Solar Aspects - High pressure remains parked off the coast of California and continues to deflect the storms to the north of the forecast region. This pattern is responsible for maintaining the warm air mass over west coast with daytime temperatures running 10 to 20 degrees above average while overnight lows struggle to fall below freezing in many locations. The result is an increased threat of wet instabilities on solar aspects (E-S-W), as long as the high-pressure ridge remains in place off the California coast. The limited snow coverage on southerly aspects will limit Loose Wet activity to isolated terrain that continues to retain sufficient snow (i.e. east to southeast facing gullies and cirques). Exposed rocky terrain features can introduce tremendous amounts of heat into the snowpack as they warm and can cause rapid localized thawing. Timing your travels to be out of steep sunny terrain before the snow thaws from the heat of the day is key to avoiding wet instabilities. Snow coverage continues to be thin with plenty of hazards lurking below the snow surface, such as rocks, logs and stumps.
Caution – On southerly aspects, possible Slide for Life conditions in the AM or as slopes begin to refreeze. A minor slide into hazardous terrain can have serious consequences. Crampons and Ice Axe recommended in exposed terrain.
Northerly aspects - Patchy persistent weakness continues to lurk within the snowpack with weak faceted sugar layers down about ~30 to ~60cm (12” to 24”) from the surface. Distribution is primarily confined to NE-N-NW aspects above ~9500’. Recent test results continue to show the potential for failure but relatively non-reactive. The northerly aspects remain somewhat cool but are showing signs of warming with the surface snow in mid-elevations warming and developing a melt/freeze crust. The crust maturity depends on solar exposure, duration, steepness, and shading. The snow is still somewhat soft in sheltered areas near treeline but the aspect window has narrowed to N to NE aspects and shading is key. Near treeline, where the persistent weakness exists, there is the potential to encounter small isolated older Wind Slabs that were deposited over facets in steep terrain, which could fail if a sufficient trigger is applied.
Below ~9,000’, natural and triggered releases are unlikely due to thin and well-anchored snow coverage (below threshold).