Unsettled weekend weather predicted
summit daily news
SUMMIT COUNTY ” Spring may have sprung, but the Colorado Avalanche Information Center is calling for at least a few more waves of wintry weather to roll through the High Country in the next few days, bringing a chance of isolated slides on steep, north-facing terrain around tree line.
Those areas harbor fair amounts of unconsolidated snow, said forecaster Scott Toepfer in his most recent update of the Summit County avalanche hotline.
Predicted new snow and winds could form slabs up to a foot thick and create pockets of moderate slide danger with a potential for triggered releases, Toepfer said.
For the first time this year, the hotline will be updated through the end of May every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday with avy info and weather forecasts as a service for backcountry travelers in the local mountains, at (970) 668-0600.
With two large low pressures systems merging over Utah and moving into Colorado Friday, skies could stay unsettled through the weekend, with a warmup expected Sunday through next Tuesday, when a colder system should move in bringing the chance for yet more snow.
Toepfer said a cornice failure Tuesday on an eastern aspect on Baldy Mountain, near Breckenridge, triggered a medium-size slide that stepped down to an icy layer in the snowpack.
With temperatures forecast to remain cool the next few days, wet snow slides won’t be the biggest concern until things heat back up, potentially early next week. Then, the recent snows could once again result in wet slab and point-release slides. This winter’s huge cornices can also become dangerous as the weather heats up, and should be avoided for safe travel.
Afternoon thunderstorms are also in the forecast the next few days, and spring mountaineers should plan their trips to avoid the highest peaks when there is a potential for lightning. A very general rule of thumb is to complete your climb and begin the descent before midday.
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