Avalanche Advisory
Advisory: Salt Lake Area Mountains Issued by Evelyn Lees for Sunday - December 11, 2016 - 6:41am
bottom line

The Avalanche Danger is HIGH today on all steep upper elevation slopes and CONSIDERABLE on all steep mid elevation slopes. Natural avalanches are possible during periods of strong wind and human triggered slides certain.

Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended. Those with excellent avalanche and terrain evaluation skills who do head out should stay on lower angle terrain - slopes of about 30 degrees or less, without steep slopes above you. Long running natural avalanches occurred as recently as 4 am this morning.




special announcement

Ogden and Logan area mountains - The Avalanche Warning has been extended through 6 am Monday morning.

The December 14th Fireside Chat will have two speakers - Matt McKee from UDOT and Evelyn Lees from the Utah Avalanche Center. Matt will review UDOT's new Avalanche Explosives Work Backcountry Closure Procedures for Provo, Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons and answer questions. Evelyn will discuss the current early winter snow pack and take a look at the concerns of buried crusts in the snowpack if there is time. Black Diamond retail store, 7 - 8:30 pm

current conditions

After spending two days flirting along the Idaho border, the storm track finally dropped further south. The Ogden area mountains got pummeled again overnight, with the mountains south of I-80 picking up 5 to 10” of snow. Turning in the dense snow was fast and “surfy” yesterday, even on the low angle slopes.

24-hour totals are now:

  • Ogden: over 2 feet of snow, 2 to 3” of water
  • Salt Lake: 10-18” of snow, 1.5 to 2.5” of water
  • Provo: 12” of snow, about 1.5” of water

Light snow is still falling in the mountains, and temperatures have dropped into the upper teens to mid 20s. Winds have remained from a westerly direction, and are averaging 10 to 20 mph, with gusts to 30. The highest peaks are ramping up for a few hours this morning, and are now gusting in the 50s and 60s.

recent activity
  • 3 long running natural avalanches occurred in the south facing paths above LCC early this morning.
  • Two avalanches broking to the ground yesterday on depth hoar: a hard slab in Days Fork (NE, 9700', 50’ wide) and Soldier Peak, (east facing, 9300'), where a skier triggered new snow slide stepped down to the ground.
  • There were both natural and human triggered slides within the sensitive new snow yesterday, averaging 4-8" deep. Wind drifted slopes were very sensitive.
  • A huge collapse on Emma 2, a wind loaded, southeast facing slope above Alta.

Days Fork hard slab avalanche

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 new snow did not bond well to the old snow, and both natural and human triggered new snow avalanches are likely today on steep mid and upper elevation slopes of all aspects. You may be able to trigger the new snow on just about any steep slope, but the snow will be especially sensitive in wind-drifted areas – yesterday people were able to trigger these new snow slides from a distance.

If the winds pick up where you are or above you today, a natural avalanche cycle could occur. Avoid travel below avalanche paths and in avalanche run out zones. If you travel in the backcountry, use small test slopes to check the sensitivity and depth of the cracking drifts.

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

Yesterday two slides broke to the ground in the backcountry - a warning that the depth hoar is active once again, overloaded by the new snow. Slides can break directly on this layer, or a slide triggered in the new snow could step down to the facets as it moves down slope. While the facets are most widespread at the upper elevation, note the elevations of yesterday’s slides – both below 10,000’.

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

In more isolated areas, mid pack weak layers of buried facets, wind crusts and sun crusts could produce a few deeper slides today.

At and below the rain/snow line, it will be possible to trigger small wet sluffs in the wet new snow and rain soaked old snow. Avoid travel in terrain traps, such as gullies, creek beds and below road banks, where even a small side can pile up debris.

weather

Today will be mostly cloudy, with light snow showers adding up to another inch or two. Temperatures will continue to cool, into the mid teens at 10,000’. Winds will remain from a westerly direction, averaging 10 to 20 mph, with gusts to 30 mph. The highest peaks may occasionally gust to 50 mph, mostly before noon. Another stormy period is forecast to start on Tuesday.

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.

TWITTER Updates for your mobile phone - DETAILS

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.