Avalanche Advisory
Advisory: Moab Area Mountains Issued by Eric Trenbeath for Friday - March 24, 2017 - 6:45am
bottom line

The avalanche danger is MODERATE today and heightened avalanche conditions exist both for wind slab, and storm snow avalanches. In upper elevation, wind exposed terrain, areas of CONSIDERABLE danger may exist on steep slopes facing NE-E-SE that have recent deposits of wind drifted snow. And with daytime heating, there will be an increasing MODERATE danger for loose wet avalanches on steep, sun exposed slopes. Backcountry travelers need to maintain a heightened level of awareness for a variety of avalanche problems today.




current conditions

March is roaring this morning, and strong, northwesterly winds are tearing into the 5 plus inches of new snow we received yesterday afternoon and evening. Starting around midnight, winds have averaged 30-40 mph with gusts into the 60's on Pre Laurel Peak. Winds came on about an hour after the snowfall tapered off. Convective showers during the day yesterday only produced an inch or two but by late last night, totals at the Geyser Pass Trailhead were 5" with half an inch of water content. Above 10,000' I'd expect to find 7" or more. The underlying snow surface is a bit rugged, and strong winds have hammered exposed northerly aspects. You'll have to find shelter at the lower and mid elevations for decent conditions. It's currently 28 degrees at the Geyser Pass Trailhead and 18 on Pre Laurel Peak.

Wind, temperature and humidity on Pre Laurel Peak. (11,700')

Storm totals and temperature in Gold Basin. (10,000')

Snow totals, temperature and snow/water equivalent at the Geyser Pass Trailhead. (9600')


recent activity

Avalanche Problem 1
type aspect/elevation characteristics
LIKELIHOOD
LIKELY
UNLIKELY
SIZE
LARGE
SMALL
TREND
INCREASING DANGER
SAME
DECREASING DANGER
over the next 24 hours
description

Strong winds and new snow form wind slabs, and that will be your primary concern today. Cross loading will be factor, and you will need to look for slabs that have formed in unusual places or further down slope. Look for signs of instability such as cracking in the snow surface, and avoid steep slopes with fresh deposits of wind drifted snow.

Avalanche Problem 2
type aspect/elevation characteristics
LIKELIHOOD
LIKELY
UNLIKELY
SIZE
LARGE
SMALL
TREND
INCREASING DANGER
SAME
DECREASING DANGER
over the next 24 hours
description

I suspect that the new snow was most sensitive during the night, but today you may still find loose, dry sluffs, or cohesive soft slabs within the new snow on slopes steeper than 35 degrees on all aspects. Check for sensitivity on test slopes before committing to larger terrain.

Avalanche Problem 3
type aspect/elevation characteristics
LIKELIHOOD
LIKELY
UNLIKELY
SIZE
LARGE
SMALL
TREND
INCREASING DANGER
SAME
DECREASING DANGER
over the next 12 hours
description

Dry snow is most susceptible to avalanching immediately after it gets hit by strong sun and warmer temperatures. As the day heats up, you will need to be alert to the potential for loose, wet slide activity on sun exposed slopes. Look for signs of instability such as roller balls and pinwheels, and of course, loose snow sluffs. It's time to get off of, and out from under steep slopes when these signs are present.

weather

Today we'll see clearing skies and a brief period of ridging before the next storm system affects our area on Saturday. High temperatures at 10,000' will be in the low 30's and northwest winds will continue to blow in the 20-30 mph range along ridge tops.

general announcements


Road Conditions: The road to Geyser Pass Trailhead is down to the dirt. Expect a few inches of snow to accumulate later in the day depending on snow levels.

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The information in this advisory is from the US Forest Service which is solely responsible for its content. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur.