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Avalanche danger considered “High” above 7500 feet

According to the most recent report from the Jackson Hole Avalanche Center, avalanche danger in the area is considered “High”, particularly between 7,500 and 9000 feet.

The report stated “very dangerous avalanche conditions exist. New snow and strong southwesterly winds have added load to a snowpack that has buried weak layers. Additional snowfall and strong winds that are to veer to the northwest during the day will further stress these weaknesses. Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended as natural avalanche activity is likely and human triggered avalanches are very likely. Avalanches could occur in the form of wind slabs at higher elevations or as persistent slabs at all elevations, involving older weak snow that lies close to the ground.”

“Persistent weak layers of faceted snow exist throughout the backcountry. Above 9000 feet, if one of the these persistent slabs is triggered, it is likely to be in the form of a very large hard slab with depths of three to five feet. They could be more sensitive between 7500 and 9000 feet, where they could be hard or soft and have depths of two to four feet. At the low elevations the structure of the snowpack is very poor. At these elevations, slabs will be sensitive and are likely to involve faceted snow to the ground. The sensitivity of these slabs will also increase as additional snowfall and strong winds further load avalanche starting zones.”

A fatality in the Star Valley area took place on December 19, 2020 in the Sheep Pass area.

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