We often enjoy good stable spring conditions in Central Oregon, however there are still things to watch for. We can have winter-like storms well into early summer. When that happens we often see winter-like avalanche problems. If we receive new snow, watch for windslabs on lee slopes and features that become cross loaded. Storm slabs can become an issue if we get significant snowfall (think 8” or more). If you are unsure of the stability, give the new snow a couple of days to settle and bond.
Warm sunny weather following a snow storm can bring about a wet slab problem and loose wet avalanches can be larger than normal. On the warm sunny days, travel when the snow surface is colder and stronger. Plan your days to avoid crossing on or under very steep slopes in the afternoon. Move to colder, shadier slopes once the snow surface turns slushy. If you see rollerballs, and/or the snow is becoming slushy, avoid steep, sunlit slopes above terrain traps and cliffs areas.
Remember, if you observe signs of unstable snow or if you have increased uncertainty surrounding your day, adjust your terrain strategy and move to lower angle and/or less complex terrain.
Always make sure everyone in your group carries a beacon, shovel, and probe and knows how to use it.