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 13, 2004   7:30 am


Good morning, this is Bruce Tremper with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Wednesday, January 14, and it’s 7:30 a.m. 


For photos of avalanches and avalanche phenomenon, click HERE.

Photos sent in by observers throughout the season click HERE.

For a list of backcountry avalanche activity, click HERE.


Current Conditions:

When I was growing up in the outskirts of Missoula, Montana, we would get fog like this too, and when I would return to school on Monday, people would ask, “Where did you get that tan.”  And I would say, “It’s sunny up above the fog.”  And they just wouldn’t believe me.  So if you’re trapped like everyone else down in the lung-clogging air, you might think about a quick escape into the sunny, warm mountains where it’s a good 20-30 degrees warmer than the valleys and be sure to wear your sunscreen.  Today, we will once again have sunny skies, warm temperatures, no wind and mostly stable snow make for very user-friendly conditions to explore all those places you’ve had your eye on for the past several years.  Believe it or not, there’s still some very nice soft, dry, recrystalized snow on the sheltered, shady slopes that feels like powder.  There’s quite a bit of old wind damage above tree line and sun crusts on sunny aspects.


Avalanche Conditions:

Although the snow is mostly stable in all areas, there are a few minor points you should think about today.  First, as the snow rots away and becomes weaker, some of the old wind slabs are becoming sensitive again.  I kicked off a small one yesterday and I have two other reports of them too.  So you might continue to do slope cuts on those steep rollovers that look smooth and rounded.  Second, in the heat of the afternoon, we will continue to have some localized wet sluffs on the soggy slopes.  Third, several large glide avalanches have released these past few days in the usual spots like Broad’s Fork, so you should be cautious about crossing below slopes with glide cracks, especially in places like Broad’s Fork, Stairs Gulch and Mill B South.  If you want to see one without even leaving town, there’s one in City Creek Canyon just across from the Capitol building (click HERE for photos).  Fifth, the warm temperatures have made the cornices weaker and someone person triggered one, but were not caught, in the Wolverine Cirque area yesterday that put down a good debris pile.   Finally, looking to the future, you can find some of what Evelyn Lees calls “trophy-sized” surface hoar crystals in many of the low lying areas (click HERE for photos) and gobs of very weak faceted snow on the sheltered, shady aspects.  So unless these layers get destroyed by rain or wind, the next snowstorm may be especially dangerous, especially in basin bottom steep slopes and terrain traps.


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

The danger is low today and human triggered avalanches will be unlikely.   During the heat of the day, the danger of wet slides will increase to moderate as the snowpack warms up on steep, sun exposed slopes. 


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


Mountain Weather:

Continued beautiful, warm, sunny weather in the mountains with cold and smog in the valleys.  On the ridge tops, temperatures will be just above freezing with almost non-existent winds and 8,000’ temperatures will be in the mid 40’s.  Other than a few high clouds at times, the next chance for snow will be on about Tuesday. 


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 Utah Department of Transportation will be sighting in their avalanche control cannon in Stairs Gulch on Thursday morning, so don’t do any dawn patrols in that area.


Yesterday, the Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew in Mineral, Cardiff and Days.  Today they will fly in the same areas, plus Silver and Possibly Gobbler’s with another ship in American Fork and Snake Creek.


You are invited to see the new film "Spirit of Snow" a beautiful film about backcountry skiing as seen through the eyes of a 10th Mountain Division veteran.  Donations requested at the door. 


            Location: University of Utah Social & Behavorial Science Auditorium

            Time: 7pm - Wednesday, January 21, 2004

            For more info - Wasatch Touring - 801/359-9361


Governor Olene Walkier signed the proclamation for Backcountry Awareness Week yesterday at the State Capital building.  This will take place January 19-25th and there are a number of events and presentations.  For complete details, visit: www.backcountryawareness.com.


Women of all disciplines (Alpine, Snowboard, Telemark) are invited to join Babes in the Backcountry for a backcountry skills day at The Canyons Resort, Jan 25, 2004.  For more information, click HERE.  Or visit babesinthebackcountry.com.


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 Lees will update this advisory Thursday morning.

Thanks for calling.