2022 Spring Statement
Avalanche forecasts have ended for the 2021-2022 winter season.
Mild weather and potential for stable snowpack conditions can make our mountains inviting in the spring and early summer. However, avalanche accidents can and do occur year-round. Any kind of weather can occur any month of the year and unstable snow may develop quickly. Keep your avalanche brains engaged. Your ability to evaluate the snowpack and terrain remain crucial for safety in snow-covered mountains. When in doubt, remember you can almost always avoid avalanches by avoiding travel on or below slopes steeper than 30 degrees.
In “typical” springtime nightly freeze, daily thaw cycles:
- Avalanche danger is lowest in the morning—plan to travel in and out of the mountains early
- Wet snow avalanches may occur with daytime warming
- If you see recent avalanches, or your boots sink easily in soft, wet snow, avoid similar slopes
In multi-day periods without an overnight freeze:
- Wet snow avalanches may occur any time of day
- Extended warm weather may produce large, destructive wet slab, wet loose, or glide avalanches
- Cornices can fail and may trigger larger wet snow avalanches
During wintry storms:
- Wind slab or storm slab avalanches may occur during or immediately after a storm
- Consider avoiding avalanche terrain when you find more than 6-8” of new snow, and during times of heavy snowfall or wind drifting.
- Warm weather or sunshine immediately following a storm may increase avalanche danger and could produce natural avalanches
Also remember that spring melt/freeze cycles produce non-avalanche hazards, like weak snow bridges above flowing water and hard, refrozen snow conditions that easily allow a long sliding fall. Keep these and other hazards in mind as you stretch out your snow season. You can help your fellow backcountry users by submitting observations on our website. Continue to choose terrain appropriate to the conditions and have a fun, safe spring and summer in the mountains!