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

Friday, January 9, 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 Friday, January 9, 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:

Yesterday was a disturbing normal day for a season like this – no wind or snow, sunny skies and mild temperatures in the mountains.  Perhaps not something you want too much of, but then again, it was also a welcome break.   The high winds of two days ago created widespread windslabs, which are now forming a supportable base in most areas with a few inches of lighter density snow on top.  After a clear night with temperatures in the mid to high twenties at 8,000’, today will be similar, but with daytime highs in the mid to upper 40’s.  The turning and riding conditions range from carvable foam at higher elevations to dense full-fat creamy powder in sheltered areas and a bit of crusting on sunny slopes.


Click here for 375k Little Cottonwood panorama from Jan 8.


Avalanche Conditions:

At 123% of our normal snowfall, we have a nice deep, stable snowpack.  While there are still some buried layers, the regular storm intervals we’ve had this year have done a great job of adding weight in steady increments.  The widespread wind slabs, combined with yesterday’s warm, sunny weather have put a factory fresh seal on the top of the snowpack and cemented it in place.  Avalanche activity from yesterday was mainly confined to small 6 – 8” deep isolated pockets of wind drifted snow releasing from slope cuts.  These aren’t running far or packing much punch.  With today’s warming temperatures, these will be even harder to trigger.  In the last few days, people have been taking advantage of this period of stability and quite a few big, steep lines now have tracks in them. 


Cornices remain sensitive to human weight and should be approached with caution.  If you are in upper elevation areas, keep an eye out for wind loaded, hollow sounding pillows of snow just below the ridgelines.  With the unseasonably warm temperatures today, afternoon point release slides on steep slopes may also become a concern.


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

In upper elevation, ridgeline areas with slopes steeper than 35 degrees and wind deposits, there is a moderate danger of human triggered avalanches.  In all other areas and aspects, there is a LOW danger. There is a slightly higher danger in the Provo area mountains, especially on steep, shady slopes above 9,500’.


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


Provo Mountains

Today there is a CONSIDERABLE danger on any steep slope with recent wind drifts and a MODERATE danger on non wind-affected steep slopes and a LOW danger on slopes less steep than 30 degrees.


Mountain Weather:

High pressure and warm temperatures have settled in for a stay.  Today will be mostly sunny in the mountains, with a light wind out of the south and daytime highs expected to be in the mid to high 40’s at 8,000’.  The nighttime temperatures will dip back down below freezing tonight with continuing clear skies.  This weather pattern is expected to dominate through the weekend, with a very slight chance of a trace of new snow on Saturday evening.


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 flew in American Fork, Cardiff, Mineral and Day’s Fork yesterday.  Today they will be flying two helicopters in the Cardiff, Mineral, Day’s, Argenta, Porter, Alexander and Bountiful Sessions areas with home runs in Grizzly Gulch.


Park City:

Bruce Tremper will be giving an avalanche talk tonight (Friday) at 7:00 pm at the Park City High School, room 149.


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 Saturday morning.

Thanks for calling.