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

MONDAY, January 19, 2004   7:30 am


Good morning, this is Drew Hardesty with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Monday, January 19, and it’s 7:30 a.m. 


The new film "Spirit of Snow" is playing Wednesday, January 21, at 7 pm at the University of Utah Social & Behavioral Science Auditorium.  For more information call Wasatch Touring at 801/359-9361.


Backcountry Awareness Week is January 19-25th and there are a number of events and presentations.  For details visit www.backcountryawareness.com.


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 head up into the mountains today, it’ll look a little different than it has for a while – it’ll be mostly cloudy with as much as a trace of snow from last night’s storm.  The winds jumped slightly around midnight into the 15-20mph range, but have notched back to less than 10mph out of the northwest.  Temperatures are in the upper teens and low twenties.  With cloudy skies today’s supportable south facing slopes will offer a teeth-chattering ride, but there’s still plenty of soft recrystalized snow and surface hoar to carve through in the mid and low elevation northerly slopes.  And the surface hoar has grown to epic proportions -I’ve even heard that the fern-sized feathers have grown so large folks are out with their lawnmowers trying the knock the stuff down.  


Avalanche Conditions:

We did have one observer along the western part of the Mill Creek/Big Cottonwood ridgeline pop out an old wind slab 6-8” deep and 20’ wide.  This type of activity is the vast exception and not the rule – and so while 99.9% of the old wind slabs are pretty well welded in place, keep an eye out for these old pillows.  Also, the weakening of the surface snow through recrystallization continues to make sluffing a possibility on steep northerly facing terrain.   These are just reminders that the consequences of getting knocked over while in radical terrain would be enough to ruin your day.  So do your homework and map out the distribution of the surface hoar and recrystalized snow ahead of the next storm, apparently due sometime in March.  Nonetheless, we’ll be in for a pretty good cycle when the next major storm finally arrives.


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

The avalanche danger is low today on all aspects and elevations with human triggered slab avalanches unlikely.  


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


Mountain Weather:

It’ll be mostly cloudy today with snow showers possible.  Winds will be in the 10-15mph range out of the west northwest and veer to the northeast by tonight.  Another very weak storm will follow that should just keep things cloudy through Tuesday afternoon.  8000’ temperatures today will be in the mid-twenties with 10,000’ temps holding at 20 degrees.  High pressure rebounds for the later part of the week and we have our fingers crossed for a storm Saturday night.  


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:

Yesterday, the Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew in Cascade ridge, the Bountiful Sessions, and Lamb’s canyon.  Today, weather permitting, they’ll be in American Fork and back down to Cascade ridge.


The Banff Film Festival, a benefit for the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, is coming up next month – February 9th and 10th at Kingsbury Hall.  For ticket information, call Rob at the U of U Outdoor Program at 581-8516.


We always appreciate any backcountry observations, particularly if you trigger or observe an avalanche.  You can leave us a message at 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140.  Or you can e-mail an observation to [email protected], 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. 


Andrew McLean will update this advisory Tuesday morning.

Thanks for calling.