Avalanche Advisory published on March 29, 2017 @ 5:35 am
Issued by Andy Bond - Taos Avalanche Center

3. Considerable


Above Treeline

3. Considerable


Near Treeline

2. Moderate


Below Treeline

CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger exists due to storm slab avalanches above and near treeline, where moderate to strong winds and newly fallen snow has created dangerous avalanche conditions. Human triggered storm slab avalanches are likely near and above treeline and remain possible below treeline. Steeper terrain will be most suspect today. Cautious route finding and conservative decisions are essential.  

  • Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding and conservative decision-making essential.
Avalanche Problem 1: Storm Slab
  • Character ?
  • Aspect/Elevation ?
  • Likelihood ?
    Very Likely
  • Size ?
    Very Large

8-12" of snow has fallen in the last 24 hours with about 1" of Snow Water Equivalent. The avalanche danger has increased with this new snow and increase in NE winds last night. You can trigger a storm slab avalanche today, and natural avalanches are possible.  Larger more destructive avalanches will be at near and above treeline, but storm slab avalanches will still be a problem at lower elevations.  Carefully evaluate your terrain today as steep slopes and areas drifted in with more snow are going to be the most dangerous. NE winds are not a typical wind direction for our range so expect loading in atypical spots. 

advisory discussion

The end of March has not disappointed as we have transitioned back into winter and have finally hit a 100" base.  An additional 8 - 12" of wet snow has fallen from this storm in the last 24 hours with about 1" of Snow Water Equivalent (SWE).  This new snow combined with winds averaging in the 20 to 30 MPH range out of the NE overnight have created dangerous avalanche conditions today. Some additional snow and continued moderate to strong winds today will continue to add to these storm slabs near and above treeline.  Reports coming in this morning are of major snow drifting at mid and upper elevations. The focus today should be on steep slopes and areas of drifted snow as this is where you are most likely to trigger a storm slab avalanche.  

Carefully evaluate the terrain you plan to get on.  Recent avalanches and shooting cracks are obvious signs of instability and danger.  Digging down into the snow and checking the interface between this new and old snow is a good idea to see how well this new snow is bonding to the existing surfaces.  These storm slabs are sitting on a variety of old snow surfaces from the sunny day on Monday.  Look for "pillow" like features below ridgetop cornices and areas that have been crossloaded.

If the sun does pop out today, with warming temperatures expect to see some small loose wet avalanches.  This will be more of a concern tomorrow, but as is the case with these late spring stroms and our high sun angle, newly fallen snow warms quickly.  Avoid steep slopes that are showing signs of warming like roller balls, pinwheels or wet snow. Even a small slide that is big enough to knock you off your feet can be distastrous in high consequence terrain.   


We will issue the next advisory on Thursday morning, and if you get out into the backcountry, please share any observations with us at or on the "submit observations" tab at the top of the homepage - and Thank You!

Events and Happenings:

Many of you have been asking and we are going to be teaching a Level 1 avalanche class Friday March 31st - Sunday April 2nd.  For more information please email Andy or Graham at or

Sorry gang, we don't have an avalanche beacon problem set up this week (yet) but will keep you posted as soon as we do.

recent observations

Snow started falling mid morning on Tuesday with about 6" of snow throughout the day.  Winds remained calm throughout most of the day before picking up in the evening hours.  Temperatures slowly dropped throughout the day and evening.  




CURRENT CONDITIONS Weather observations from the Wheeler Peak Wilderness between 9000 ft. and 13000 ft.
0600 temperature: 18 deg. F.
Max. temperature in the last 24 hours: 32.3 deg. F.
Average wind direction during the last 24 hours: NE
Average wind speed during the last 24 hours: 15 mph
Maximum wind gust in the last 24 hours: 60 mph
New snowfall in the last 24 hours: 8-10 inches
Total snow depth: 100.7 inches

The first of two pacific storms to impact our area is making it's exit into Texas.  We'll have some lingering snow showers throughout the day today.  Winds picked up out of the NE last night and look to shift to the N today (10-25 MPH).  We'll have a break from the snow on Thursday with sunny skies before another storm impacts our area starting on Friday.

Two-Day Mountain Weather Forecast Produced in partnership with the Albuquerque NWS
For 9000 ft. to 10000 ft.
  Wednesday Wednesday Night Thursday
Weather: Snow Likely Partly Cloudy. Slight chance of snow in the evening Mostly Sunny
Temperatures: high to 37 deg. F. low to 22 deg. F. high to 46 deg. F.
Wind direction: N NW W
Wind speed: 10-25 5-15 5-15
Expected snowfall: 0.2-0.8 in. 0.1-0.2 in. 0 in.
For 11000 ft. to 13000 ft.
  Wednesday Wednesday Night Thursday
Weather: Snow Likely Partly Cloudy with a slight chance of snow showers in the evening Mostly Sunny
Temperatures: high 27 deg. F. low to 20 deg. F. high 36 deg. F.
Wind direction: N NW W
Wind speed: 10-25 10-20 10-15
Expected snowfall: 0.2-0.7 in. 0.1-0.2 in. 0 in.

This advisory applies only to backcountry areas outside established ski area boundaries, Click here for a map of the area. . This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. This advisory expires 24 hours after the posted time unless otherwise noted. The information in this advisory is provided by the Taos Avalanche Center who is solely responsible for its content.