The Haines Borough’s first avalanche-oriented weather station is a couple weeks from going online.

About 10 people climbed up Mount Ripinsky Saturday to assemble the solar-power station equipped with a rain gauge, anemometer and thermometer with an antenna setup to transmit information to the Haines Avalanche Information Center, where it is posted on the organization’s website.

At a later date, the center expects to install a sonic snow-depth sensor at the station, which is on Mount Ripinsky’s tree line at roughly 2,600 feet in elevation.

In a couple weeks, a specialized cable will be taken up the 3,675-foot mountain to put the station online.

“We look forward to making this resource available to the community,” said Erik Stevens, the Haines center’s director.

Mount Ripinsky is a popular skiing and hiking area. And it is prone to avalanches, with the area tallying a few dozen each winter. The area between Haines and Canada has three avalanche zones – the Lutak zone including Mount Ripinsky, the Transitional zone south and west of Klukwan and Chilkat Pass zone farther northwest.

Avalanches have killed five people in those three zones in the past five years.

The Mount Ripinsky station is for the Lutak zone. The Haines center hopes to eventually add weather stations in the other two zones.

“Ripinsky gets more use than many other areas around here,” Stevens said.

Red flags for increased avalanche danger include recent heavy snowfalls, a significant increase in temperature, high winds and snow piling up on the leeward sides of mountain slopes.

The data from the weather station will be shown at the Haines center’s website to help it with its current forecasts of avalanche probabilities at The Haines center is an affiliate of the nonprofit Alaska Avalanche Information Center, which has a website at

Stevens encourages hikers and skiers to write about their personal observations on the Haines center’s website.

The Mount Ripinsky weather station was paid for with a few thousand dollars donated by the Rasmuson Foundation and the Chilkat Valley Community Foundation.