|Deep slab on Mt. Owen, first spotted 3/12/14
With just a tease of spring under our belt and much more warm and sunny weather inevitably to come, this begs the question: Are we seeing the tip of the iceberg right now? Did the canary just faceplant into the bottom of the cage? Warming and meltwater will continue progressing into the snowpack, first on southerly slopes, and eventually around the compass to north. We know weak layers are at the bottom of the snowpack lurking and they are proving to be reactive. Cornice falls will become more frequent as these overhanging blocks of snow continue to thaw and sag from their own massive amounts of weight. We are not out of the woods yet when it comes to deep slab problems. These last two slides should serve as a healthy reminder to use an extra dose of caution this spring in your backcountry travels. Be diligent in your terrain selection and in the attention you give to weather, snowpack, and avalanche patterns in the upcoming months.