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GNFAC Pre-Season Avalanche Info

GNFAC Pre-Season Avalanche Info

Issued on October 3rd, 2017:

by Galatin National Forest Avalanche Center

Location of the avalanche on Imp Peak, MT. image: GNFAC

Good Morning. This is Doug Chabot with pre-season avalanche, weather, and event information for the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center issued on Tuesday, October 3. This bulletin is sponsored by The Friends of the Avalanche Center and sponsors of Powder Blast on October 27, 2017.

Mountain Weather:

Last night the Bridger Range picked up 6” of new snow. Other ranges got 1-2”, with the exception being West Yellowstone, which got missed. This morning mountain temperatures are in the teens and ridgetop winds are out of the west at 15-20 mph. Snowfall is tapering off and the next shot of moisture is Wednesday night which will be followed by sunny skies and seasonal temperatures.

Snowpack and Avalanche Discussion:

Since Saturday night 6-10” fell in the northern mountains and 3-6” fell in the south. Ridgetop winds are westerly at 15-20 mph in the Bridger Range and are strong enough to drift snow and create wind slabs. Areas with the deepest snow, least amount of rocks, and most inviting skiing will be wind-loaded areas: gullies and higher elevation slopes. This presents a quandary because wind-loaded slopes are where someone could trigger an avalanche.

Avalanches are more easily triggering during a storm and soon after the snowfall and or wind-loading stops…today and tomorrow. Even small avalanches injure and kill. The sacred rules of backcountry travel are not loosened in October:

  • Carry rescue gear (beacon shovel and probe) along with other personal safety you normally carry mid-winter (i.e. helmet or airbag).
  • Only expose one person at a time in avalanche terrain, both heading up and sliding down.
  • Cracking and collapsing of the snow, most likely in wind drifts, are signs that slopes are unstable and could avalanche.

With snow on the ground, now is a good time to sharpen our minds and check our gear. Replace batteries in your beacon, recharge your airbag, make sure probe poles aren’t sticky, and shovel parts fit together smoothly. There are many avalanche education opportunities this fall, such as an avalanche workshop next Wednesday evening (October 11) at MSU. Check out the full education offerings HERE.

Posted from Snow Brains

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