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.

Broken Top and Ball Butte conditions

Observation Date/Time:
Wed, Mar 11, 2020 - 12:00 PM
Aaron Hartz
Broken Top Area
Report Type:
Snow Conditions  
Travel Mode:
Ski or Snowboard  

Written Report:
I toured on south, east, and north aspects on Ball Butte and on SE, S, and SW aspects on Broken Top. Previously formed shallow windslabs were observed on east aspects below ridgetops, but they were not reactive. I found no cracking and no slabs moving under my skis. The windslabs I observed are becoming well bonded to the older snow surfaces.

I observed very small skier triggered loose wet slides on a SW aspect above treeline (a la mode run on Broken Top). I observed no other signs of unstable snow and no other avalanche problems. I found great skiing on windward aspects that were softened by the sun and warm temperature.

I found remnants of surface hoar (on the surface) on southerly slopes near the base of Broken Top; it was decomposing and laying down.

Wind ranged from calm to light and out of the W and SW. Scattered clouds were present throughout the day. At noon at an elevation of 7800 on Ball Butte, the air temp was 1.5C (35F).

I encountered some very slick crust surfaces near ridgetops on Ball Butte.

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