It has been nearly a week since the last storm, where strong southerly winds and over a foot of new snow combined for form pockets of wind slabs on exposed northerly upper elevation slopes. These slabs have likely stabilized over the past week but there is still the chance of pulling out an isolated pocket on slopes greater than 35 degrees, which still have the potential to bury/injure a person.
Watch for variable snow surface conditions on E through SW facing slopes which have been impacted by warm temperatures and direct solar radiation.
The snowpack in the BWRA has had lots of time to stabilize since the last storm 1 week ago. There have been no recent signs of activity with the exception of wet loose on exposed southerly slopes. Isolated pockets of wind slabs may still be reactive under the weight of a rider so it is recommended to avoid wind loaded slopes steeper than 35 degrees, typically found on upper elevation north facing slopes near exposed ridgelines. Though things will be generally safe this weekend, this will rapidly change with the onset of the next storm expected early next week. The snow surface right now is a hodgepodge of crusts (on southerly slopes) and weak faceted and surface hoar layers (on shady northerly slopes). Large amounts of new snow will not bond well to these surfaces and will create dangerous avalanche conditions in the future. It will be important to monitor the presence of the layers prior to the next storm. Any observations you can provide are extremely valuable!
We were up near the PCT crossing on Thursday and observed generally safe avalanche conditions with no recent signs of activity, with the exception of some loose wet sluffs on southerly facing slopes. The warm temperatures and sunny conditions have greatly impacted E through SW facing slopes with a melt-freeze cycle occurring forming sun and melt-freeze crusts on these slopes. Shady northerly slopes above 9000' have not been effected by the warm weather and contained powdery snow and generally good riding conditions.
Clouds will increase and temperatures will cool as a weak system approaches from the north on Saturday. There is a chance of light snow with this system but accumulations will be less than 2", if any at all. Winds will increase from the west with gusts up to 35 mph on exposed ridgelines in upper elevations. A stronger system drops down from the north by Sunday night bringing increasing chances of significant snowfall through Wednesday morning and much colder temperatures.
This snowpack summary applies only to backcountry areas in the Bridgeport Winter Recreation Area. Click here for a map of the area. This snowpack summary describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. This snowpack summary expires in 48 hours unless otherwise noted. The information in this snowpack summary is provided by the USDA Forest Service who is solely responsible for its content.
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