Avalanche Advisory
Advisory: Ogden Area Mountains Issued by Drew Hardesty for Monday - December 5, 2016 - 6:57am
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The avalanche danger is MODERATE for all wind drifted slopes today. These wind slabs may be more pronounced on mid and upper elevation easterly (northeast to southeast) facing aspects, but terrain channelling allows for other aspects to be drifted as well. Approach any steep pillowy rounded slope with caution. These are changing conditions and the best and safest terrain will be in mid-elevation wind sheltered terrain with moderate slope angles.




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current conditions

The cold front is on the doorstep. Skies are overcast with light snow falling, but the west to northwest winds are hammering 25-30mph and temps have already started plummeting into the low teens and single digits. Some gusts overnight reached into the 70s along the high peaks. Snow depths are 18-30" in the mountains but snow quality will take a hit with the impact of the winds.

recent activity

No activity reported from the backcountry yesterday in the central Wasatch, but observers in Ogden and Logan found new wind slabs in drifted terrain. Below - a 10" deep wind drift on an east facing slope at 8500' in Logan, below.

A ski party on the Cutler ridge yesterday reported they "ski cut a small wind slab at a roll over bulge, that was 10-15cm deep along the crown, about 15'-20' wide, that went about 80' or so in a 30-35* gully. So wind slabs, particularly in terrain traps, could be a problem." Thanks for all the reports from Ogden this season.

Avalanche Problem 1
type aspect/elevation characteristics
LIKELIHOOD
LIKELY
UNLIKELY
SIZE
LARGE
SMALL
TREND
INCREASING DANGER
SAME
DECREASING DANGER
over the next 24 hours
description

Chalky wind drifts will be more widespread and scattered onto more aspects and elevations and certainly not confined to just the lee of ridgelines. Some drifts will be in the lee of sub-ridges and cross-loaded into gullies and beyond mId-slope break-overs. I suspect that these drifts may be up to and over a foot deep in some locations and 50-75' wide. Cracking of the snow...or even - in a tactile way - a change in the texture of the snow to stiff and pillowy should be signs to avoid steep terrain.

Avalanche Problem 2
type aspect/elevation characteristics
LIKELIHOOD
LIKELY
UNLIKELY
SIZE
LARGE
SMALL
TREND
INCREASING DANGER
SAME
DECREASING DANGER
over the next 24 hours
description

The early season snow lingered on upper elevation northwest, north and northeast facing slopes, forming a faceted layer of snow on the ground. The most recent backcountry slide failing on the facets was last Wednesday and in the central Wasatch. It was on a slope with a smooth rock slab beneath the snow. Many of the suspect slopes harboring this structure have been tested and ridden with and without reckless abandon over the past week with no ill effect or results. Despite the marginally poor structure, this avalanche problem is mostly dormant with the potential for activity in isolated areas, such as steep, rocky terrain. There has been no cracking or collapsing on this layer for days.

Photo of snowpack - Craig Orum at 8200' north facing aspect.

Avalanche Problem 3
type aspect/elevation characteristics
LIKELIHOOD
LIKELY
UNLIKELY
SIZE
LARGE
SMALL
TREND
INCREASING DANGER
SAME
DECREASING DANGER
over the next 24 hours
description

Building cornices may calve on approach and may break a bit further back than expected. Note the rose above refers to ridgelines at the mid-elevations.

weather

The first in a couple weak disturbances this week is on the doorstep. Unfortunately we'll see gusty winds and very cold temps but little in the way of precipitation. Expect perhaps 1-3" today with diminishing winds and temps plummeting to the very low single digits at 10,000'. Winds today will be northwest, blowing 30-40mph along the high ridgelines. Another wave moves through tomorrow, dropping high mountain temps to zero or just below. We might see another couple inches out of this as well. A warming trend sets up for later in the week ahead of a larger storm system slated for Friday into the weekend. More on that in our mid-day mountain weather forecast.

general announcements

On Wednesday December 7th the UAC is hosting the 13th annual Pray for Snow Party and Fundraiser in Logan. Details here.

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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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.