Forecast for the Abajos Area Mountains

Eric Trenbeath
Issued by Eric Trenbeath for
Thursday, March 16, 2023
Dense, heavy snow and strong winds have caused a rise in the avalanche danger. Human triggered avalanches involving recent and wind drifted snow are possible to likely and the danger increases with elevation. Backcountry travelers need to have good route finding and snow stability analysis skills. Safest strategy today is to avoid slopes steeper than 30 degrees.
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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
6" of heavy, wet snow containing more than 1.0-1.5" of water has fallen at lower elevations with up to 10" likely up high. Under normal temperatures/conditions this would translate to almost double those snow amounts. Ridge top SW winds during the day yesterday blew in the 15-25 mph range. Though not totally out of hand, these are perfect speeds for blowing and drifting snow on to northerly aspects. A change in direction today will cause fresh drifts to from on southerly aspects at upper elevations. Soft slab avalanches will be possible to likely in the most recent snow on steep slopes on all aspects today. The danger will be greatest on steep, wind drifted, northerly aspects and these areas should be avoided. On all other aspects you'll need to assess how the new snow is behaving. Look for signs of instability such as cracking in the snow surface and see if the new snow has slab-like properties before committing to steeper terrain. If you don't have good stability analysis skills, your safest bet today is to avoid 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
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.