Wasatch Cache National Forest

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Avalanche advisory

SATURDAY, April 13, 2002†† 07:30 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 Saturday, April 13, 2002, and itís 7:30 a.m.


Current Conditions:

Overnight temperatures were about the same as on Friday and there are fewer clouds so I expect a decently re-frozen snow pack this morning, providing at least one more day of fine corn snow riding.Yesterday snow surfaces were supportable well into the afternoon if you played the aspects wisely.East facing was good at about 9:00, south a little later, west around 1:00 and some northerly facing slopes were still supportable in mid-afternoon.Today there may be a little more sun and slightly warmer temperatures but there is also more wind so it may balance out.At 6:00 am, temperatures are in the mid to upper thirties at 7,000 feet; in the low thirties at 9,000 and 10,000 and in the upper twenties at 11,000.Winds are 10 to 20 mph along the ridges, with the highest peaks getting speeds in the mid twenties, with gusts to 40.


Avalanche Conditions:

Yesterday, I commented that this winterís season could use a dose of euthanasia but a friend of mine suggested Viagra might be more appropriate.There was one slide reported yesterday from the Black Pearl area in Little Cottonwood but Iím a little embarrassed to admit I donít know where Black Pearl is.I would like more information on that slide so if the person that called it in is out there, give me another buzz.If you pay attention to how fast the snow is warming up, you should be able to stay on mostly stable slopes today.The springtime rules are simple, head for home or switch to a different slope when the snow becomes wet and sloppy.


More insidious is the potential deep slab instability.The Black Pearl slide may have been an example of one of these deeper releases.While they are more likely after a couple of nights without good freezes, they donít necessarily follow our set of rules.Although they can be human triggered, they may also release naturally and not always on our expected timetable of increasing danger in the afternoon.Northeast, north and northwest facing slopes are the most suspect.Traveling under steep rock slabs (like those in Broads Fork and Stairs Gulch) isnít a great idea, especially in the afternoon.Also avoid gully bottoms (like Donut Falls) at mid and lower elevations.The chances of getting caught by a deep slab avalanche will be isolated today, but consequences might be quite unpleasant.


Bottom Line:

This morning the avalanche danger is generally LOW but it will increase to MODERATE with daytime warming.If you are sinking into the snow past your boot tops get off of steep slopes and stay out of avalanche run-out areas.


(Ogden Area and Western Uinta Mountains)

Same as Salt Lake Mountains.††


(Provo Area Mountains)

Same as Salt Lake Mountains.


Mountain Weather:

High pressure will be over Utah today but will weaken on Sunday as unsettled weather approaches for Monday.Skies will be partly to mostly sunny today with highs in the fifties at 8,000 feet.10,000 foot highs will be in the forties.Ridge top winds will be westerly 15 to 25 mph.Warmer air will push into Utah tonight along with increasing southwest winds.On Sunday clouds will increase as well, with a cold front, and perhaps some fresh snow in the mountains, arriving on Monday.


General Information:

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.We have a new avalanche and backcountry observation page that weíd like to encourage folks to try out.It can be found on our home website at avalanche.org.You can also 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.


Ethan Green will update this advisory by 7:30 Sunday 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: