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

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Avalanche advisory

Tuesday, January 6, 2004   7:30 am


Good morning, this is Andrew McLean with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Tuesday, January 6, and it’s 7:30 a.m. 


For photos of avalanches and avalanche phenomenon, click HERE.

For a list of backcountry avalanche activity, click HERE.


Current Conditions:

If you survived yesterday’s deep freeze of down to -15 degrees with a high in the mountains of 20, today will seem like the tropics as temperatures move up almost 20 degrees.  A trace to three inches of new is being reported in isolated areas around the Wasatch mountains and with only light winds blowing, it should stay in place. The scattered overnight clouds and cold temperatures have preserved yesterday’s somewhat fluffy turning and riding conditions for another day, with the lightest and deepest snow being found in wind sheltered areas.


Avalanche Conditions:

The strong winds from yesterday morning have scoured the exposed ridgelines and compacted the upper elevation snowpack into sturdy wind slabs that aren’t budging with slope cuts or cornice drops.  While there is some cracking and small pillows breaking loose on slopes approaching 38 degrees, today’s main concern will be the possibility of breaking out a hard slab avalanche on steeper slopes with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.  You will want to watch out for these hollow sounding, smooth snow whales lurking below ridgelines on slopes in the 40 degree range with no anchors and bad avalanche consequences.  A good strategy for today will be to skirt the edges of old debris from avalanches that have run in the last 10 days instead of center-punching open slopes.  Also watch out for small wind loaded pockets that could release out of tight chokes in narrow couloirs and take you for an unintended ride.


Bottom Line for the Wasatch Range, including the Salt Lake, Park City, Ogden and Provo Mountains:

In upper elevation wind loaded areas steeper than 35 degrees, there is a MODERATE danger of human triggered avalanches.  In lower angled, wind sheltered areas off of the ridgelines, there is a LOW danger and human triggered avalanches are unlikely.


Uinta Mountains:  For Uinta specific information, click on western Uintas on the advisory page or phone 1-800-648-7433.


Mountain Weather: We will be emerging from the ice age today with the 8,000’ temperatures expected to climb into the mid to upper twenties by the afternoon.  Scattered clouds will remain with a light wind out of the west/SW and a possible trace of new snow during the day.  Under this evening’s full moon, the temperatures will hold steady in the lower 20’s with moderate winds out of the south and a chance of a few inches of new snow.  The next significant chance of snowfall will be on Wednesday with up to 6” possible and then a stint of high pressure for Thursday and Friday.


For specific digital forecasts for selected mountain areas from the National Weather Service, click the links below or choose your own specific location at the National Weather Service Digital Forecast Page.


3-Day Table

3-Day Graph

7-Day Table

Ogden Mountains

Ogden Mountains

Ogden Mountains

SLC Mountains

SLC Mountains

SLC Mountains

Provo Mountains

Provo Mountains

Provo Mountains



General Information:

The Wasatch Powderbird Guides did not fly yesterday, and today they will be in Mineral, Cardiff, Days and Silver Fork with homeruns in Grizzly Gulch, as well as a private group flying in American Fork.


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 Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center is offering two 3-day avalanche workshops which are being held January 17-19 and February 14-16.  Information and sign-up sheets are available at the Black Diamond store (2092 E. 3900 S.; 278-0233).


Avalanche Awareness Week is January 18-24th and there are a number of events and presentations.  For complete details, visit:  www.backcountryawareness.com


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 Wednesday morning.

Thanks for calling.


National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Snow.