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.

Ball Butte and Broken Top

Observation Date/Time:
Fri, Feb 14, 2020 - 5:02 PM
Phil Bowker
Broken Top Area / 7733'
Report Type:
Snow Conditions   No Avalanche Activity  
Travel Mode:
Snowmobile   Ski or Snowboard  
Sky Conditions:
Scattered (3/8 - 4/8)
New Snow:
5 cm
Wind Direction/Speed:
W / Moderate: 17-25 mph

Written Report:
At 11:36am today on Ball Butte visibility was good with broken skies, air temp was -6c, it was not snowing, but significant wind transported snow could be observed from moderate west winds.

Starting skinning up the south ridge of Ball Butte there looked to be about 5cm of new snow on the ground, boot penetration was 23cm. It was not long before the ridge became unclimbable without crampons as the winds had scoured the snow down to last weeks rain crust.

On a NE aspect at around 7733' I did manage to find a small reactive wind slab while ski cutting. It produced a small R1D1 avalanche with a 31cm crown. It ran on the rain crust from last week. See pics

On the rest of my tour of Ball Butte I tested snow on north east and south aspects getting hard hand shear results and no cracking of whumphing while ski cutting.

Over on Broken Top I climbed to the south east ridge and dug a pit on an east aspect at 8200' In a compression test I observed a CT28 BRK between the old and new snow interface 31cm down. I skied the area beside the bench above "No Name Lake" again I did not see any cracking of whumphing while ski cutting.

By the end of the day the winds had become light and wind transported snow was greatly reduced. Although I only encountered one small isolated patch of wind slab on my tour its certainly worth being cautious on lee slopes in that area.



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