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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For a list of backcountry avalanche activity, click HERE.






Avalanche advisory

Tuesday, February 03, 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 Tuesday, February 03, 2004, and it’s 7:30 a.m.  


Some touring gear was found last Sunday in Alexander Basin – give us a call to identify and claim it. 


The Banff Film Festival, a benefit for the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, is on 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.


Current Conditions:

Yesterday raged with angry winds, flat light and a trace of new snow in the mountains.  Overnight, the anticipated storm moved in from the south bringing 5” of new to the Provo area mountains and 1 – 4” elsewhere.  The storm should continue to develop today, with moderate winds out of the SW, 8,000’ temperatures around 20 degrees and storm totals of 4 – 7”.  Two days of cold weather and overcast skies have preserved the slow-motion powder and the backcountry still has good to great conditions on all aspects.


Avalanche Conditions:

The past week has conspired to bring together all of the ingredients of a classic avalanche cycle.  Thursday’s freezing rain contributed the bed surface, while the weekend’s mini storms added new snow which was then whipped into a soft slab by strong winds.  Once again, the avalanche danger is teetering on the brink and can change suddenly with the weather.


Two key elements are the wind loading and the underlying rime crust.  Even though the wind blew predominately from the S/SW, north side loading is not a given, due to strong up canyon winds that cross-loaded ridgelines at most elevations.  If this cross-loading occurred on a section of supportable rime crust, avalanches will be easy to trigger.  You’ll want to watch out for drifted areas of new snow, especially in higher elevations wind affected terrain.  Be aware of any signs of cracking in the soft snow and stick to the safer ridgelines or lower angle slopes.  Yesterday’s windslabs will be hidden by today’s new snow and be tricky to identify.


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

On wind sheltered slopes less steep than 35 degrees, the danger will be moderate.  If the storm develops as expected today, in upper elevation, wind loaded areas the danger will climb to considerable, with natural avalanches being possible and human triggered being probable on steeper slopes.  On slopes 30 degrees or less, the danger will be low.


Bottom Line for the provo MOUNTAINS:

The avalanche danger will be a notch higher in the Provo area mountains, which have taken the brunt of this storm.  In upper elevation, wind exposed areas with slopes steeper than 35 degrees, the danger will be considerable.  In sheltered areas with slopes less steep than 35 degrees, the danger will be moderate.


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


Mountain Weather:

A southern Utah storm system will slosh over into the northern Utah mountains today, bringing a bit of moisture and unstable weather.  The S/SW flow will bring 3-5” of new snow with moderate winds and daytime temperatures of around 20 and then dropping to 10-15 at night.  Winds will turn northwest by the afternoon and the system will drift over Utah until at least Thursday.  Partly to mostly cloudy weather with a 20 to 50% chance of snow will persist through the week and into the weekend.


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


General Information:

The Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew in American Fork, Snake Creek, Lambs and Bountiful Sessions yesterday and today will be in Mineral, Cardiff, Days, Silver, White Pine, American Fork and Cascade.


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 Wednesday morning.

Thanks for calling.