Avalanche Advisory
Advisory: Ogden Area Mountains Issued by Evelyn Lees for Tuesday - April 5, 2016 - 7:21am
bottom line

The avalanche danger is LOW today, but unstable snow could be found on isolated terrain features, especially this afternoon . Even with the cooling temperatures, it may be possible to trigger an isolated wet loose sluff or wet slab avalanche. Also identify and avoid cornices, fresh wind drifts and avoid travel below any open glide cracks. If the snow heats where you are and becomes wet and sloppy, the avalanche danger will rise to MODERATE.

special announcement

On April 8-9 the Adventure Gear Expo, Utah’s largest interactive adventure festival and outdoor gear sale for the public, will be at the South Town Expo Center in Sandy highlighting 100+ local and national retailers, manufacturers and non-profits in active outdoor sports, outdoor photography and adventure travel. If you buy tickets online using the promo code GOUAC, you will get a $2 discount and they will donate $2 to the UAC.

current conditions

Behind a duo of cold fronts, temperatures are continuing their downward trend this morning – most stations have dropped 15 to 20 degrees since yesterday afternoon, and are now in the twenties. Only the lowest elevations are still in the 30s, but still dropping. Winds are currently from the west to northwest, averaging 15 to 25 mph along the high peaks and ridge lines.

recent activity

There were few observations from yesterday’s almost empty backcountry. In Little Cottonwood, two slides were reported – a natural wet slab avalanche in south facing Cottonwood Draw and a wet loose natural avalanche in the south facing Maybird slide path. There were also multiple settlements of the frozen surface snow in the morning, similar to Friday’s “corn slab” settlements in the Ogden area mountains.

Avalanche Problem 1
type aspect/elevation characteristics
over the next 12 hours

Clouds, wind and dropping temperatures should help keep the snow pack cool today, with a low danger this morning. However, backcountry travelers will still need to be alert for a variety of springtime avalanche problems. Depending on the balance of sun, cloud cover and wind, the avalanche danger could rise to MODERATE this afternoon.

“Corn slabs” are a strange type of wet slab avalanche. While wet slab avalanches are generally associated with wet or slushy surface conditions, “people have been known to trigger wet slab avalanches even when traveling on a fully frozen and supportable surface crust. It is worth noting that even a thick, supportive crust can break down very quickly if the underlying snow pack is warm and wet.”* Two warning signs of potential “corn slab” activity are collapsing as you travel on a frozen surface or when the crust starts to soften and feel “bendy”. Either of these means it’s time to get off steep slopes.

If the sun comes out and it heats up the snow this afternoon, it may be possible to trigger an isolated wet sluff on the steepest sunny slopes. And as always, avoid travel below cornices and any opening glide cracks, and avoid any fresh wind drifts.

*(Haegeli, P., Atkins, R., and Klassen, K. (2010) Auxiliary material for Decision making in avalanche terrain: a field book for winter backcountry users).

I like this Canadian icon - Low danger in the morning, increasing danger with heating.


Temperatures will continue to drop this morning under the cool northwesterly flow, bottoming out around noon in the upper teens along the high ridge lines. Winds could increase at times before noon, with speeds along the high elevation ridge lines reaching 30 to 40 mph, with gusts to 60. Winds will decrease this afternoon and temperatures start to warm. Clear and cold tonight, followed by high pressure and a significant warming trend through Friday. Scattered rain and snow showers are expected this weekend.

general announcements

Remember your information can save lives. If you see anything we should know about, please help us out by submitting snow and avalanche conditions. You can also call us at 801-524-5304, email by clicking HERE, or include #utavy in your tweet or Instagram.

To get help in an emergency (to request a rescue) in the Wasatch, call 911.  Be prepared to give your GPS coordinates or the run name. Dispatchers have a copy of the Wasatch Backcountry Ski map.

Backcountry Emergencies. It outlines your step-by-step method in the event of a winter backcountry incident.

If you trigger an avalanche in the backcountry, but no one is hurt and you do not need assistance, please notify the nearest ski area dispatch to avoid a needless response by rescue teams. Thanks.

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DAWN PATROL Hotline updated daily by 5-530am - 888-999-4019 option 8.

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UDOT canyon closures:  LINK TO UDOT, or on Twitter, follow @UDOTavy, @CanyonAlerts or @AltaCentral

Utah Avalanche Center mobile app - Get your advisory on your iPhone along with great navigation and rescue tools.

Powderbird Helicopter Skiing - Blog/itinerary for the day  

Lost or Found something in the backcountry? - http://nolofo.com/

Ski Utah mobile snow updates

To those skinning uphill at resorts:  it is critical to know the resort policy on uphill travel.  You can see the uphill travel policy for each resort here

Benefit the Utah Avalanche Center when you shop from Backcountry.com or REI:  Click this link for Backcountry.com or this link to REI, shop, and they will donate a percent of your purchase price to the UAC.  Both offer free shipping (with some conditions) so this costs you nothing!

Benefit the Utah Avalanche Center when you buy or sell on ebay - set the Utah Avalanche Center as a favorite non-profit in your ebay account here and click on ebay gives when you buy or sell.  You can choose to have your seller fees donated to the UAC, which doesn't cost you a penny.

This information does not apply to developed ski areas or highways where avalanche control is normally done.  This advisory is from the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always exist.