UDOT PLANNED AVALANCHE CLOSURES!!

Forecast for the Abajos Area Mountains

Eric Trenbeath
Issued by Eric Trenbeath for
Sunday, January 22, 2023
Human triggered avalanches remain possible on steep, wind drifted slopes at mid and upper elevations. On steep slopes with a northerly aspect, a triggered slab in the wind drifted snow may step down to a buried persistent weak layer causing a deeper and more dangerous avalanche. Avoid, steep, wind drifted slopes and thinner snowpack areas with very steep, radical terrain.
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Weather and Snow
NWS Forecast for the Abajo Mountains
Snow totals and temps at Buckboard Flat (8924')
Snow totals and temps at Camp Jackson (8858')

Weather
Look for increasing clouds today as a closed low-pressure system slides into the Great Basin. Winds will shift to southwesterly as the axis of the system moves into Utah mid-day and then turn southerly as the low digs into Arizona on Sunday night and Monday morning. Snow is likely tonight with 3"-5" inches possible. Monday should see cloudy skies in the morning turning to partly sunny later in the day. A mostly dry, northwest flow will be in place for the coming week with a weak embedded short wave bringing clouds on Tuesday night into Wednesday.

Snowpack Summary and General Conditions
The Abajo Mountains are white with a snowpack exceeding 200% for this time of year. Camp Jackson has over 5' of snow on the ground with much more likely at upper elevations around North Creek and Cooley Pass. We don't have any reports from the high country but Corey Noonan sent in this observation yesterday from around the old Blue Mountain Ski Area yesterday. Generally speaking, the snowpack is showing signs of gaining strength with the November persistent weak layer now buried far below the surface. This layer cannot be completely discounted however, especially on steep northerly facing slopes and in thinner snowpack areas where the weak layer can be more easily affected by the weight of a skier or rider. Wind loaded slopes also remain a concern. Wind drifts are recognizable by their smooth, rounded appearance, and cracking is a sign of instability. In some areas, a triggered wind slab may step down to the buried persistent weak layer causing a deeper and more dangerous avalanche. Continue to avoid steep, wind drifted slopes.
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Additional Information
If you are getting out in the backcountry, we'd love to hear what you're seeing. Please submit observations here. For the most recent snowpack observations click here. You can also send an email to [email protected] or give me a call with anything noteworthy, especially avalanches! 801-647-8896
General Announcements
This forecast is from the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content. This forecast describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur.