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, March 10, 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, March 10, 2003, and it’s 7:30 in the morning.  We would like to acknowledge one of our partners, the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, generously supported by Backcountry Access.


Current Conditions:

Yesterday high clouds and moderate west and southwest winds kept the daytime temperatures from going ballistic.  But temperatures still climbed into the low to mid 40’s at most 8,000’ locations.  Overnight under partly cloudy skies temperatures dipped to near 30 degrees at 8,000’ and into the mid 20’s at 10,000’.  The winds remain westerly in the 10 to 15 mph range, and along the high peaks they are in the 25 mph range.


The 2 to 3’ feet of snow that fell last week has been battered by the warmth and wind.  Upper elevation areas are a combination of firm and breakable wind packed snow and scoured surfaces.  Below about 8,500’ the snow surface has been frozen in the morning and wet during the day.  The good news is that on shady mid elevation slopes thick but soft settled powder still exists.


Avalanche Conditions:

There was only one human triggered avalanche reported from the backcountry yesterday.  An avalanche class was able to trigger a slide in the Daily Canyon area near Park City.  After digging a snowpit on a low angle portion of the slope, they got a collapse fracture that propagated out onto a steep section of the slope.  The avalanche was 1 to 4 feet deep and over 600 feet wide.  It occurred on a 40 degree east-northeast facing slope at about 8,900’, and broke in some weak faceted snow below an ice crust.


Our Logan forecaster, Toby Weed, visited the site of an accident that occurred on Saturday.  This snowmobile triggered slide occurred on a subridge of Naomi Peak in the Logan area mountains.  About 1/3 of a steep east-southeast facing bowl released burying the rider and his machine under about 5’ of snow.  Fortunately his partners were quick with their beacons and dug him out in about 10 minutes.  The slab was the new snow from last week and it ran on a firm sun crust.  The slide occurred on a 40+ degree slope at about 9,500’ and was 2 feet deep and about 250 feet wide.


We continue to receive reports of avalanche activity that occurred during the tail end of last week’s storm.  Natural and human triggered activity has been reported in the Logan area mountains, as well as the Bountiful Peak area, and the southern Oquirrh Mountains.  After a couple of days with mild temperatures our new snow instability has substantially decreased.  However, our buried weak layers persist and has the Daily Canyon slide illustrates once activated these avalanches are quite large and dangerous.  The areas where you can trigger a deep slab avalanche are now localized, but remember the consequences could be severe.


Low temperatures last night were well above freezing below about 7,000’.  It looks like it’s going to be cloudy today, but if the sun peaks out watch increasing wet slide activity on steep sun exposed slopes.


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

Today there is a MODERATE danger of triggering an avalanche in steep wind loaded terrain.  There is also a MODERATE danger of triggering a deep slab avalanche.  Most of our avalanches have released on north, northeast, east, and southeast facing slopes above about 9,000’ (8,500’ in the Ogden Area Mountains).   


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


Mountain Weather:

Moist westerly flow through a broad ridge of high pressure will bring continued mild temperatures and partly to mostly cloudy skies today.  A weak disturbance is moving through the ridge this afternoon, so we could see some snow showers especially in the northern portion of the Wasatch Range.  Unfortunately this is a very weak system, so I don’t expect more than a trace to an inch of snow to accumulate during the day.  The broad ridge is forecast to remain over the western U.S. for the next few days, and as a result we will have warm and windy weather.  A stronger splitting system is forecast to move into Utah on Saturday.


General Information:

Wasatch Powderbird Guides will not be flying today.  For more information call (801) 742-2800.


To report backcountry snow and avalanche conditions, especially if you observe or trigger an avalanche, please leave a message on our answer machine at (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: