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


: http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/


Avalanche advisory

Wednesday.  November 12, 2003   7:30 am


Good morning, this is Andrew McLean with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Wednesday, November 12, 2003, and it’s 7:30 a.m. 


Current Conditions:

If you got out into the backcountry last year, the current snowpack will seem very familiar.  Great turning conditions exist above 8,000’ but vary dramatically with the aspect.  South facing is a mix of wet snow and supportable crust, while East and West have some creamy settled powder.  North facing is your best bet for deeper coverage and lighter snow, but presents a greater avalanche hazard at the higher elevations.   Sheltered, lower angle slopes currently have fun, fast powder and generally good coverage.


Avalanche Conditions:

The high elevation, shady Northwest through Northeast facing instabilities from Monday have started to subside, but are still present.  Cracking and settling were observed yesterday at 10,000’ on wind loaded north facing slopes.  By kicking off cornices, it was possible to trigger avalanches with initial fractures depths of roughly 12”.  These are hard to get going, but once they do, they are fast moving, running full track and accumulating large deposition piles.   They are running on buried surface hoar and with additional loading from overnight winds, I would expect them to remain sensitive throughout the day.  There is also some graupel mixed in with the snowpack which has been pooling beneath cliffs and could cause isolated pockets of instability.


Sunny slopes that have received a more pronounced heating cycle have seen quite a bit of settling.  There is a dense 12” slab on Southeast through Southwest aspects on top of a sun crust.  It takes quite a bit of effort to get this moving, but once it does, it is a clean, fast sheer.  Due to low snow depth and abundant anchors, this shouldn’t be a problem, but avoid steep sunny slopes with smooth underlying surfaces.



Bottom Line (Salt Lake, Park City and Ogden area mountains):

Above 9,500’ on slopes facing NE through NW steeper than 35 degrees there remains a CONSIDERABLE avalanche hazard, especially in wind loaded, ridgetop locations.  Other steep upper elevation slopes have a MODERATE hazard.  Below 9,500’ the hazard is generally LOW.  As always avoid any recent deposits of wind drifted snow.



PROVO area mountains: The avalanche danger in the Provo mountains is CONSIDERABLE on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees, and MODERATE on slopes steeper than about 30 degrees.  In these areas, human triggered avalanches are probable and natural avalanches possible.  The danger in the Provo area mountains increases with elevation, and will increase during the day as the winds increase.  Avoid any slopes with new drifts of wind blown snow.


Mountain Weather:

A high pressure system will be on top of us today, making for mostly sunny and mild conditions.  Expect light winds, which will build throughout the day and temperatures in the mid to high twenties at the 8,000’ level. A few inches of wet snow are expected tonight as this system starts to break down as a low approaches from California. Winds will shift from the SE to the SW and increase into the 30-40 mph range.  High pressure returns by Friday afternoon, and then more snow is likely over the weekend.


General Information:

If you are getting into the backcountry, please give us a call and let us know what you’re seeing, especially if you trigger an avalanche.  You can leave a message at 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140.  Or you can e-mail an observation to [email protected] .org, or you can fax an observation 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 will update this advisory Thursday morning.

 Thanks for calling!


For more detailed weather information go to our Mountain Weather Advisory

National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Snow.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: