Avalanche Advisory
Advisory: Uintas Area Mountains Issued by Craig Gordon for Tuesday - February 20, 2018 - 2:52am
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In upper elevation terrain, especially in the wind zone at and above treeline, the avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE. Human triggered avalanches are likely on steep wind drifted slopes, facing the north half of the compass, particularly those with an easterly component to their aspect. An avalanche triggered today can quickly get out of hand if it breaks into weak layers of snow, now buried deeper in our snowpack.

Expect MODERATE avalanche danger in mid elevation terrain and human triggered avalanches are possible on steep wind drifted slopes.

LOW avalanche danger is found at mid and lower elevations on slopes facing the south half of the compass.




special announcement

Our Sled 101 Avy Class was a brilliant success due in large part to all the support from The Edge Power Sports for sponsoring, Park City Powder Cats for hosting, and the Backcountry Institute for providing the talent.

current conditions

Skies are mostly cloudy and overnight temperatures crashed harder than a Dow selloff, cratering to -15 degrees in the coldest areas across the region. West winds are generally light and blowing less than 15 mph even along the high ridges. Sunday's storm favored the North Slope with a solid 16" of ultra-light, 5% density snow stacking up. Terrain south of Trial Lake got skunked and storm totals are closer to 8". In either case, it's in your face, over-the-hood, and yes... over the head.

Above are 24 hour temperatures and snow depth from upper Hayden Fork along with winds and temperatures from Windy Peak. More remote Uinta weather stations are found here

Ted was near Gold Hill yesterday and found deep, mostly stable snow. More on his travels here.

You can find a great body of recent trip reports, observations, and snow data here.


recent activity


Michael J was near Hoyt Peak and found tender corni which helped initiate sluffing and shallow soft slabs on steep slopes. More on his travels here.

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

Recent wind drifts were sensitive yesterday, cracking well out in front of your skis, board, or sled. I bet most of these instabilities relaxed overnight, but there may be a drift or two that's still reactive to our additional weight. Found mostly on the leeward side of upper elevation ridges, tender drifts may also be encountered near the entrances of steep chutes and on the sides of gully walls. So it's not completely staright-forward and today you'll want to gather as much information as possible. Be on the lookout for clues to unstable snow like shooting cracks out in front of your skis, board, or sled. In addition, tweak small test slopes like road banks and see how they're reacting before getting into steep, commiting terrain.

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

Across the range it's a tale of two snowpacks-

Where the pack is deep, it's comfortable in its own skin and can take a good thump. As a result, shallow slabs breaking within the new storm snow (as seen in Pete's image above) were the flavor of the day on Monday and I think that's the theme again today..

However, where the pack is shallow, (like this slide that Pete triggered yesterday) the jury is still out. Suspect areas include terrain that has already avalanched this year along with a vast majority of steep, shady slopes on the south half of the range... from about Trial Lake through Strawberry. As always in this case, the best offense is a good defense. Simply avoid steep, rocky, wind drifted slopes, especially if they've got a "trapdoor" or punchy feeling.

weather

Under mostly cloudy skies, snow showers continue through the morning before tapering off. Westerly winds blow in the 20's along the high peaks. It's gonna be cold, with highs barely cracking into the single digits and with clearing skies on tap tonight, overnight lows dip deep into negative territory. A break in the action for Wednesday and then a couple of weak weather systems bring a chance of light snow later in the week.

general announcements

The information in this advisory expires 24 hours after the date and time posted, but will be updated by 7:00 AM Wednesday February 21st, 2018.

If you're getting out and about, please let me know what you're seeing especially if you see or trigger and avalanche. I can be reached at craig@utahavalanchecenter.org or 801-231-2170

It's also a good time to set up one of our very popular avalanche awareness classes. Reach out to me and I'll make it happen.

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.