Wasatch Cache National Forest

In partnership with: The Friends of the Utah Avalanche 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

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Good Morning.  This is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory for the Wasatch Range.  Today is Thursday, April 10, 2003, and it’s 7:00 in the morning.


Current Conditions:

Another warm spring day is on tap for the northern Utah mountains.  As of 5 am, temperatures from 9,000 to 11,000’ are in the upper 30’s to low 40’s, with cooler air pooled in the canyon bottoms.  Winds are from the southwest, in the 10 to 20 mph range. 


Yesterday, people were finding early corn-like conditions as the crusts softened.  Though overnight temperatures were above freezing, the clear skies have helped to cool the surface snow, and I expect a shallow, hard refreeze early this morning.    The areas of decent corn-like snow should be more widespread, but shorter lived today, as temperatures are about 5 degrees warmer than yesterday.  And for an added bonus, there is a bit of dense powder on the steeper upper elevation northerly facing slopes.


Avalanche Conditions:

The snow is easing into the warm-up with less avalanche activity than I would have expected.  Yesterday, there were only a few reports of small wet loose sluffs, though the lack of reported activity may be in part due to a lack of backcountry travelers. 


Today, with warmer temperatures, the snow may heat up a bit faster than yesterday.  So play the aspect game in your tour - as the snow gets wet and sloppy on one slope, move to a different aspect with cooler, more solid snow.   Wind plays a key factor in wet snow conditions, and steady breezes can provide significant cooling. 


In addition to the sunny slopes, the steep northerly facing slopes also have snow to shed.  Each subsequent day of this prolonged warming trend makes me more suspicious of the very steep mid and upper elevation northerly facing slopes, especially those with smooth rock slabs beneath them or with a shallow snow pack.  Until the temperatures cool next week, this is not the time to be in valley or gully bottoms beneath steep slopes such as Stairs Gulch and Broads Fork.  Cornices are softening and becoming more sensitive with the warmer temperatures, so avoid traveling on or below them. 


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

The avalanche danger at all elevations is LOW early this morning, but will rise to MODERATE by mid morning as sunshine and warming temperatures soften the snowpack and create the potential for wet loose and wet slab avalanches.  Avalanche activity is possible on all aspects, including northerly facing slopes.  The danger may possibly rise to CONSIDERABLE if the affects of heating are greater.


Western Uinta Mountains: Click Here

Logan – call 435-797-4146 or Click Here.


Mountain Weather:

High pressure will bring warm, dry weather to the area through Friday.  Highs today will be in the low 50’s at 8,000’ and in the upper 30’s at 10,000’.  Ridge top winds will be from the southwest, in the 5 to 15 mph range, with speeds at the most exposed locations reaching into the low 20’s.  Temperatures will be above freezing at most elevations again tonight, with lows near 40 at 10,000’.  Friday will be a carbon copy day.  On Saturday and Sunday, there will be increasing clouds and moderate to strong southwest winds ahead of a Pacific trough that is forecast to cross the area late Monday.


General Information:

This coming Sunday will be the last morning advisory of the season and we will issue afternoon updates as needed until about the end of April.  We are updating our 364-1591 line each morning by 6:00 am with avalanche activity from the previous day and the early morning corn report.

Wasatch Powderbird Guides may fly a small group in upper elevation White Pine.  For more information call 801-742-2800.

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.


Ethan Greene will update this advisory by 7:00 on Friday morning.


Thanks for calling!




National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Snow.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: