friday.
Recent Observations
Reports of avalanche activity this week were mostly related to the windslab problem and/or cornice break. Multiple windslab avalanches were reported over the last 3 or 4 days from east and north aspects near treeline. By Friday, the previous windslab problem seems to have been mostly healed.
Mountain Weather
Air temperature is expected to be warm through Saturday morning and begin falling late morning or midday. Along with falling temperature, we will likely see new snow falling by midday Saturday. Wind is expected to be out of the NW, W, and SW and light to moderate with strong gusts.

This snowpack summary applies only to backcountry areas. Click here for a map of the area. This snowpack summary describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. This snowpack summary expires in 48 hours unless otherwise noted.

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