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.

Santiam Pass Conditions

Whumpfing sounds or cracks
Observation Date/Time:
Sat, Mar 7, 2020 - 3:46 PM
Gabe and Nick
Santiam Pass Area (including Three Finger Jack)
Report Type:
Snow Conditions   No Avalanche Activity  

Written Report:
We toured on the Southern shoulder of Three-finger Jack skiing most East aspects in a burn. Although we saw light blowing snow along ridgelines, we didn't see any wind slabs, probably because there was so little new snow. There was 5 cm. of new snow on an edge-able crust.

For the majority of our tour it was overcast and occasionally snowing, but never really piling up. The wind was light, but moderate at ridge-tops. We saw light blowing snow at ridgetops. At 5030 ft. at 11:00 AM it was -1 degree C. The snow depth was 255 cm. and there was 5 cm. of new snow.

It is notable that we experienced one small collapse in a NE facing meadow at 5770 ft. Upon digging in to the snow, we were surprised to find buried surface hoar down 25 cm. Even in the profile that we dug, this layer wasn't uniform, and in most locations that layer was actually a melt-freeze crust. I'm thinking this was a bit of an anomaly, and it didn't change our ski plan (we continued to ski steep, open, East facing slopes). This layer would be several weeks old, and I've heard no reports of avalanches on this layer, nor observations of it's existence anywhere else.


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