The Jackson Hole News&Guide checks in with the Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center to bring readers weekly snowpack reports and summaries. Find avalanche reports, snow conditions and new features at JHAvalanche.org. Backcountry travel in avalanche terrain is inherently dangerous. This report is not meant to replace your own information gathering, only to be one source, and is not a replacement for taking an avalanche safety course.
Weather: Thick, heavy snowfall last week (40 to 50 inches of new snow with 3 1/2 to 4 inches of water in the Tetons) made for very dangerous avalanche conditions.
Temperatures remained high enough for periods of rain at lower elevations.
Since then clear skies have helped temps plummet into the negative, with pockets of high pressure inversions cooling the valley more than summits.
Increased visibility has allowed for additional avalanche reporting, including on Togwotee Pass.
Snowpack: On Thursday the Avalanche Center reported “rapid change” in the snowpack due to warm days, strong winds and buckets of new snow that created “upside down” conditions.
Several slides were reported throughout the valley, including one triggered by the Wyoming Department of Transportation on Teton Pass and natural activity in Snake River Canyon. (Both were reported in Friday’s Jackson Hole Daily). Jackson Hole Snow Patrol also explosive triggered a 5- to 7-foot crown in the Expert Chutes that failed on a weak layer of facets over a crust, the center reported.
By Saturday a dozen slides were reported to the center from the previous three days — most occurred on Jan. 6. On Friday there was an avalanche in a closed area at Snow King.
Avalanche danger decreased to moderate at all elevations throughout the region on Monday, though the center cautioned not to “green light” avalanche slopes.
“The fact is that weak layers persist in the snowpack,” Sunday’s report states.
Forecast: Slightly warmer temperatures, high pressure and sunshine are expected through the remainder of the week, which should reduce the deep slab problem.
“It is a slow process,” Monday’s report states. “Field stability tests continue to point to the potential for this layer to fail.”
— Evan Robinson-Johnson