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

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Good afternoon.  This is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory for the Wasatch Range near Salt Lake City.  Today is Tuesday, April 22, 2003, and it’s about 3:30 pm in the afternoon.


Current Conditions:

Well, even the most aggressive ski area marketing department wouldn’t be able to measure much out of the inch or two of damp snow the mountains received through noon today.  But snow showers are continuing this afternoon, and another inch or two may accumulate at the higher elevations.  Winds are light, less than 10 miles per hour, from the southeast.  Temperatures are warm, with daytime highs reaching into the low 40’s at 8,000’ and near 30 at 11,000’.  If you can find a smooth slope, the damp dust on crust turning is fun and fast, and the crusts are supportable on most aspects and elevations.


Mountain Weather:

The warm and moist spring weather will persist through Wednesday evening.  Snow showers and thunderstorms will continue tonight and Wednesday, with 1 to 4 inches of snow possible tonight and another 1 to 4” possible again tomorrow.  Lows tonight will be near 30 at 8,000’ and near 25 at 10,000’.  Winds will be generally light for the next 24 hours, in the 5 to 15 mph range, from the south to west.  Highs on Wednesday will be similar to today’s, in the low to mid 40’s at 8,000’ and near freezing at 10,000’.  The snow level will lower to 7,500’ overnight, and then rise to 9000’ on Wednesday.  There will be a brief break on Thursday, with colder storm moving in on Friday.


Avalanche Conditions:

The avalanche business is very quiet at the moment, with sluffing of the new snow the main concern.  If you head out on Wednesday, watch for loose snow sluffs, especially with day time heating or if the sun comes out.  It may be possible to “push” the new snow on steep slopes by side slipping, creating loose sluffs running on the crusts.  These sluffs will mostly run below you and won’t be particularly dangerous unless one catches and carries you into something nasty like trees, over a cliff or into a gully.  If the sun comes out Wednesday, it may quickly trigger shallow spontaneous sluffs on the steep sun exposed slopes.  The wind is not forecast to blow very hard, but if it does it will make some shallow, dense wind slabs that could move under the weight of a person on steep slopes.   


Of interest for the future, today my partners and I experienced numerous localized collapses on southerly facing slopes.  If you dig down beneath the frozen crusts on most aspects, you will find several layers of damp, loose weak snow.  With several more days of warm temperatures, the surface refreezes will continue to be very shallow, and the layers of wet weak snow will persist in the snow pack.  This could create more interesting avalanche problems if the weekend storm is big.


Bottom Line:

For tonight and Wednesday morning, the avalanche danger is generally LOW.  Later Wednesday, the danger of loose sluffs may rise to MODERATE on steep slopes of all aspects as the day heats up or if the snow accumulates to more than 8 inches or so.


General Information:

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.


Bruce Tremper will update this advisory on Wednesday afternoon.


Thanks for calling!




National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Snow.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: