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 March 28 & 29

THIS Avalanche Advisory EXPIRED ON Mar 29, 2020 at 6:47 pm
Avalanche Advisory published on Mar 27, 2020 at 6:47 pm
Issued by Aaron Hartz
Bottom Line
Watch for shallow windslabs forming on easterly aspects near treeline and above treeline. Although likely to be small, triggering a windslab could have consequence in steep or committing terrain.
Avalanche Character 1: Wind Slab
New windslab formation will depend on the new incoming snow and wind. I expect any new windslabs to be shallow and resulting avalanches to be small (D1). Watch for new and reactive windslabs on easterly aspects, near treeline and above treeline. These typically form below ridgetops and around other features that catch blowing snow. Windslabs forming over loose snow could be particularly sensitive to triggering and could run fast. Windslabs from the previous storm will become stubborn to non-reactive.
Snowpack Discussion
The 15-20 cm of new snow from the last week has been reported to be bonding well to the old melt freeze crust. Solar aspects below treeline have a breakable crust on the surface. Faceted snow has been found in the Paulina zone, down 40cm. In the Sisters area, below the recent storm snow the snowpack is generally settled and strong.
Recent Observations
There have been numerous small size D1 loose snow avalanches; natural and skier triggered reported from south, east, and north aspects. Several small D1 natural and skier triggered windslabs have been reported from east and north aspects.
Mountain Weather
Going into the weekend we will likely see a cloudy sky and the potential for a few inches of new snow on Saturday and Sunday. The wind is expected to be SW-W-NW and light with moderate gusts. The daytime high temperatures will be riding the freezing line (+/-) at lower and mid elevations.

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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