Mountains have 'hair trigger' avalanche conditions as La Sals receive a foot of new snow
Jan 10, 2019 | 548 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
“Heads up! It’s dangerous out there and avalanche conditions are the touchiest I’ve seen in years,” said Eric Trenbeath of the Utah Avalanche Center. “The avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE – new snow and wind-drifted snow have dangerously overloaded a weak snowpack, and human-triggered avalanches on steep slopes facing west, north and east are likely if not certain,” he said.

At upper elevations, a high likelihood for human-triggered avalanches may also exist on southeast facing aspects. Said Trenbeath, “Backcountry travelers need to possess excellent route-finding skills and know how to avoid steep, avalanche-prone terrain. This includes not usually recognized areas such as gullies, steep banks, or the toes of moraines. Slopes do not need to be that tall to bury you.”

Southeasterly winds picked up around 9 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8 and have been averaging 25 mph with gusts into the 40s. Mountain temperatures are currently in the mid 20s. A weak disturbance will bring clouds to the area Thursday, Jan. 10 and Friday, Jan. 11, with dry conditions through the weekend.

Sunday’s storm Jan. 6 brought 12 inches of dense snow to the mountains, accompanied by strong southwest winds. Snow conditions are definitely “upside down” with lower-density snow underneath the most recent snow, Trenbeath said. Conditions are soft in sheltered areas but a bit tricky due to the inverted nature of the snowpack.

“The new snow has greatly improved coverage and we now have a 40-inch base in Gold Basin.

Avalanche conditions are the touchiest I’ve seen in years and it’s definitely 'hair trigger' out there right now,” he said.

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