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


Friday, March 14, 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 Friday, March 14, 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:

Well it’s only the eve of The Ides of March, but today you may still want to heed the soothsayer’s warning.  Last night under mostly cloudy skies temperatures dipped into the low to mid 40’s at 8,000’ and the relative humidity was near 50%.  We have already begun to cool this morning, but the free-air freezing level is about 11,000’.  The winds have been from the south and southwest in the 15 mph range with gusts in the 30’s.  Along the most exposed ridgelines wind speeds are in the 25 mph range with gusts in the 50’s.


The snow surface has been freezing each night this week, but with very warm overnight lows and increasing humidity the snow surface may be soggy this morning below about 9,000’.


Avalanche Conditions:

Yesterday 8,000’ temperatures climbed into the 50’s and there was some impressive natural activity in the Provo Area Mountains.  A point release avalanche on the east face of Elk Point (on Timpanogos) triggered a slab avalanche about 150 feet wide.  The slide started at about 10,500’ and put 30 feet of debris in the runout area.  There were also three slab avalanches triggered by cornice fall.  These occurred in the Big Springs, Provo Circ, and Giant Steps areas.  They all started on northeast facing slopes about 10,500’, and the crown lines were 400 to 800 feet wide.  Wet slide activity was reported off the westside of Ben Lomand Peak, and there were also two slides off of the rock slabs on the northeast side of Dromedary Peak spotted yesterday.  


Today and tomorrow are going to be days of transition.  It is quite warm this morning, but clouds, gusty winds, and a cooling trend will be attempting to offset our early spring weather.  With yesterday’s natural activity, it is probably a good day to avoid traveling under steep rock slabs or any slope with a large cornices.  Deep slab avalanche are possible in the same areas that have been problematic all year.  Those are thin snowpack areas that are steeper than about 35 degrees and face north, northeast, east and southeast.


As always, you should get out early and get off of and out from underneath any steep slope when it gets wet and soggy, but today these conditions may occur earlier than you expect.


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

The avalanche danger today is CONSIDERABLE on and underneath steep slopes that have had a thin snowpack most of the year.  Point release avalanches and cornice fall could trigger dangerous deep slab avalanches.  In areas less than about 35 degrees in steepness and not threatened from above the avalanche danger is generally MODERATE.


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


Mountain Weather:

The weather will be changing today and tomorrow as a large Pacific trough moves inland.  Today a weak system will pass mostly to the north of Utah.  Skies will be mostly cloudy and temperatures will be cooling throughout the day.  High temperatures will come early and be near 50 degrees at 8,000’.  Expect gusty southwest winds through mid afternoon.  Rain and snow showers are also possible in the afternoon.  Tomorrow will be another day of change with gusty winds, some precipitation, and a cold front in the afternoon.  Hopefully by Sunday it will be cold enough to snow with confidence, and there is a change for snow each day next week. 


General Information:

Wasatch Powderbird Guides may not fly today, but if they do get out they will be in the American, Silver, Days, and Cardiff Fork areas with home runs in Grizzly Gulch and White Pine. For more information or to talk with a guide, call (801) 742-2800.


Also, the Wasatch Powderkeg rondenee rally race will take place early this Saturday morning and they will mark the course in Grizzly Gulch this afternoon, so please don’t remove the orange flags.  They will take them down after the race.


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.


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


Thanks for calling!




National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Snow.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: