Tumalo tour conditions

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Thursday, Mar 16, 2017 3:35 PM
Aaron Hartz
Pro Ob
Three Sisters Area (44.004507, -121.642170)
Ob Date/Time:
Thu, Mar 16, 2017 - 2:56 PM
Report Type:
Snow Conditions
Mode of Travel:
Ski or Snowboard

Written Report:
Winter made a comeback today. It was nice to see a bit of fresh snow and a reset on the surface. Skinning was great up the west side of Tumalo. The snow was supportable under foot with about 5cm (2") of fresh snow. The air temperature was below freezing throughout my tour. The visibility was coming in and out near the top, but was trending better around noon.

The small amount of new snow combined with west wind, added to the cornices and created some "diving boards" sticking way out. The cornices remain a real concern here in Central Oregon. Much of the Tumalo bowl (mostly facing ENE aspect) is lined with cornices, so be really careful looking for your entry point into the bowl. Watch for these at ridge tops and high points near and above treeline throughout the region. The new snow and wind combined to make some very shallow wind slab in a few places. The wind slab was easily cracking and breaking out beneath my skis however it was shallow and only about 5-10cm (2-5") thick. It was too shallow to be much of a concern, but watch in other areas where the wind slab had a chance to accumulate into a thicker layer. This was found at the top of the bowl in a spot that was absent of cornice. No other signs of instabilities were observed.

Skiing in the bowl was great, as long as you avoid the fallen cornice chunks and old avalanche debris :)

For now, the dip in air temperature took care of the wet problems that the observers have been talking about over the last week. However, it looks like starting tomorrow we could see a return of warmer day time air temperature. Any time the temperature bumps up well above freezing, watch for loose wet avalanches, especially on sun affected slopes. If we get heavy rain for a prolonged period of time, the potential for wet slab problem could come back. If you can squeeze water out of a snowball, then there could be enough water in the snow pack to weaken old layer boundaries. If you can't squeeze water of a snowball, then the wet slab is probably not much of a concern.

More snow and weather information:
Time: 10:45 Elevation: 6440ft Location: West side of Tumalo
Aspect: WSW Sky: Broken Clouds
Precip: light snow flurries Air Temp: -3.5C (26F)
Wind: Calm
Height of new snow: 5cm (2")

Time: 11:50 Elevation: 7770ft Location: Tumalo summit
Sky: Broken Clouds
Precip: No Air Temp: -7.5C (19F)
Wind: Light - west

Temperature: -7.5°C Sky: Broken skies Wind: West @ 1-16 mph
Elevation: 7770 ft


Caption: Overhanging cornices. Watch out!

Caption: Shallow wind slab in a few places at the top of the bowl.

Caption: Great turns in the bowl.