Wasatch Cache National Forest

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Text Box:




Avalanche advisory

Monday, January 26, 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 26, 2004, and it’s 7:30 a.m. 


Current Conditions:

With another 5-7” reported in the last 12 hours, storm totals are 14” in the Ogden mountains, 12-15” along the Park city ridgeline, 12” and 20” in Big and Little Cottonwood, and 5” in Provo.  Densities are consistent at 5%.  The winds continue to be a player, as anemometers show the northwest winds averaging 15 mph, gusting to 30.  11,000’ wind speeds are  20-30 mph, gusting to 50.  Temperatures are still bitter cold in the single digits.  


Avalanche Conditions:

Yesterday’s reports indicated pockety shallow activity at all aspects and elevations.   Sluffing was very common in the low density snow, and where drifted, backcountry travelers were able to trigger soft slabs 8-12” deep from 11,000’ down to 5000’.  Activity at the ski areas was consistent with this, finding sensitive soft slabs of about the same depth.  Cornices were quite sensitive and some were triggered from a distance.  In addition, shallow naturals were reported in the lower elevations running on surface hoar.  And to totally complicate the picture, areas that have seen less traffic were more sensitive than the other usually hammered shots.  A full list of activity can be found at 364-1591, which I’ll have updated by 8:30am.  We continue to appreciate the backcountry observations that we receive.  


Today’s problems will still be with the winds and I expect fresh wind drifts to remain sensitive to the weight of a person.  While the predominant loading will be on south and easterly facing aspects, crossloading and channeling around subridges and gullies will have occurred as well.  Skirt smooth, pillowy wind drifts and take note of cracking and collapsing in the new snow.  The mid and low elevation areas must still be considered suspect as the weakest snow is in these areas.  


Bottom Line for the Wasatch Range, including the Salt Lake AND Park City MOUNTAINS:

The avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE on slopes 35 degrees and steeper with recent deposits of wind-drifted snow.  In these areas, human triggered avalanches will be probable.  Elsewhere, the danger remains MODERATE.


OGDEN MOUNTAINS:  The danger is MODERATE on all slopes over 35 degrees.  Human triggered avalanches will be possible. 


PROVO MOUNTAINS:  The danger is MODERATE.  High winds and minimal snowfall would keep the danger at the higher elevations.    


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


Mountain Weather: We’ll see mostly cloudy skies today with some snow showers over the course of the day.  Winds will be 20 mph along the ridgelines out of the northwest, backing to the west and down to 10-15mph by tonight.   Temperatures at 8000’ will be 12 degrees while 10,000’ temps will be 3 degrees.  The overall pattern has us in a moist westerly flow with two mentionable storms set for Tuesday night and again on Friday.


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


General Information:

The Wasatch Powderbird Guides will not fly today due to weather.


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.  Tickets are now available at Kingsbury Hall, REI, The Outdoor Recreation Program or any Art-Tix Outlet.  For more 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. 


Andrew McLean will update this advisory tomorrow morning.

Thanks for calling.