The dump of wet snow on the west side of Steven Pass has launched several uncontrolled avalanches today and the situation is not going to get better because more heavy snow is forecast for this area.

The snow situation at Scenic Hot Springs may not seem that bad once you get into the treeline, but remember that there is a huge amount of very steep mountainside about the springs, rising to about 5,000 ft and it is in those areas where the greatest danger of slides can occur, including three natural chutes that the trail going up must traverse.

My suggestion to everybody . . . stay away from Scenic Hot Springs. This weather is just too dangerous.

From the Northwest Avalanche Center . . .

A sustained storm system has brought the following amounts of new snow the last 5 days: Hurricane Ridge 54”, Mt. Baker 68”, Stevens and Snoqualmie Passes 53”, Mission Ridge 22”, Crystal Mtn and Mt. Rainier area 46”, and Mt. Hood area 52”. The effect of this has been widespread instability in the top two feet of the snowpack. This morning numerous natural soft slab avalanches have been reported from around Crystal Mountain, Stevens Pass, and Tumwater Canyon on the east slope. Also there have been reports of very easy crack propagation once releases occur. Washington DOT got at least 12 releases on control work this morning on Stevens Pass, all about 2 feet deep. Mt. Hood Meadows got one release yesterday that was 3 to 4 feet deep. The number of reported avalanches is only modest, but keep in mind that visibility is bad, so that we have no reports of avalanche releases in backcountry areas.

The backcountry avalanche danger is rated high to extreme. An avalanche warning remains in effect for the Olympics and Cascades because on the likelihood, or even certainty, of natural and human-triggered releases. Strong winds above 5000 feet have created widespread slab formation which is probably most dangerous on north through east aspects.