Teton Pass closed, backcountry travel discouraged with avalanche danger high - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Teton Pass closed, backcountry travel discouraged with avalanche danger high

(WYDOT)

CASPER, Wyo. — Avalanche danger in the Teton area is high above 7,500 feet on Tuesday, Jan. 14.

That is according to the Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center who say that strong winds and snowfall in recent days are forming “hard slabs on a variety of aspects and elevations.”

WY 22 over Teton Pass is closed between Wilson and the Idaho state line due to winter conditions, according to the Wyoming Department of Transportation.

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“Additional snowfall and strong winds that will occur today will add to this surface slab problem and will also further load deep weaknesses in the snowpack,” the avalanche center adds. “At the mid and high elevations, natural avalanche activity will be likely involving both the new and the deep layers.”

Due to the high avalanche danger, backcountry travel is not recommended in those areas.

The center predicts an additional 8-10 inches of snowfall in the next 24 hours.

“Approximately ten inches of moisture has fallen since the start of the new year,” the avalanche center says. “Dangerous, deep, hard slabs could fail from the impact of a triggered wind slab or possibly by the weight of a single person hitting a weak spot on a slope.”

“These slabs could fail on two distinct weak layers. The higher layer was buried at the start of the new year and could release with depths of two to four feet at the upper elevations and with depths to two feet at the lower elevations.”

One such “deep slab” reportedly occurred on Monday in Drew’s Slide, located south of the Jackson Hole Mountian Resort.

The avalanche describes the “persistent deep slab” situation further.

“This buried weak layer lies on a variety of aspects and is made up of surface hoar, buried faceted snow, and on south facing aspects, crusts,” they say. “A deeper pronounced weak layer was buried on November 25th. This hazard is limited to north facing terrain at 8000 feet and as elevation increases, involves more aspects. At 9500 feet west, north and east facing slopes can have this weakness. If triggered, slabs involving this layer could have depths to six feet.”