The Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center released a “special avalanche forecast” this morning warning back country travelers in the Cascades and Olympics that the risk of avalanche is currently very high. From the NWAC forecast:
Increasingly warm and mostly fair weather Friday through Monday along with light winds should allow for warming, melt and weakening to affect progressively deeper layers of the snowpack at increasingly high elevations.
As a result, a spring slide cycle involving much of the past season’s snowpack is probable..and should increase in intensity and severity through Monday. Increasing large wet loose or wet slab slides are likely, along with cornice falls and glide-related avalanches, especially on slopes experiencing limited recent avalanching. Some slides may involve all the winter’s snowpack, travel long distances on gentle terrain, entrain mud, rocks and trees, and descend to lower terrain having little or no snowcover. Back country travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended…especially during the later morning and afternoon hours.
At Mount St. Helens, a statement was released today offering climbers a refund on their permits because of the avalanche risk. Here is the statement from Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument:
Avalanche danger on Mount St. Helens is very high right now according tohttp://www.nwac.us/weatherdata/mtsthelens/now/.
Climbers are cautioned to prepare for extreme avalanche conditions. Climbers wanting to avoid the potential risks will be refunded the climbing permit fee. To request a refund, please call 360-449-7800 or stop into Monument Headquarters in Amboy, Wash. before climbing.
“A climbing ranger will be on the mountain to update climbers and warn climbers as to the dangers involved,” said Monument Manager, Tom Mulder. Signs sharing this information will also be posted at strategic sites including the Climbing Register at Lone Fire Resort and Marble Mountain Sno-Park.
For the most update avalanche forecasts visit NWAC.us before traveling into the backcountry.