South Coast

South Coast

Date Issued:

Valid Until:

Forecaster: swerner

Persistent slab avalanche problems are tricky to manage and predict. They tend to linger, waiting for a trigger. Check out the Forecasters' BLOG for further details on the conditions in the South Coast region.

Wed, 27 FebThu, 28 FebFri, 01 Mar
Alpine2 Moderate2 Moderate2 Moderate
Treeline3 Considerable3 Considerable3 Considerable
Below Treeline2 Moderate2 Moderate2 Moderate
Confidence: Moderate - Forecast snowfall amounts are uncertain on Thursday
Wed, 27 FebThu, 28 FebFri, 01 Mar
Alpine2 Moderate2 Moderate2 Moderate
Treeline3 Considerable3 Considerable3 Considerable
Below Treeline2 Moderate2 Moderate2 Moderate
Confidence: Moderate - Forecast snowfall amounts are uncertain on Thursday

Persistent Slabs

Travel and Terrain Advice

  • Use conservative route selection, choose moderate angled and supported terrain with low consequence.
  • Minimize exposure to sun exposed slopes when the solar radiation is strong.
  • Be aware of the potential for wide propagations due to the presence of a buried weak layer.

Loose Dry

Travel and Terrain Advice

  • Use caution above cliffs where small avalanches may have severe consequences.
  • If triggered the loose dry sluffs may step down to deeper layers resulting in large avalanches.

Forecast Details

Avalanche Summary

No recent avalanches reported. I suspect loose dry slufing in steeper terrain features and possibly stiff, isolated wind slabs in open areas in the trees and/ or the alpine.

Persistent slab avalanches on the buried crust layer are still a serious concern with conditions not changing in the near future. One occurred naturally on a south-facing feature at treeline elevation on Wednesday (see MIN report here). Last Monday, a fatal avalanche occurred on a steep feature at treeline elevation in the Mount Seymour backcountry (see here for incident report). Avalanche professionals involved in the rescue indicated wide propagation consistent with a persistent slab problem. The crown depth was variable - 40 to 100 cm, indicating there was also wind loading in that area.

Snowpack Summary

Roughly 30 cm of snow from the weekend storm sits above a mix of sun crusts and possibly some weak faceted snow and surface hoar. Below this gradually strengthening interface, a widespread crust layer is now buried 50-100 cm deep with weak snow above it. This deeper weak layer has produced large natural and human-triggered avalanches over the past week. A couple of videos from last Wednesday demonstrate how easy it is to trigger this layer. (see here and here)

The reactivity of this layer appears to be worse in the south of the region (i.e. the North Shore Mountains), since this part of the region saw more snow from recent storms and this storm snow consolidated into a stiffer slab. This problem is not typical for the region and we expect this layer to remain reactive for some time into the future. The lower snowpack is settled and strong.

Weather Forecast

WEDNESDAY: Mostly cloudy. Alpine temperatures near -2 and ridgetop winds light but gusting strong from the East.

THURSDAY: Snow 10-15 cm with treeline temperatures near -5 and moderate ridgetop winds from the southwest. Freezing levels near 400 m.

FRIDAY: Mix of sun and cloud. Treeline temperatures near -3 and ridgetop winds light from the East.

Source: avalanche.ca

South Coast