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/

To have this advisory automatically e-mailed to you each day free of charge, click HERE.

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.


Text Box:




Avalanche advisory

Friday, January 23, 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 23, 2004, and it’s 7:30 a.m. 


This is Backcountry Awareness Week.  There will be a black hat fund raising event tonight at Snowbird, starting with a silent auction and Governor Olene Walker speaking, then dinner which will be followed by a presentation on the first ski descent of Mt. Hunter, Alaska.  Also on Saturday and Sunday, there will be a series of avalanche and backcountry survival classes.  For details on these and other events visit www.backcountryawareness.com.


Current Conditions:

Yesterday was another clear, sunny day in the mountains, with daytime temperatures in the mid twenties, light winds and the inversion line at about 6,000’.  Not that anybody will miss it, but today should be the send off party for the inversion that has overstayed its welcome for so long. It will be partly cloudy with daytime temperatures in the lower 30’s with light winds out of the west ahead of a cold front that is moving in for the weekend and should bring some new snow. This all comes at a good time as the soft powder is fading fast and getting harder to sniff out as it retreats to the higher elevation shady slopes.  


Avalanche Conditions:

Hopefully you’ve been enjoying the current stability and making the most of it over the last two weeks.  We will squeeze one more day out of it, and then with any luck will add some new snow to the scenery.  This weekend’s impending storm looks like it will be coming in windy and cold and could deposit 12 - 18” of light density new snow.  For the immediate future, the existing surface hoar will be Public Enemy #1 when new weight is added on top of it.  This has been growing strong between 6,000’ and 7,500’ in the Tri-Canyons areas, especially in shady, sheltered areas.  These are often the type of places where you might go during or immediately after a storm, so keep this in mind.  The weak recrystalized powder up at mid to upper elevations and shallow snowpack on lower elevation sunny slopes will also be a concern with a sudden increase of new snow on top of them.


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

The avalanche danger is low today throughout the northern Wasatch on all aspects and elevations with human triggered slab avalanches unlikely.  With wind and new snow on the way, the avalanche danger will most likely rise significantly over the weekend.


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


Mountain Weather:

It looks like we are back in business with some winter storms headed our way.  Today and tonight will be partly cloudy with 8,000’ highs in the lower 30’s and light winds out of the west.  Early Saturday morning, the temperatures will start to drop and the winds pick up ahead of a strong, moist, NW flow.  It should start snowing late Saturday afternoon and build in intensity through Sunday morning, with 20-30 mph winds out of the west and .7” of water expected, for storm totals of over a foot.  Temperatures will drop down into the single digits early Monday morning with a daytime high expected to be around 20 degrees with moderate winds.  Tuesday will continue the storm pattern with a 50% chance of snow and mostly cloudy weather.


For specific digital forecasts for the Salt Lake, Provo or Ogden mountains, CLICK HERE.


General Information:

The Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew in White Pine, American Fork and Cascade yesterday.  Today they will be in White Pine, American Fork, Cascade, Silver, Days, Cardiff, Mineral, Kessler and Gobbler’s.


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.


The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center are offering a three day avalanche class February 14-16.  For more information or to sign up, contact Black Diamond Equipment at (801) 278-0233.  2092 E. 3900 S.


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 Saturday morning.

Thanks for calling.