Avalanche Advisory
Advisory: Uintas Area Mountains Issued by Trent Meisenheimer for Thursday - February 11, 2016 - 4:54am
bottom line

At and above treeline, especially in the wind zone, a MODERATE avalanche danger exists and human triggered avalanches are possible on steep, wind drifted slopes. Any avalanche that breaks to weak, sugary snow near the ground has the potential to be deep and dangerous. Remember- MODERATE avalanche danger means we can still trigger large avalanches in isolated areas.

Steep sunny slopes get in on the action today and the danger of wet slides and sluffs increases to MODERATE with daytime heating.

Wind sheltered terrain that is under 30 degrees in slope steepness is the ticket for finding both LOW avalanche danger and great riding conditions.




special announcement

Join us next Tuesday for a companion rescue workshop hosted by our good friends at Weller Recreation. Click here for more details and to register.

Avalanche Canada put together a great video on snowmobile education a couple years ago - giver a click

Throttle Decisions: Outreach Component from Avalanche Canada on Vimeo.

current conditions

High pressure continues dominating the weather pattern over the region, giving us clear skies and morning temperatures in the upper 20's and low 30's. However, it's a different story when the sun is high in the sky and by noon the 10,000' high temperatures start creeping into the low 40's.

The sun has cooked almost all aspects ruining the powder party. However, out of the wind and sun zone there is still soft settled powder on the shady (north) facing terrain. Winds up high are blowing out of the northwest 10-15mph gusting into the 20's. Loose just a little elevation and the wind doesn't exist .

Left photo - showing the soft settled powder on the north facing terrain. Right photo - sun crust that is found on all other aspects. (Photo: Kikkert)

Trip reports and observations are found here.

recent activity

Ted discovered this wind slab which released naturally a couple days ago, on a steep shady slope in the Millcreek Drainage. Otherwise no new avalanche activity has been reported from the backcountry. Recent avalanche observations are found here

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See or trigger an avalanche? Shooting cracks? Hear a collapse? It's simple. Go here to fill out an observation.

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 sunshine and warm temperatures will soften the snow surface as the day wares on. If you're feeling like an ant under a magnifying glass.... so is the snow. During the heat of the day simply get off of an out from under steep sunny slopes and avoid terrain traps like gullies and road cuts where avalanche debris can pile up very deeply.

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

Deeply triggered slides are still on our radar, but they're becoming more elusive and harder to trigger. However, there is a common theme to this winters problem child... steep terrain that faces the north half of the compass, at or above tree line, and particularly slopes that previously avalanched during the big Solstice Storm should be considered suspect.

Terrain with these characteristics had weak sugary snow develop due to their shallow nature, and January storms added roughly 3-5 feet of stronger snow on top. It's kind of like an early season snowpack and you know the drill by now- strong snow on weak snow... no good.

A few days ago the winds had been all over the place and wind slabs are becoming more stubborn to non existent. However, with enough prodding I bet you could still trigger either an old or a freshly formed drift along the leeward side of upper elevation ridges, that then has the potential to break into these deeper weak layers.

Photo below is a good example of the type of avalanche we are talking about. (Kikkert Photo)

weather

Anyone seen the movie Groundhogs Day starring Bill Murray? well... the weather will be a lot like the movie. We are stuck in high pressure for at least the next couple of days. Other than a few high clouds and northerly winds increasing into the 20's, it'll be pretty quiet in this department. High temperatures reach into the mid 40's today with overnight lows in the 20's. About the same through the end of the work week.

general announcements

Remember your information can save lives. If you see anything we should know about, please participate in the creation of our own community avalanche advisory by submitting snow and avalanche conditions.   You can call me directly at 801-231-2170, email craig@utahavalanchecenter.org, or email by clicking HERE If Craig is unavailable you can reach his partner Trent at 801-455-7239, email trent@utahavalanchecenter.org 

This is a great time of year to schedule a free avalanche awareness presentation for your group or club. You can contact me at 801-231-2170 or email craig@utahavalanchecenter.org. To register for the first in our series of on-the-snow sled specific classes you can register here.

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.

The information in this advisory expires 24 hours after the date and time posted, but will be updated by 7:00 AM on Friday, February 11th.