Avalanche Advisory
Advisory: Salt Lake Area Mountains Issued by Evelyn Lees for Monday - January 23, 2017 - 6:54am
bottom line

The avalanche danger is HIGH on mid and upper elevation wind drifted terrain, and CONSIDERABLE in all other terrain. Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended – you need stay off of and out from under steep terrain, and avoid avalanche runout zones.

What is unusual today is the weak snow at the lower elevations. While avalanches may be smaller at low elevations, debris can still pile dangerously deep terrain traps such as gullies, creek beds, and below steep road banks.




avalanche warning

THE FOREST SERVICE UTAH AVALANCHE CENTER IN SALT LAKE CITY HAS ISSUED A BACKCOUNTRY AVALANCHE WARNING.

* TIMING...IN EFFECT THROUGH 6AM TUESDAY.

* AFFECTED AREA...FOR THE MOUNTAINS OF NORTHERN UTAH INCLUDING THE WASATCH RANGE...BEAR RIVER RANGE...AND THE MOUNTAINS OF SOUTHEAST IDAHO.

* AVALANCHE DANGER...HIGH.

* REASON/IMPACTS...HEAVY DENSE SNOW COMBINED WITH STRONG WINDS HAS CREATED WIDESPREAD AREAS OF UNSTABLE SNOW AT ALL ELEVATIONS INCLUDING LOW ELEVATION TERRAIN. BOTH HUMAN TRIGGERED AND NATURAL AVALANCHES ARE LIKELY. STAY OFF OF AND OUT FROM UNDER SLOPES STEEPER THAN 30 DEGREES.

special announcement

Little Cottonwood Canyon has multiple changing backcountry closures in effect, and updates will be issued all day. You need to follow @UDOTavy or us on twitter, or check the UDOT info on our home page.

Check out Mark’s Blog that summarizes the past 2 days of avalanche activity.‚Äč


If you sign up for AmazonSmile and designate the Utah Avalanche Center as your favorite charity, they will donate a portion of everything you spend to the UAC. I doesn't cost you a penny and we'd really appreciate the help.


New Date for this! Drew will be hosting the Fireside Chat at the Black Diamond store this Wednesday at 7pm. Topic: Expert Intuition in High Risk - Low Frequency Events. Best if you have a decent grasp of the different avalanche problems, but all are welcome to this informal, low key, picnic - style gathering.

current conditions

Storm “number 3” has two parts, and still we’re only in the midst of the first prefrontal part. A southwesterly flow is producing periods of strong winds and heavy snow. 6 to 8” of snow has fallen overnight in the Cottonwoods and on the Park City side, with 10 to 12” in the Ogden area mountains. This isn’t Utah powder - its dense snow averaging 10 to 15%. Winds remain from the south, with variable speeds, at times averaging up to 30 to 40 mph, with gusts in the 60s across the high ridge lines. Speeds at the mid and lower elevation stations have been in the 15 to 25 mph range. Temperatures are upper teens to low 20s.

recent activity

“It's a pretty easy formula: When we have avalanche activity and we get more snow and more wind, we get more avalanches.” Check out Mark’s Blog that summarizes the past 2 days of avalanche activity.

Numerous new snow soft slabs were triggered yesterday, failing on low-density snow or on a layer of faceted snow that was buried last Thursday. Slides occurred in both windy upper elevation terrain and on sheltered mid to low elevation slopes.

Photo: N Provo, Daly Canyon, 8000’. Photo: Mark White, Scotts Hill, 9700’.


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 winds are blowing the dense new snow into stiff new drifts that could be 1 to 3 feet deep. Drifts will be found both along the ridgelines and in open bowls and cross loaded around sub ridges and break overs in mid and upper elevation terrain. Smaller drifts can be found well into the lower elevation terrain. Some of these wind drifts will avalanche naturally; others are waiting for a trigger. So avoid travel below steep slopes, in addition to on steep slopes.

Wind slabs and cornices are breaking back further than expected along ridge lines, even onto what looks like “flat” 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

Even in wind-sheltered terrain, the dense new snow will form a slab over the low-density powder of the past few days, and slides can be triggered in sheltered areas.

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

The persistent faceted layer we are most concerned about is the snow that was on the surface last week. It’s most widespread in more sheltered, mid to low elevation terrain. Slides breaking on this layer will only be slightly deeper than new snow slides, but more tricky. They could be triggered remotely from a distance or from below, or they can be stubborn and break above you when you’re mid slope. Also, a smaller new snow slide could step down, creating a deeper, wider. Collapsing is a sign of instability.

On other aspects and elevations, there's a variety of buried thin and thick crusts, some with associated facets. These could act as weak layers or bedsurfaces, and distribution is complicated.

weather

The approaching cold front is expected to cross the northern Utah mountains by around noon. Ahead of the front, strong southerly winds and snow will continue. With the passage of the cold front, expect winds to shift to the west and gradually decrease this afternoon. An additional 6 to 12” of snow is expected today, with locally higher amounts possible.

10,000’ temperatures will cool behind the front, dropping into the single digits by Tuesday morning. Cold, unstable air could produce periods of low-density snow tonight and 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.

EMAIL ADVISORY If you would like to get the daily advisory by email 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, 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.