Avalanche Warning Issued
Sublette County, Continental Divide Trails, Wyoming Range, Teton area
by Bridger-Teton National Forest Avalanche Center and Pinedale Online!
December 29, 2008
The Bridger-Teton National Forest Avalanche Center in Jackson has issued an Avalanche Warning for the mountainous areas of Teton, Lincoln and Sublette Counties including Jackson Hole and Star Valley. This includes the Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail and Wyoming Range trails. The Warning is to begin immediately and last until 7:00 AM on Tuesday December 30, 2008.
Rapidly warming temperatures today have greatly increased the avalanche hazard. This rapid increase in temperatures is causing large volumes of snow to release from roofs in urban areas. It has also increased the avalanche danger in the backcountry which was already HIGH. Dangerous unstable conditions exist in the mountains and in urban areas. Travel in the backcountry is not recommended and extreme caution should used around buildings with large volumes of snow on their roofs.
This morning (Monday, December 29) avalanche hazard reduction efforts at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort triggered an avalanche in the Headwall Area that damaged a restaurant and caught four ski patrollers. No one was harmed.
Sublette County Tip Top Search and Rescue members John Linn and Tony Chambers also want to make the public aware of the extremely dangerous avalanche hazard conditions in the backcountry. Recreationists are urged to keep a close watch on conditions throughout the day and monitor avalanche advisories. Linn recommended snowmobilers make sure their equipment is in good working order and recreationists are properly prepared for the conditions before venturing out. Linn also advised people to be careful of thin ice coverings on area lakes.
"Itís very dangerous out there right now," Linn said.
The Great Outdoor Shop in Pinedale carries avalanche beacons ($300 range), shovels ($40-$70) and probes ($50-$65). This equipment is highly recommended for anyone traveling in avalanche terrain. The Great Outdoor Shop is open daily from 8AM to 6:30 PM. www.greatoutdoorshop.com
The general avalanche hazard is CONSIDERABLE. Recent new snow lies upon an unstable base comprised of persistent weak layers of faceted snow and slick crusts. Saturday, a skier died after being buried by an avalanche at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, despite rapid recovery.
Dangerous slab avalanches up to four feet in depth are becoming increasingly sensitive to human triggers and could release naturally. Warm temperatures will also weaken the snowpack. Conservative decisions and good terrain evaluation and route finding skills are essential for safe travel in avalanche terrain.
Extreme: Wide spread areas of unstable snow exist and avalanches are certain on some slopes.
Backcountry travel should be avoided.
High: Mostly unstable snow exists on a variety of aspects and slope angles.
Natural avalanches are likely. Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended.
Considerable: Dangerous unstable slabs exist on steep terrain on certain aspects.
Human triggered avalanches probable. Natural avalanches possible.
Moderate: Areas of unstable snow exist. Human triggered avalanches are possible.
Larger triggers may be necessary as the snowpack becomes more stable. Use caution.
Low: Mostly stable snow exists. Avalanches are unlikely except in isolated pockets.
For further information call 307-733-2666. To report an avalanche observation call 307-739-2607 or email the Avalanche Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.