Wasatch Cache National Forest

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Avalanche advisory

Monday, November 11, 2002


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Good morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory. Today is Monday, November 11, 2002.


We wont have all our phone lines hooked up until next week, so you may find it easier to access this advisory on the internet.


Current Conditions:

Light snow is falling in the mountains, with overnight totals of 1 to 4 inches. The northwesterly winds have decreased and are now averaging about 10 mph, with gusts in the 20s. Temperatures are in the upper teens. Storm totals now range from 1 to 2 feet throughout the range, with the areas of greatest accumulation being the upper elevations in the Cottonwoods, Provo and Logan mountains. Decent turns can be found, but beware of the rocks and stumps lurking just below the snow surface.


Avalanche Conditions:

Yesterday was the third very active avalanche day in a row. Backcountry travelers continued to trigger slides remotely, with the most spectacular one occurring when a large portion of northerly facing upper Silver Bowl released as a party crested the ridge. There were many other reports of cracking, collapsing, and slides being released from a distance in the upper Cottonwoods. All these slides are failing on weak faceted snow near the ground, and occurring on shady slopes above about 9,000.


Another attention-grabbing occurrence has been reported by several people. A ski cut would trigger a shallow, loose new snow slide. Then when the person moved out on the slope, the remaining harder layers of snow failed on the weak facets near the ground. Proving ski cuts are not a reliable test under the current conditions.


Avalanches also occurred yesterday within the new snow in areas of pooled graupel and in fresh wind drifts. These new snow weak layers are on a wider variety of aspects, and more scattered and pockety.


Many of the unopened resorts, including Alta, are closed to uphill traffic today for control work. Please obey all closure signs. Practice safe travel techniques - cross slopes one at a time, dont jump in above your partner and carry your backcountry rescue gear like beacons, shovels and probes.


Bottom Line:

The avalanches danger is CONSIDERABLE today on steep, shady slopes above about 9,000 where there is an underlying layer of old October snow and on any steep slope with recent deposits of wind drifted snow. Shady slopes are generally facing northwest through north through northeast. Considerable means human triggered slides are probable. If you want LOW danger terrain, stay on slopes of 30 degrees or less, and stay well out from underneath steep slopes.


Mountain Weather:

The mountains should receive another few inches of snow this morning, followed by decreasing snow showers this afternoon. Moderate, northwesterly winds this morning, averaging 20 mph. Highs temperatures will be in the low to mid 20s. High pressure on Tuesday and early Wednesday, with a weak disturbance forecast for Wednesday night.


General Information:

We have several free avalanche awareness talks coming up the first two are Tuesday, November 12th at 7 pm at REI and Thursday, November 14th at 7pm at the Black Diamond Retail store. For a complete list of evening talks and multi-day classes, visit www.avalanche.org and click on Salt Lake and then Education.


To report backcountry snow and avalanche conditions, especially if you observe or trigger an avalanche, call (801) 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140. 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.


Bruce Tremper will update this advisory by 7:30 on Tuesday morning.


Thanks for calling!


National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Snow.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: