Avalanche Advisory
Advisory: Salt Lake Area Mountains Issued by Drew Hardesty for Saturday - April 2, 2016 - 6:15am
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A LOW avalanche danger will rise to MODERATE and then CONSIDERABLE with daytime heating. The rapid rise of avalanche danger will start on the east, then south, then westerly facing aspects...with all but high north getting into the game by midday. Early starts and early exits are key this time of year. You're asking for trouble if you are in or below the steepest sunlit aspects after the snow has become unsupportable. Cornices may calve with the heating today...and the Glide avalanche habitat of Stairs, Broads, and Mill B South should be considered suspect.

special announcement

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current conditions

Skies are clear. Temps are generally in the mid 20s (roughly 5-10° warmer than they were last night); winds are hardly a whisper. All but high north will have a zipper to breakable crust this morning that will soften with daytime heating.

Review of Snow and Weather from this past week (via Greg Gagne): Last weekend was highlighted by a glide avalanche that released in Broads Fork on Saturday with the debris covering recent tracks. On Monday, a storm moved in to the region, with high precipitation rates and a south/southeast wind leading to sensitive avalanche conditions as well as some natural avalanche activity on Monday and especially early Tuesday. The primary weak layer was the new snow/storm snow interface. The S/SE flow (unusual for us) put down the greatest snow amounts in upper Big Cottonwood Canyon as well as along the Park City ridgeline, with storm totals of 16-24" in the Cottonwoods and 18" along the Park City ridgeline.

By Wednesday, conditions had stabilized, however one notable avalanche within storm snow was reported from Depth Hoar Bowl in Mill Creek Canyon. Thursday brought a few inches of snow to the Cottonwoods, and was otherwise quiet apart from loose, natural avalanches on some steep, north-facing couloirs in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Yesterday's activity below.

recent activity

Many of the steep southerly avalanche paths above Little Cottonwood Canyon produced natural wet loose avalanches yesterday from 11am to 3pm. Many of these ran over 1000' with enough debris to bury a person. Photos below (Pagnucco).

But that's not all. There was a very close call in the Monte Cristo gulley yesterday at about 11am. (Monte Cristo is just west of Superior on the Cottonwood ridgeline above Little Cottonwood Canyon.) Two snowboarders descended Monte Cristo Direct at 1030am. At the choke, Person A successfully rappelled down and waited for Person B to join him below. At that point, a wet loose slide cascaded down upon them from above, pummeling Person B who was on rappel while catching and then carrying Person A over two minor cliffbands. It is not known whether the person on rappel was clipped into the anchor or backed up with an autoblock above or below his rappel device. It is also not known whether the loose sluff was a natural or triggered from above. One can only imagine the sound of a waterfall coming down from above while in such radical terrain. After the avalanche, both were able to make it down to the road unassisted. (Aerial photo below of Monte Cristo yesterday courtesy Powderbird)

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

The greatest concern for today continues to be heat-related activity. Yesterday had the benefit of cooler starting and overall temps and a touch of northerly wind; however today won't have such luck. Despite a decent refreeze due to clear skies and below freezing temps, the snow will soften and become unsupportable and unstable earlier today. When you start to see pinwheels, small natural wet slides, or you start to gouge in the wet slop with your skis or machine, it's time to head to a cooler aspect and low angle terrain. As the cold early week storm snow transitions with the heating, the sluffs may pry out a few wet slab avalanches as well.

Note: Pay attention for wet activity in mid to low elevation north aspects, particularly during the afternoon hours.

As always, you can click on the 'i' next to the infographic above for more information and travel advice.


We'll have clear skies, light westerly wind, and daytime highs at 10,000' and 8000' in the mid 30s and low 50s, respectively. May see a few more clouds tomorrow with a weak storm Monday/Tuesday. High pressure rebounds for mid-week with perhaps a mirage of a storm on the horizon for next 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!

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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.