Wasatch Cache National Forest

In partnership with: The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Forecast Center, Utah Department of Public Safety Division of Comprehensive Emergency Management, Salt Lake County, and Utah State Parks


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Avalanche advisory

FRIday,MARCH 1, 20027:30 AM



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Good morning, this is Tom Kimbrough with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.Today is Friday, March 1, 2002, and itís 7:30 a.m.


Current Conditions:

This year March is coming in like a polar bear!Cold Canadian air has dropped the ridge top temperatures to below zero this morning.8,000 foot temperatures are around 5 degrees.The Cottonwood Canyons received several inches of new snow yesterday afternoon and last night, with a trace to a couple of inches in other parts of the range but there was so much wind that amounts are hard to pin down.Low level moisture and little storm energy produced more overnight snow at mid-elevations than what fell higher in the canyons.Winds were strong for most of the night on the highest peaks and are now blowing 10 to 25 mph out of the north, with gusts to 30.


Snow surface conditions will be the few inches of new snow over a variety of sun and wind crusts and some settled powder.


Avalanche Conditions:

There have been no avalanches reported from the backcountry since Monday but part of that dearth of activity may be due to lack of interest; there just donít seem to be many people in the backcountry this week. Over the past 24 hours strong north and westerly winds and a little new snow will have developed shallow drifts that will be sensitive to the weight of a person today on steep slopes along upper elevation ridges and gullies.The widespread underlying crusts will allow any triggered slides to move quickly and run far.


Under the new snow and varied crusts are plenty of weak layers that complicate the stability picture.These deeper weak layers may be triggered in isolated places and avalanches in the newer snow may break down into deeper layers.The stability in the Wasatch Mountains is currently quite variable and winter travelers need to evaluate each slope before crossing it.If you can poke your ski pole or arm through the upper layers of the snow and find loose sugary crystals underneath, steep slopes in that area may be suspect.Places with less than about three feet of total depth tend to have more advanced weak layers.


Many slopes have hard enough crusts under the new snow that it can be difficult to stop if you start sliding.


Bottom Line:

The danger of human triggered avalanches is MODERATE on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.Human triggered avalanches are possible.There is also a possibility of triggering a deeper weak layer or that new snow avalanches may step down to these deeper layers, producing larger and more dangerous slides.This is most likely in steep rocky chutes, slopes that have already avalanched earlier this season and in areas that have a thinner snowpack.


(Provo Area Mountains and Western Uinta Mountains)

These areas have had a thin snowpack most of the winter, and the sugary weak snow is more common than in the Cottonwood Canyons.The danger of human triggered avalanches is more widespread in the Provo and Western Uinta Mountains, especially where wind drifted.


(Ogden Area Mountains)

Reports indicate that the avalanche danger is higher in the Logan Area Mountains.Use extra caution while traveling in the northern portion of our forecast area and approach slopes greater than 35 degrees with care.


Mountain Weather:

Skies will be partly sunny today with cold temperatures and occasional snow flurries.High temperatures will around 10 degrees at 8,000 feet and even colder on the high ridges.With 10 to 20 mph winds out of the north, frostbite is a real possibility in the mountains today.Watch your partnerís nose and cheeks for white patches.Another weak weather system will bring even more cold air into Utah tonight along with a little more new snow.Saturday will be partly sunny with a chance of light snow flurries.By Sunday afternoon, temperatures will begin to moderate.


General Information:

The Wasatch Powderbird Guides will be flying in the Cardiff, Days, Mineral, and Silver Fork drainages today and also American Fork with homeruns out Grizzly Gulch.


The Banff Mountain Film Festival will be at the U of Uís Kingsbury Hall on March 12 and 13, at 7pm.Tickets are $6.50.Donít miss this great benefit for the Utah Avalanche Center!


A sad note for you older climbers and climbing history buffs; Warren Harding, the man that made the first ascent of El Capitan in Yosemite, died last night in California.


To report backcountry snow and avalanche conditions, especially if you observe or trigger an avalanche, you can leave a message at (801) 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140.Or you can e-mail an observation to [email protected] .org, or you can fax an observation to 801-524-6301.


For more detailed mountain weather and avalanche information, your can call 801-364-1591, which weíll try to have updated by around noon each day.


The information in this advisory is from the U.S. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content.This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur.


Evelyn Lees will update this advisory by 7:30 on Saturday morning.

Thanks for calling!



For more detailed weather information go to our Mountain Weather Advisory

National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Snow.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: