Avalanche Advisory
Advisory: Salt Lake Area Mountains Issued by Bruce Tremper for Sunday - January 26, 2014 - 5:20am
bottom line
  • The avalanche danger is generally LOW, with Pockets of MODERATE danger on steep, upper elevation slopes, facing north through east. On these slopes you have a low probability of triggering a large and dangerous avalanche.
  • The snow on the steep, sunny slopes will heat today, and if it becomes wet and sloppy where you are, switch to a cooler aspect.
  • The avalanche danger is greater in the Logan and western Uintas area mountains, so check out their specific forecasts.



special announcement

Dawn Patrol Hotline - remember we record an early avalanche information hotline usually by 5:15 each morning - 888-999-4019, option 8.

FOCUS GROUP PARTICIPANTS NEEDED! We are trying to learn more about sidecountry riding and need your help. If you are between 17 – 30 years old, sometimes use lifts to get into the backcountry, and have little or no formal avalanche training, we want you to be a part of a focus group in SLC Feb 4. This will help us learn how to make avalanche education more relevant to you and those you ride with. We'll have FREE SKULLCANDY GEAR and pizza for all who join us for 2 hours. Hit us up if you think you fit the bill, at [email protected] PLEASE SHARE THIS with people you think might fit that description.

current conditions

It's been nearly two weeks since our last snow and the snowpack is showing its age. You can find most every snow surface condition with the exception of powder. It's sun crusted, icy or completely bare on the sunny aspects, wind damaged in the upper elevation wind exposed terrain and mostly tracked up, old, faceted snow on the wind and sun sheltered slopes, occasionally mixed with an old freezing rain crust. The intrepid Mark White posted a great observation posted from yesterday on Gobbler's Knob, which pretty much says it all.

Here is a map of the Intermountain Region which displays the percent of normal snowpack. Although Colorado and Wyoming are close to average, a swath through Utah and Idaho remain 40-70 percent of normal for this time of year.

Here are some selected sites: In general, the upper elevations are closer to normal than the lower elevations.

Ben Lomond Peak 60%
Dry Bread Pond 49%
Farmington 66%
Mill D North 41%
Snowbird 68 %
Brighton 73%
Timpanogos Divide 39%
Daniels Strawberry 48%
Strawberry Divide 36%

recent activity

The last triggered avalanche in the Wasatch Range backcountry occurred a little over a week ago, and with nearly two weeks since the last snow, the avalanches are mostly sleeping or just bored, waiting for the next load of snow to spring out of hibernation. Remember if you are headed to the Uinta Mountains or the Logan area mountains, the snowpack is much more unstable there. Be sure to monitor the latest advisory from those regions.

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

The avalanche danger is mostly low but I still don't quite trust this very weak snowpack. To make an avalanche you need three ingredients in the snowpack, 1) poor snow structure, 2) poor strength and 3) energy. The only thing we are missing is the energy. So what do I mean by "energy"? A constant mantra you hear from me, that snow is just like people; it doesn't like rapid change. With nearly two weeks since it had a load of snow to stretch its rubber band (energy), the snow is relaxed and dormant, like a sleeping cat draped over the back of the couch. But there's some cats you just don't want to startle. These avalanches will be large and dangerous. Avalanche danger depends on BOTH probability and consequences and these avalanches will have low probability combed with high consequences.

The place where you probably have the best chance to trigger a slide today would be a steep, rocky slope with a thin snowpack combined with a lingering wind slab.

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 snowpack is generally stable, but even with a low danger, human triggered slides are still possible in isolated areas. Use normal caution, with the following considerations:

  • Avoid both old and any newer hard wind slabs, mostly found in upper elevation terrain.
  • Wet sluffs could be triggered today as the snow heats up on steep sunny slopes.
  • Each person in your party should carry an avalanche beacon, shovel and probe.
  • Travel one at a time in steep terrain, and watch your partners.
weather

I know it looks and feels like spring--or perhaps a winter that never came--believe it or not, we actually have some real live snow in the forecast for this week. Strange but true. We have a series of weak impulses coming from the west from Wednesday through Friday. We may be able to squeeze around 6 inches of new snow out of these. So stay tuned.

In the mean time, it's same as it ever was...sunny with highs just above freezing, overnight lows in the 20's, winds light.

general announcements

Remember your information can save lives. If you see anything we should know about, please participate in the creation of our own community avalanche advisory by submitting snow and avalanche conditions. You can also call us at 801-524-5304 or 800-662-4140, email by clicking HERE, or include #utavy in your tweet or Instagram.

If you trigger an avalanche in the backcountry - especially if you are adjacent to a ski area – please call the following teams to alert them to the slide and whether anyone is missing or not. Rescue teams can be exposed to significant hazard when responding to avalanches, and do not want to do so when unneeded. Thanks.

Salt Lake and Park City – Alta Central (801-742-2033), Canyons Resort Dispatch (435-615-3322)

Snowbasin Resort Dispatch (801-620-1017), Powder Mountain Dispatch (801-745-3772 x 123).

Sundance Dispatch (801-223-4150)

EMAIL ADVISORY We have switched to a new SLC email advisory system. If you would like to get the daily advisory by email, or if you have been getting the advisory by email since the beginning of the season and wish to continue, you will need to subscribe here.​  

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

Twitter Updates for your mobile phone - DETAILS

UDOT canyon closures:  LINK TO UDOT

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

Wasatch Powderbird Guides Blog/Itinerary for the Day.  

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

Ski Utah mobile snow updates

Discount lift tickets are now available at Backcountry.com - Thanks to Ski Utah and the Utah Resorts.  All proceeds go towards paying for Utah Avalanche Center avalanche and mountain weather advisories.

To those skinning uphill at resorts:  it is your responsibility to know the resort policy on uphill travel.  Some allow uphill travel and have guidelines, some don't. Contact the Ski Patrol at each resort for details. IMPORTANT: Before skinning at a resort under new snow conditions, check in with Ski Patrol.  Resorts can restrict or cut off access if incompatible with control and grooming operations.

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.