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Heavy snow on San Francisco Peaks increases avalanche danger

Paul Dawson/Kachina Peaks Avalanche Center
Avalanche danger has increased on many of the high-elevation wind-blasted slopes on the San Francisco Peaks, as seen on Dec. 31, 2022, following heavy snowfall.

The Kachina Peaks Avalanche Center says the recent heavy snowfall on the San Francisco Peaks has created a higher likelihood of slides.

According the group’s assessment released earlier this week, some high-elevation snowpack could be unstable, and wind-loaded areas like the tops of gullies and ridges are particularly prone to avalanches following nearly two feet of snow accumulation earlier this week.

The center urges all backcountry travelers to use caution in steep chutes and ridgelines that have seen recent gusts of up to 45 miles per hour along with very wet conditions.

More wind this week could also transport new snow and develop slabs creating ideal conditions for avalanches.