OUTDOORS & RECREATION

Utah Avalanche Center warns of ‘high’ risk as massive avalanche is captured on video in Little Cottonwood

Jan 16, 2024, 10:50 PM

GRANITE — After a massive avalanche came down in Little Cottonwood Canyon Tuesday, forecasters warned of the potential danger with risk categorized as “high” from Logan to central Utah.

Forecaster Craig Gordon said the avalanche in the Monte Cristo area was captured on video as it tumbled down 2,700 vertical feet and ended just a couple hundred feet from state Route 210.

“At this juncture, man, this piece of snow is just roaring down this steep gulley, stacking up tons and tons of snow,” Gordon said as he reviewed the video. He said fortunately, nobody was caught in the avalanche.

“It would be lights-out, game-over,” Gordon told KSL TV. “You’ve got to think it is like a locomotive pile-driving everything in its path and you’re on that receiving end.”

The forecast Tuesday from the U.S. Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center characterized all charted regions in northern and central Utah as “high” while the danger in the Moab region was characterized as “considerable.”

“What we’re finding is that the avalanche hazard is ‘tip to tail,’” Gordon explained. “It runs from the ridgelines into our mid-elevations and down into lower elevations as well. The problem is, any avalanche you trigger — it’s going to break deep, it’s going to break wide and it’s going to be un-survivable.”

On Tuesday night, educators were at multiple locations working to drive a safety message home to those looking to learn about avalanches and the potential backcountry hazard.

“Avalanche conditions are changing pretty drastically right now,” said Jeremy Collett, who was speaking to a group at Wheeler Farm in Murray. “Knowledge is power, so educating yourself is the first step to staying safe.”

The “Know Before You Go” education program only carried extra weight amid the elevated risk. It appeared beginners like Mike Reynolds were ready to learn.

“I don’t have any backcountry experience so we’ve been slowly kind of dipping my toes into it,” Reynolds said. “You know, (I) don’t want to be a complete ‘Jerry’ out there.”

Gordon hoped education efforts — both in media and before smaller groups — would help to avoid situations like the one that unfolded in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

“We’ve got to think about our actions and how they might impact somebody else’s life,” Gordon said. “It would be a bad deal at the end of the day.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Outdoors & Recreation

A rare white buffalo calf, reportedly born in Yellowstone National Park's Lamar Valley, is shown on...

Amy Beth Hanson, The Associated Press

Reported birth of rare white buffalo calf in Yellowstone National Park fulfills Lakota prophecy

The reported birth of a rare white buffalo in Yellowstone National Park fulfills a Lakota prophecy that portends better times, according to members of the American Indian tribe who cautioned that it’s also a signal that more must be done to protect the earth and its animals.

9 hours ago

Moab resident Daniel Wright, rescuing a father of two, after he fell off his inflatable kayak in th...

Michael Houck

Two Moab men save a family of three from drowning in the Colorado River

Search and crew crews are crediting two Moab men for saving a father and his two sons from drowning in the Colorado River on Thursday.

2 days ago

Officials urge people to stay safe in this early heatwave. (Chopper 5, KSL TV)...

Mike Anderson

Crowds grow around Pineview as heat wave continues

Weber County Deputies are urging everyone to take care of themselves as crowds head reservoirs to try and escape the heat. RAGNAR Relay runners race despite it.

5 days ago

One of the trailheads in the St, George area....

Alex Cabrero and Michael Houck, KSL TV

Search and rescue crews plead for backcountry hikers and climbers to be prepared for the heat

Near record-level heat arrived in southern Utah earlier than usual, prompting safety warnings for hikers who want to go outside on Friday.

5 days ago

rainbow above shallow water and brown plants with mountains and clouds behind...

Ben Winslow, Fox13

Great Salt Lake has likely hit its high mark for the year and will start dropping

The Great Salt Lake has likely peaked, reaching its highest water levels of the year and will start dropping again.

5 days ago

A Salt Lake County 'cool zone' sign that can be seen in senior centers and libraries....

Brianna Chavez

Salt Lake County ‘cool zones’ available to public as temperatures rise

With a heat wave, Salt Lake County officials are encouraging the public to take advantage of "cool zones "at county libraries and senior centers.

6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Utah Avalanche Center warns of ‘high’ risk as massive avalanche is captured on video in Little Cottonwood