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Forecast for the Moab Area Mountains

Eric Trenbeath
Issued by Eric Trenbeath on
Saturday morning, April 13, 2024
The danger will quickly rise to MODERATE for wet avalanches on sun exposed slopes. Signs of instability include rollerballs, pinwheels, and sloppy wet snow. Stay off of and out from under steep slopes when these signs are present.
There are some slick, hard surfaces out there and slide for life conditions may exist. Consider carrying tools for self arrest if venturing into larger, steeper terrain.
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Special Announcements
Tomorrow, Sunday, April 14th will be the last of our regularly scheduled daily forecasts.
Road Conditions: The Geyser Pass road is melted out down to the dirt.
Grooming: Grooming is done for the season.
Announcement: Gear up for next season or snag deals to close out this season while supporting the UAC’s efforts. Your participation directly funds the state's avalanche forecasting, awareness, and education programs. Check out the auction found here!
Weather and Snow
6:00 a.m. Snow and Weather Data
24 Hour Snow 0" 72 Hour Snow 0" Season Total Snow 192" Depth at Gold Basin 53"
Winds on Pre-Laurel Peak: SSW 15-20 G 25 Temp 35° F Percent of Normal: 108%

Under cloudy skies overnight temperatures stayed well above freezing at 10,000'. Warm, breezy, and mostly sunny conditions will prevail today and tomorrow. High temps will be in the mid to upper 40's with overnight lows dipping into the upper 20's. Ridge top winds from the SW will blow in the 15-20 mph range today, increasing by about 10 mph tomorrow. By Sunday night, a Pacific low pushes into the Great Basin bringing us a chance for a few inches of snow on Monday.
General Conditions
With the lack of an overnight re-freeze, any aspirations for finding corn should be put on hold. Punchy, unsupportable conditions this morning will become wet and sloppy fairly quickly and there aren't many objectives worth pursuing today. I wish I could say we were set up for a great spring season, but in my travels yesterday I was a little dismayed at how quickly things had turned. It felt more like mid-May out there than April. The snow surface is dirty, wind affected, and is disappearing fast on some south facing slopes. For the intrepid, dedicated seekers, smooth, corn-like conditions can be found, primarily on SE-S-SW aspects near treeline and below, but this is dependent on a good, overnight freeze. Other than that, you are pretty hard pressed to find good turns out there. Maybe the Monday storm will freshen things up a bit.
Got dirt? These are the best conditions I could find out there yesterday. It was smooth and fun, but without a freeze last night, you'll need to wait until tomorrow.
Overall, conditions are deteriorating with lots of dirty, textured snow and rapidly developing thin spots.
Conditions on Mount Tukuhnikivatz or Tuk (pronounced touque). Many folks this time of year set their sites on this iconic mountain. If you are set on going up, be prepared for challenging conditions including firm snow, breakable crusts, and sloppy, wet snow as days heat up. Ski crampons will be helpful on the skin up, and carrying a tool for self arrest is recommended.
Mount Tukuhnikivatz on April 12.
Snowpack and Weather Data
Gold Basin Storm Stake (10,000')
Gold Basin SNOTEL site (10,000')
SNOTEL site near Geyser Pass Winter Trailhead (9600')
Wind Station on Pre-Laurel Peak (11,400')
NWS forecast for the La Sal Mountains.
Recent Avalanches
Click here to see the La Sal avalanche database.
Avalanche Problem #1
Wet Snow
With above freezing temps last night, the danger for wet avalanches will quickly rise on sun exposed slopes as the day heats up. This mostly applies to loose, wet, surface snow, but wet slab avalanches aren't out of the question. Wet slabs are very tricky to predict, but shallow snowpack areas that still have weak faceted snow underneath are the most suspect. If you find yourself punching through into sloppy wet snow, or if you notice signs of instability such as roller balls, pinwheels, or especially loose snow moving, it's time to wrap it up.
Additional Information
Want some more insight into the La Sal Mountains as well as the communal impacts of a tragic avalanche? Check out the latest UAC podcast with forecaster Eric Trenbeath where he discusses the range, it's often treacherous snowpack, and how the devastating avalanche in February, 1992, affected the Moab community.
Our avalanche beacon checker sign and beacon training park are up and running. A huge thanks to Talking Mountain Yurts for sponsoring those this season!
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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.