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

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

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Good Morning.This is Bruce Tremper with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.Today is Tuesday, January 14, 2003, and itís 7:30 in the morning.


Current Conditions:

Temperatures were very warm yesterday and remain so this morning.Yesterday it got up to around 40 at 8,000í and around freezing along the ridge tops.Winds blew fairly hard overnight around 20 from the west and as much as 43, gusting to 56 on the most exposed ridges.Most of the sun-exposed slopes have a thick sun crust, thereís hard, wind affected snow on most of the upper elevation wind exposed areas.Thereís still some dense, soft, settled powder and faceted snow on the wind and sun sheltered slopes.A lot of the popular slopes are filled with tracks.


Avalanche Conditions:

These warm temperatures continue to settle and stabilize the snowpack.Most of the popular, steep, northerly facing slopes got tracked out over the past three days without incident and we are finally starting to relax around here and trying to settle our nerves, which have been thoroughly jangled over the past month with the record number of human triggered avalanches.And no, to answer your question, I donít think we are quite ready to call it low danger yet.Most of us feel that thereís still some slopes hanging in the balance that a person could trigger.Many of the steep slopes have slid during either the mid December storm or the New Year Eve storm, which removed the weakest part of the faceted snow.But there are a number of other slopes that did not slide, especially slopes less than 38 degrees in steepness.I think thereís still a few booby traps lingering on slopes between about 35 and 38 degrees in places that donít usually see much traffic, especially in thinner snowpack areas.There may also be a few slopes that slid a month ago and are now filled in again.Since everything is covered up by new and wind blown snow, itís almost impossible to see its avalanche history unless you do a lot of shovel work.So if youíre headed to the north through east facing slopes, you should continue to be conservative in picking your slope steepness and use your full tool kit of safe travel practices.Cross things one at a time, always leave someone in a safe spot to do the rescue, practice slopes cuts and use a belay rope in dicey places.


In addition, the strong winds last night and over the past couple days have created some localized areas of hard deposits.As always, you should be very suspicious of steep slopes with recent deposits of wind deposited snow.


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 the north half of the compass, plus east facing slopes, above about 8,500í that are steeper than 35 degrees, which is about the steepness of a black diamond slope at a ski resort.Steep slopes with recent wind deposits also have a MODERATE avalanche danger.On south facing slopes and slopes less than steep than 30 degrees, the avalanche danger is generally LOW.


Western Uintas Ė call 1-800-648-7433


Mountain Weather:

Tonight we have a quick-hitting, cold front coming through, which looks like it will be mostly huff-and-puff with not much fluff.We should have strong ridge top winds later today from the south, switching to the northwest by Wednesday morning blowing around 40, gusting into the 50ís.We will probably get about 3-6 inches of snow as the front blows through tonight and then it will clear out quickly on Wednesday leaving us with ridge top temperatures around zero and 8,000í temps around 10 degrees.


The extended forecast calls for continued depressing weather.The Hudson Bay low continues to hammer the east coast and we are left on the westerly flank of the low with occasional impulses coming down from interior Canada that look mostly dry and quick-hitting.This pattern looks like it will remain until at least the end of the month.


General Information:

Wasatch Powderbird Guides will not be flying today.


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.


Evelyn Lees will update this advisory by 7:30 on Wednesday morning.


Thanks for calling!



National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Snow.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: