Utah Avalanche Center: High Avalanche Danger
By: Craig Gordon
HEADS UP…. IT’S SKETCHY OUT THERE TODAY AND AVALANCHE CONDITIONS ARE DECEPTIVELY TRICKY
In upper elevations, at and above treeline, the avalanche danger is HIGH. Human triggered avalanches are very likely, especially on steep, wind drifted slopes, and particularly on slopes facing the north half of the compass.
CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger exists on mid elevation terrain and human triggered avalanches are likely on steep slopes with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.
Less widespread and pockety in distribution, a MODERATE avalanche danger is found on wind drifted, low elevation terrain and human triggered avalanches are possible on steep, north facing slopes.
Low elevation south facing slopes and terrain that held no snow prior to the Christmas Eve storm offer generally LOW avalanche danger.
* AFFECTED AREA…FOR THE MOUNTAINS OF NORTHERN UTAH INCLUDING THE BEAR RIVER RANGE, WESTERN UINTAS, AND ALL THE WASATCH RANGE…THE OGDEN, PROVO, SALT LAKE AND PARK CITY AREA MOUNTAINS.
* AVALANCHE DANGER…THE AVALANCHE DANGER FOR THE WARNING AREA IS HIGH TODAY.
* IMPACTS…RECENT SNOW AND WIND HAS CREATED WIDESPREAD AREAS OF UNSTABLE SNOW. HUMAN TRIGGERED AVALANCHES ARE LIKELY. STAY OFF OF AND OUT FROM UNDER SLOPES STEEPER THAN 30 DEGREES. AVALANCHES CAN BE TRIGGERED REMOTELY FROM A DISTANCE AND FROM BELOW.
BACKCOUNTRY TRAVELERS SHOULD CONSULT WWW.UTAHAVALANCHECENTER.ORG OR CALL 1-888-999-4019 FOR MORE DETAILED INFORMATION.
THIS WARNING DOES NOT APPLY TO SKI AREAS WHERE AVALANCHE HAZARD REDUCTION MEASURES ARE PERFORMED.
West and southwest winds continued blowing into the 40’s and 50’s for most of Christmas Day. With plenty of fresh snow to work with, they’ whipped up a fresh batch of stiff wind slabs. While found mostly along the leeward side of mid and upper elevation ridges, I wouldn’t be too surprised to find sensitive drifts cross-loaded around terrain features like chutes and gully walls. Common theme is… slabs are most prevalent on slopes facing the north half of the compass. Today you’ll want to look for and avoid any fat, rounded piece of snow, especially if it sounds hollow like a drum. Remember- clues to unstable snow include shooting cracks and whoomphing sounds or collapses of the snowpack. The snowpack is still relatively thin and the bummer with low tide conditions is, triggering even a small slide greatly increases your chances of slamming into a season ending rock or stump.