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

Thursday, January 15, 2004   7:30 am


Good morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Thursday, January 15, 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:

If you’re heading into the mountains today, think warm spring conditions and take plenty of skin wax, sun screen, water, and be careful not to overdress.  Skies are partly cloudy this morning, and the southerly winds have increased into the 10-15 mph range across the higher peaks.  Temperatures are a bit warmer than yesterday, in the mid 20’s to low 30’s out of the cooler drainage bottoms.  The snow surface provides a wide range of choices – steeper sunny slopes have supportable crusts that soften each day for corn-like conditions, sheltered shady slopes have a shallow powder layer made up of facets and surface hoar, and both these are intermingled with inconsistent, tricky wind slabs that vary from supportable to breakable.


Avalanche Conditions:

There have been no recent avalanches, and dull may be the best description for today’s avalanche conditions.  But this type of weather creates many of our most persistent and dangerous weak layers, and sometimes today’s good skiing is next week’s avalanche headache.  For today, there are a few minor avalanche problems that backcountry travelers should be aware of.  On shady slopes, the loose layer of surface hoar and is thick enough that the larger sluffs could catch and carry a person in continuously steep terrain.  The snow is also weakening beneath the old wind slabs, and people were able to crack out a few small hollow sounding pillows on Tuesday.  With one more very warm day in store, it will again be possible to push damp, loose sluffs on steep, sunny slopes after the snow has turned to mush.  And finally, there continues to be the possibility of glide avalanches on steep, smooth slopes.  Be cautious about crossing below slopes with glide cracks, especially in places like Broad’s Fork, Stairs Gulch and Mill B South.


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

The avalanche danger is low today and human triggered slab avalanches are unlikely.   In the steeper terrain, dry loose sluffs are possible on shady slopes and wet loose sluffs are possible on sunny slopes as the snow heats up.


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


Mountain Weather:

Strong high pressure will continue to dominate the weather pattern.  Today, there will be mostly sunny skies with a few high clouds drifting by.  The winds will light, 10 to 15 mph, and be variable in direction.  Highs today will be near 30 at 10,000’ and near 40 at 8,000’.  On Friday, a very weak system will bring some clouds over the area and cool temperatures by about 10 degrees.  Then the ridge will redevelop for the long weekend.


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 weapon in Stairs Gulch this morning, so please avoid that area.


Yesterday, the Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew in Silver, Days, Cardiff and Mineral Forks.  Today they will fly in Silver, Days, Cardiff, Mineral, Porter, Alexander, Wilson and Cascade with one alpine tour drop in White Pine and home runs in Grizzly Gulch.


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 & Behavioral 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.


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. 


I will update this advisory Friday morning.

Thanks for calling.