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

Saturday, November 16, 2002


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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, November 16, 2002, at 7:30 am.


Current Conditions:

Most of the Wasatch doesnít really have enough snow yet for good winter recreation but at the higher elevations, especially in the Cottonwood Canyons, there is enough of the white stuff to at least pretend itís winter.There is some decent settled powder on northerly facing slopes, with total depths of about 2 feet at 10,000 feet but that is also just where a person might be able to trigger an avalanche.Southerly facing slopes are mostly crusted.I think snowmobiling is limited to mid and upper elevation roads and trails.Snowshoeing may be the best way to get around on many snowy slopes this weekend.


Avalanche Conditions:

The avalanche conditions are much more stable since last weekend when the situation was quite nasty.Old October snow on shady slopes above about 9,000 feet made a poor base for last weekendís storm.Where the new snow fell on bare ground it didnít cause problems; but on the north facing side conditions were just about as sensitive as they get.Now the extreme sensitivity has settled out but in a way it is now more tricky.Last weekend all you had to do was look hard at a slope for it to avalanche; now you may get right out in the middle before it cuts loose.A few days ago the avalanche danger was screaming in your ear; now you have to listen attentively to hear more subtle whispers.Although there havenít been any reported avalanches for several days, our snow pits still indicate lingering instabilities and folks I know are still avoiding steep, shady slopes.


Winds are breezy along the high ridges this morning so, on exposed slopes, there may be some shallow drifts that could crack and move with the weight of a person.


Bottom Line:

The avalanche danger is MODERATE today above about 9,000 feet on northeast, north and northwest facing slopes, approaching 35 degrees and steeper.Very dangerous human triggered slides are possible in this terrain.On most other slopes the avalanche danger is generally LOW.††


Mountain Weather:

High pressure will dominate our weather today before a storm passing to the north brings us clouds and cooler temperatures on Sunday.Skies will be mostly sunny but with increasing high clouds today.Temperatures will be warm, getting into the upper thirties and low forties at 8,000 feet and around 30 at 10,000.Winds will be breezy, with 15 to 25 mph winds from the west on the high ridges.Sunday should be mostly cloudy and cooler.High pressure will return next week but there is a possibility of a storm about this time next week.


General Information:

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, or email to [email protected].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.


We will update this advisory by 7:30 on Sunday morning.


Thanks for calling!



National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Snow.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: