Avalanche Advisory
Advisory: Ogden Area Mountains Issued by Mark Staples for Thursday - December 22, 2016 - 6:17am
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The avalanche danger is MODERATE today at upper and mid elevations where triggering a wind slab or a deeper persistent slab avalanche remains possible. The danger is LOW at the low elevations.




special announcement

Once again this winter, our partners at the Wasatch Mountain Club are matching WMC member donations to the Utah Avalanche Center. If you are a WMC member and value avalanche forecasting and education, please send a check made out to the Utah Avalanche Center to the WMC at 1390 South 1100 East #103, Salt Lake City, UT 84105

current conditions

This morning temperatures at most places are in the low 20's F with winds blowing 10 mph gusting 15 mph from the SE. There is a mixed bag of conditions today. Recent strong winds and warm temperatures have made soft powder harder to find.

recent activity

Yesterday at least one hard wind slab was triggered with explosives at a ski area about a foot deep on a NE facing, upper elevation slope. The most recent reported avalanche in the backcountry occurred on Tuesday when an observer on Ben Lomond Peak watched a small avalanche happen in front of him, 50 ft wide and 1 foot deep at 7000 feet.

Photo: B. Smith

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

Recent winds early this week on Monday and Tuesday blowing from the SW created many hard slabs in the Ogden area mountains. In some places these hard, wind slabs have bonded to the underlying snow with the help of recent warm temperatures. In other places these wind slabs may rest on weak, faceted snow crystals as was observed on Tuesday on Ben Lomond Peak, and these wind slabs can still be triggered. This variation makes tricky stability assessments and the best travel advice is to avoid these wind slabs in 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

Buried faceted layers create persistent slab avalanches because this type of avalanche problem persist for a long time. Without loading from recent snow or wind blown snow, this type of avalanche problem becomes harder to trigger and obvious signs of instability are not present. The main thing to do is (1) avoid slopes with wind blown snow from SW winds early this week, and (2) dig about 3 feet deep in several spots and perform stability tests looking for these faceted layer of snow.

There's a slim chance of triggering a very large avalanche at the ground like one that happened on Monday in Little Cottonwood Canyon in the Birthday Chutes. A similar avalanche that occurred naturally last weekend was spotted by an observer near Bountiful Peak. These deep slab avalanches are rare but deadly events. They can occure on NW, N, and NE facing slopes at the highest elevations where snow existed in early and mid November.

weather

Today will have some clouds and sun with temperatures rising near 30 degrees F. Southerly winds will blow 5-10 mph. A storm in southern and central Utah will send some clouds north today but no precipitation is expected until another storm arrives Friday evening with strong winds followed by cold temperatures.

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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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.