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


The Utah Avalanche Center Home page is: http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/


Avalanche advisory

Monday, January 13, 2003

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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 Monday, January 13, 2003, and it’s 7:30 in the morning.


Current Conditions: 

Last night under mostly clear skies temperatures dipped to near 30 degrees at 8,000’ and into the mid 20’s at 10,000’.  In most areas the winds have been blowing in the 10 mph range from the west, but along the highest ridges they increased into the 25 mph range this morning.


The snow surface is a mix of soft surface facets and thin sun crusts.  The crusts are most prevalent on south and east aspects, and the snowpack is generally supportable above about 8,000’.


Avalanche Conditions:

Yesterday I received several observations of people getting into steeper terrain and traveling without incident.  These observations were juxtaposed with reports of localized cracking and collapsing of the snowpack and moderate scores from stability tests.  This combination indicates that the current weather pattern is causing the snowpack stability to increase, but since we started off with such a weak pack it is taking its own sweet time.


Today you may find areas of fairly stable snow and fairly weak snow existing within close proximity.  This means that even though you just crossed a steep slope there may be a booby trap waiting around the corner.  As the spatial variability in our snowpack increases use your best avalanche route finding skills to stay safe.  Evaluate the stability of each slope before you cross it, and remember to travel one at a time between islands of safety.


Bottom Line (SLC, Park City, Provo and Ogden Area Mountains):

Today there is a MODERATE danger of triggering a deep slab avalanche on slopes facing northwest, north, northeast and east, above about 8,500’ that are steeper than 35 degrees.  Steep slopes with recent wind deposits also have a MODERATE avalanche danger.  On south facing slopes the avalanche danger is generally LOW. 


Western Uintas – call 1-800-648-7433


Mountain Weather:

There is a ridge of high pressure over the Great Basin, and a weak disturbance will move trough this morning.  Westerly winds will be decreasing into the 10 mph range by mid day, and skies will be partly cloudy.  Snow flurries are possible today, but are most likely during the morning and in the northern portion of the Wasatch Range.  Temperatures will rise to near 40 degrees at 8,000’ and to near 30 degrees at 10,000’.  Mild weather will continue on Tuesday, but a fast moving system is forecast to bring snow to the Wasatch Tuesday night into Wednesday.     


General Information:

Wasatch Powderbird Guides will not be flying with clients today.


Tonight at 5:30 the Alta Community Enrichment Story Telling Series will be on Snow Science and Avalanche Safety.  Stop by the Our Lady of the Snows Center to hear Peter Lev, Liam Fitzgerald, Rick Wyatt, Bill Harrison, and others tell stories of avalanches in the Wasatch.


Someone did find a pair of skis and poles across from Solitude on New Year’s Day.  To claim them, call Loraine at 485-5141.


The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center will offer an intensive 3-day avalanche class January 18-20.  You can sign up at the Black Diamond Retail Store or call them at 801-278-0233.


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] or fax 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.


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: