Forecast for the Abajos Area Mountains

Eric Trenbeath
Issued by Eric Trenbeath on
Sunday morning, March 12, 2023
Rain at low elevations, and blowing and drifting snow up high have created potentially dangerous avalanche conditons in the mountains. Backcountry travelers need to have good snow stability assesment skills. Be alert to signs of instability such as cracking in the snow surface and know how to recognize and avoid wind drifted slopes. At lower elevations stay off of steep terrain that feels wet or punchy.
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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')

Snowpack Summary and General Conditions
I don't have any reports from the mountains yesterday but here is what I do know. It rained all day in Monticello and it appears that it rained up to at least 9000'. SNOTEL sites in the area are reporting close to an inch of water with 0-2" of snow. An inch of liquid water falling on snow definitely creates an unstable situation as the pack becomes saturated. Temps dropping into the low 20's last night will help to lock things up, but I can't say that they will stabilize entirely. Things usually need some time to adjust after such a rapid change.
Up high that much water likely translates to 8"-12" of snow. Add wind and you have a recipe for unstable areas of wind drifted snow at the least, as well as possible storm slab avalanches. I'd give things a little time to settle out up there before venturing on to slopes steeper than 30 degrees.
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
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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.