Wasatch Cache National Forest

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Avalanche advisory

Wednesday, MARCH 27, 2002 07:30 AM



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Good morning, this is Ethan Greene with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Wednesday, March 27, 2002, and it’s 7:30 a.m.


Current Conditions:

Last night under partly cloudy skies temperatures dropped into the mid 20’s at 8,000’ in the Salt Lake and Provo Mountains.  In the Ogden and Park City areas overnight lows were near 32 degrees.  Westerly winds have been increasing most of the night and are blowing in the 25 mph range with gusts in the 40’s.


Yesterday’s warm temperatures put crusts of varying thicknesses on most aspects.  Due north facing slopes and northwest slopes above 9,500’ may have escaped the heat.  Snow surface conditions range from firm to punchy with a little slop mixed in for good measure.


Avalanche Conditions:

Our unpleasant string of deep slab avalanches continued yesterday as explosive testing in Mineral Fork produced a very large avalanche.  The slide occurred on a steep east facing slope at about 9,300’.  The avalanche was 4 to 6 feet deep over 300’ wide and ran into the valley bottom pulling out large trees before crossing the creek.  This slide also released two others sympathetically.  They were on northeast and southeast aspects, 3 to 4 feet deep and over 100’ wide.  We also had natural activity reported yesterday.  An avalanche 2 to 4 feet deep and about 100’ wide occurred on a steep north facing slope in the Silver Fork drainage.  A second natural avalanche was reported from east facing Hogum Fork under the Hypodermic Needle.  Outside of our forecast area, but still of interest, a natural avalanche that can only be described as huge was reported in Black Rock Canyon of the Oquirrh Mountains.  Drew said the crown maybe well over a half mile wide and the debris pile contains trees and large chunks of earth.  He is hoping to get a close look with a camera today.


Along with all of the carnage we have also received reports of good riding and turning conditions with some folks descending steep lines without incident.  This type of pattern makes avalanche decisions increasingly difficult.  Although there are many safe places to travel the possibility of triggering a very large and deadly avalanche remains.  We are still seeing unusual avalanche actively, so your usual playgrounds and travel routes may not be safe.


The winds have picked up overnight and although the sun has wreaked havoc on the snow surface, there is enough soft snow to form sensitive wind drifts today.  Patch clouds and wind will slow the heating today, but we could still see wet activity today especially in low elevation areas.  Although our warm-up has been slow we have seen some natural activity so avoid runout areas especially in the afternoon.  Once the snow gets wet and mushy, it is time to get off of and out from underneath steep slopes. 


Bottom Line: 

The avalanche danger is MODERATE on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees.  As temperatures reach their daytime highs, the danger may rise to CONSIDERABLE.  There remains a MODERATE danger of triggering a deep, dangerous hard slab avalanche in steep terrain, especially in thinner snowpack areas. 


(Ogden Area and Western Uinta Mountains)

Same as Salt Lake Mountains.  


(Provo Area Mountains)

Same as Salt Lake Mountains.


Mountain Weather:

An upper-level trough will brush through Northern Utah today bringing increased wind speeds, clouds, and minor snow flurries to the mountains.  Westerly winds will be blowing in the 30 mph range this morning and should drop off slightly and shift to the northwest this afternoon.  Clouds will build into the mostly cloudy to overcast range this morning and then break to partly cloudy this afternoon.  Snow flurries are possible especially in the Logan Area Mountains and along the highest peaks, but accumulations will be near a trace at most locations.



General Information:

Wasatch Powderbird Guides will be flying in the Silver, Day’s, Cardiff, Mineral Fork, and White Pine drainages today.  For more information call 521-6040 ext. 5280.


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], or you can fax an observation to 801-524-6301.


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. 


Tom Kimbrough will update this advisory by 7:30 Thursday 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: