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


Tuesday, January 28, 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 28, 2003, and itís 7:30 in the morning.This advisory is brought to you by our partner, the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, generously supported by Black Diamond Equipment.


Current Conditions:

Iíve always loved the word lugubrious mostly because I like the sound of it.Yesterday, when I was skiing through the rain and wet snow, lugubrious kept popping into my puny brain, not only for the somber mood of the day, but it just sounded right.The snow was both lubricated and goobered upóin other words, lugubrious.We got more lugubrious snow overnight with about six inches of damp snow at higher elevations with a couple inches of soggy snow around 8,000í.Total water weight for this storm seems to be evenly distributed throughout the range from about a half inch to .8 inches.Snowbasin was the only outlier weighing in at 1.74 inches, which was so much because they got a lot more rain yesterday than other areas. ††The rain-snow line yesterday started out around 9,000í but itís down around 6,000í this morning.


Avalanche Conditions:

Probably the oldest adage in the avalanche business is that unusual weather makes unusual avalanches.In the past 12 hours, weíve had Oregon weather on a Colorado snowpack.I havenít seen rain on faceted snow very often, so Iím not entirely sure whatís going to happen, but Iím guessing that today, at least at elevations below about 8,000í pm the shady aspects, youíll easily be able to trigger wet sluffs that will gouge down to the ground in soggy or damp faceted snow.†† At least thatís what was happening in the Ogden area mountains yesterday in the rain.But Iím much more unclear what is going to happen at upper elevations where the pre-existing snow is a wide variety of sun crusts, wind crusts and soft, dry, recrystalized snow and surface hoar.Just like people, snow does not like rapid change and weíve added more weight to the snowpack in the past 12 hours than we have added during any storm in the past month.So, at least on the shady aspects, I think you will find fairly widespread areas where you can kick off soft slab avalanches breaking generally 6 inches to a food deep.I donít think thereís quite enough weight to reactivate our old nemesis, the old, buried layers of faceted snow buried two or more feet deep in the snowpack, but there may be places where avalanches could step down to make much larger avalanches.


Be sure to practice safe travel ritual today.Use good slope cuts before you dive into something, jump on lots of small test slopes, cross avalanche terrain one at a time, and so on.If youíre patient enough to give it a day, things will likely be significantly more stable tomorrow.


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

Today the avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE on most slopes approaching 35 degrees or steeper, on slopes that face the north half of the compass, plus east facing slopes at all elevations.There will be wet sluffs below about 8,000í and soft slabs above about 9,000í with a mixture at elevations in between.There is a MODERATE danger on south facing slopes and a LOW danger on any slope less than about 30 degrees not connected to steeper slopes above.


Western Uintas Ė call 1-800-648-7433 or click here for weekend and holiday forecasts.


Mountain Weather:

The snow and rain will end quickly this morning and we should break out to a partly cloudy skies, but there may be some lingering fog.Ridge top temperatures should hover in the mid 20ís with light winds from the northwest.Down at 8,000í temperatures will rise to the mid 30ís.As for the extended forecast, we should have a nice day on Wednesday with several more relatively weak pulses of moisture clipping us as they travel by mostly to the north of us over the next week.The next shot will be on Thursday, another one on the weekend, and another one by mid week.


General Information:

Weather permitting, Wasatch Powderbird Guides will be flying in upper Silver Fork, and Cardiff Fork with a home run in Grizzly Gulch.


The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, supported by Voile and Milosport, are offering an intensive three-day avalanche class February 15 Ė 17.Half of the spots are reserved for snowboarders.To sign up call the Black Diamond retail store at 801-278-0233.††


On Sunday February 2nd there will be a fundraiser for the Wasatch Backcountry Rescue avalanche dog program.Tickets are available at the Black Diamond retail store.Please call 435-615-2226 for more information and additional ticket locations.


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: