Wasatch Cache National Forest

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Avalanche advisory


Saturday, March 29, 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 for the Wasatch Range.  Today is Saturday, March 29, 2003, and it’s 7:30 in the morning. 


Current Conditions:

With a bluebird day and continued cold temperatures, today would be an excellent day for yet another day of great powder.  And, you should probably get it while you can because temperatures will warm dramatically over the next couple days and all our nice snow will turn to mashed potatoes in a hurry, as it tends to do this time of year.  Yesterday, people were reporting 6 inches to a foot of nice powder on northerly facing slopes above 9,000’.  Most of the sun exposed slopes got a sun crust on them yesterday and most of the snow below about 8,500’ got damp or wet and is now crusted.  This morning, ridge top temperatures remain mighty chilly, around 10 degrees, which is just a couple degrees warmer than yesterday morning.  Ridge top winds are from the west 10-15 mph.  There is some wind damaged snow along the highest peaks and ridges, but most of the snow down off the highest ridges was not affected very much by Wednesday’s very strong winds.


Avalanche Conditions:

We have two main avalanche problems today.  First, Wednesday’s very strong wind created some wind slabs along the upper elevation peaks and ridges.  By yesterday, they seem to have settled out fairly well and people reported that they could find some localized places they could crack something out when you jumped on them but for the most part they were not sensitive to human triggers.  Most of these wind slabs are covered up by a few inches of new snow, so they will be harder to see.  But you should continue to treat them with respect today.  In non wind drifted terrain, the new snow has bonded to the old crusts fairly well.


Your second avalanche problem today will be localized wet sluffs and perhaps a few wet slabs on the steep slopes that heat up in the sun.  Although all the sun exposed slopes got wet yesterday morning, the afternoon clouds and cold temperatures kept the snow from getting too soggy.  Today, we won’t have any clouds and temperatures will be a few degrees warmer than yesterday, so the snow should really get baked, especially on southeast through southwest facing slopes.  In other words, today is not a good day to build a kicker or have a picnic today in a steep, south-facing gully in the heat of the afternoon.  As always, get off of, and out from underneath, any steep slope when the snow becomes wet and soggy.


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

Today there is a MODERATE danger of human triggered avalanches on slopes steeper than 35 degrees with deposits of wind drifted snow.  On slopes without wind drifting, the danger is generally LOW.  Also, the danger of wet sluffs and wet slabs will rise to  MODERATE on and below steep sun exposed slopes.  Finally, there is the usual MODERATE danger of deeper avalanches breaking into old layers of faceted snow on steep slopes above about 9,500’ especially on northerly through easterly facing slopes.


If you are headed to the western Unita Mountains, they are a notch higher on the danger scale because of strong winds on Wednesday combined with a thinner and weaker snowpack.  Call 1-800-648-7433 or click here for weekend and holiday forecasts.


Logan: Call 435-797- 4146 or click here for the web site.


Mountain Weather:

We will have clear skies and 10.000’ temperatures will rise from a finger-numbing 10 degrees to the mid 20’s and 8,000’ temperatures should rise to the mid 30’s.  Ridge top winds will remain fairly light 10-15 mph from the west and northwest.  We should have clear skies again tonight with some scattered high clouds on Sunday.


For the extended forecast, we will have dramatic warming on Sunday and Monday.  By Monday, 10,000’ temperatures will rise to the 40’s and 8,000’ temperatures will be in the mid 50’s with high clouds to make a nice greenhouse effect.  Then, winter is not over yet.  We will have strong winds on Tuesday and Wednesday with some snow on Wednesday and Thursday and then it looks like another large, cold storm for next weekend.


General Information:

Today, the Wasatch Powderbird Guides will fly in Days, Silver, Cardiff, Mineral Fork and White Pine with a possible home run in either Grizzly Gulch.  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.


Ethan Greene will update this advisory by 7:30 on Sunday morning.


Thanks for calling!



National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Snow.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: