Avalanche Advisory
Advisory: Salt Lake Area Mountains Issued by Drew Hardesty for Monday - December 5, 2016 - 6:33am
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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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The Supreme area at Alta is now closed to backcountry travel.

Please read, please share with others: New Avalanche Explosives Work Backcountry Closure Procedures Going Into Effect.

current conditions

Well we had a good run there for awhile. Cloud cover, cool temps, and well-behaved winds helped to preserve last week's storm, but significant settlement and winds for the past 18 hours or so have run roughshod over our world class powder snow. Pre-frontal west to southwest winds are 25-30mph with gusts to 40+ along many ridgelines; even base winds have had gusts into the 30s and 40s. Temps are in the upper teens up high and in the upper 20s at the trailheads. Total snow depths are in the 20-30" range. Best to seek shelter from the wind and wind-jack in the mid-elevation northerly glades. Currently skies are overcast with light snow falling. The cold front is on the doorstep. Photo of westerly plumes on Red Baldy - AF/LCC ridgeline yesterday.

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.

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 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.

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

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.