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. 5 & 6

THIS Avalanche Advisory EXPIRED ON Feb 6, 2020 at 7:54 pm
Avalanche Advisory published on Feb 4, 2020 at 7:54 pm
Issued by Aaron Hartz
Bottom Line
If you travel in the near treeline and above treeline elevation zones, use caution on lee slopes in avalanche terrain. Windslabs will be the primary concern and although resulting avalanches will likely be small, there could be consequence in committing terrain.
Avalanche Character 1: Wind Slab
Windslabs will build primarily on on NE-E-SE aspects near treeline and above treeline. Windslabs will not be widespread, but in specific locations. Look for wind deposited snow below ridge tops and around other features that catch wind transported snow. Human triggered windslab avalanches will be likely in the right terrain, although resulting avalanches will mostly be on the small side (D1-D1.5). If new snow accumulation exceeds expectations, these could become larger.
Avalanche Character 2: Loose Wet
This one will depend a lot on the weather conditions on Wednesday and Thursday. If we see rain (more likely on on Thursday) we could have possible human triggered, small loose wet avalanches below treeline on all aspects. If the high temperature does not rise above freezing and/or we don't get any rain on snow, loose wet avalanches will not be a problem.
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.
The upper pack is a mix of melt freeze crusts, rain crusts, and intermittent layers of decomposing and/or rounded grains. The recent 5-10 cm of storm snow landed on a rain or melt freeze crust created last weekend.

In the Paulina Peak zone, weak rounded faceted snow was reported to still be near the base of the snowpack.
Recent Observations
Very little avalanche activity has been reported in the last 4 days. Very small windslabs were skier triggered near the top of the Tumalo bowl (east aspect, near treeline).
Mountain Weather
Snow is on the way. We could see several inches on new snow on Wednesday and maybe a few more through Thursday. The daytime high temperature will creep up to near or just above freezing. Wind is expected to be light to moderate and mostly out of the southwest, west and northwest.

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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