Decreasing Danger

The snowpack in the Provo Mountains (essentially everything on the south side of the Little Cottonwood/American Fork ridgeline down toward the Skyline) has a more, shall we say, tender snowpack.  Larger naturals occurred with last weekend's storm and significant avalanches have run naturally and with human weight over the last several days.  These avalanches may be triggered from a distance, even from below.  Here's a list of avalanches since the last storm  -

03/7/2018 Provo region: Avalanche: Elk Point, Natural trigger - unknown deep - Unknown' wide
03/6/2018 Salt Lake region: Accident: Major Evans Gulch, Snowmobiler trigger - 3' deep - 500' wide
03/6/2018 Salt Lake region: Avalanche: Mill Canyon, Skier trigger - 2.5' deep - 200' wide
03/5/2018 Salt Lake region: Avalanche: Mary Ellen, Snowmobiler trigger - 3' deep - 45' wide
03/4/2018 Provo region: Avalanche: Box Elder, Natural trigger
03/4/2018 Provo region: Avalanche: Santaquin Canyon, Hiker trigger - 6" deep - 30' wide
03/4/2018 Provo region: Avalanche: Cascade Ridge, Natural trigger - 3" deep - 800' wide
03/2/2018 Provo region: Avalanche: Provo, Skier trigger - 18" deep - 300' wide
Persistent Slab
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Current Conditions: 

Skies are mostly clear with mountain temps in the upper 20s to low 30s; winds are 10-15mph from the southwest.  Snow depths are 30-45" in the mid-elevations of the Provo mountains and riding conditions are good.  The southerly aspects will be crusted this morning. 



Recent Activity: 

The Provo mountains have had significant avalanche activity over the past week with a large natural out of the NE Chute of Elk Point most likely yesterday. Elk Point is a sub-peak of Timpanogos, looming large above Aspen Grove (up the street from Sundance). It likely ran over 3000' and left a sizeable debris pile (pc: Warnick). Elk Point has some of the more interesting avalanche paths on Timpanogos and the NE Chute was the site of the tragic triple fatality the day after Christmas 2003. (Disregard the slope and aspect on the app below. The starting zone was probably 10,600' on a very steep east to northeast face.)

Mountain Weather: 

High and dry with some more cloud cover filtering through this afternoon. Expect ridgetop highs to be in the mid-30s with light west to southwest winds. I expect the winds to pick up this afternoon, particularly in the Logan area mountains and along the Idaho border. A weak cold front moves through Friday night and we may see a few flakes of snow. Saturday has some clearing with high pressure building back over the state. Some clouds early week. Later in teh week looks interesting...though it may be a southern Utah special. Stay tuned.

Bottom Line: 

Areas of CONSIDERABLE danger exist for hard slab avalanches 2-4' deep and a couple hundred feet wide on west to north to southeast facing slopes at the mid and upper elevations. These avalanches may be otherwise unsurvivable.

The danger for wet avalanches on the steep sunny aspects will also rise accordingly with direct sun and daytime heating.

Roof-a-lanches are likely and have resulted in fatalities in years past.

Loose Wet Snow
Increasing Danger

Warmer overnight temperatures, early direct sun, and temps warming to the 40s at the mid-elevations, and perhaps some later afternoon greenhousing will certainly activate the wet avalache activity. Natural and human triggered wet avalanches will be likely and may subsequently trigger still-stabilizing storm slabs on the way downslope. I expect there may be decent debris piles beneath the steepest, most sustained avalanche slopes. Don't overstay your welcome - the window will be quite narrow between breakable crust and wet/unstable. Choose the cold snow instead.

KEY POINT: ROOF-A-LANCHES will be a significant concern. Watch for many houses to shed their winter coats with the sun and daytime heating. Fatalities have occurred due to this very real hazard.

Overall Danger Rating: 
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This information does not apply to developed ski areas or highways where avalanche control is normally done. This advisory is from the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur.

Tomorrows Danger Rating: 
Thursday, March 8, 2018

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