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.

 

Avalanche advisory

Saturday, February 07, 2004,†† 7:30 am

 

Good morning, this is Bruce Tremper with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.Today is Saturday, February 07, 2004, and itís 7:30 a.m.

 

†††††††††††††† Last weekend, someone lost some gear in Alexander Basin.Call our office to 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.

 

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.

 

Current Conditions:

With the cold front expected by mid morning, the ridge top winds have picked up along the most exposed ridges and are blowing 20-30 from the south and the ridge top temperatures have warmed from around 10 degrees yesterday morning to around 20 this morning. For the weekend warrior update, the new snow on Wednesday and Thursday was unusual because it favored places in the mid canyons more than the upper canyons. For instance Snowbird got twice as much new snow as Alta, and you can bet that they will remind them of it for years to come. Also, the Uinta Mountains got 2 feet of snow but most areas have about a foot. The Ogden and Provo area mountains ended up with only a few inches. Yesterday, there was still excellent, light powder in all areas except things got sun crusted on the slopes facing the south half of the compass.

 

Avalanche Conditions:

Yesterday, I looked at the avalanche in what was reported to be ďPowder ParkĒ that caught and partially buried one skier. It was actually not in Powder Park but in a little side drainage of the Desolation Lake area in a very steep, very shallow and very rocky slope that frequently produces avalanches and was the site of a fatality in 1979. It was 1-1.5 feet deep, 110 feet wide and broke on very weak faceted snow formed in January. I have photos on our web site if youíre interested.There was a couple other similar avalanches in similar, mid elevation, shallow snowpack areas on Thursday, but in general, I feel like these avalanches are fairly anomalous and most of the snowpack in the Wasatch Range is much more stable. Yesterday, a small army of happy folks tracked up most of the steeper lines with skiers kicking out just a few isolated, very soft slabs within the new snow in Cardiff Fork and one explosive triggered avalanche in upper Mineral Fork.

 

All of this will change in a hurry today with the arrival of a new storm.With no lack of light, fluffy snow to blow around, any wind will instantly create sensitive soft slab avalanches on any steep slope with wind deposits.This morning, the ridge top winds are blowing 20-30 from the south, then winds should become gusty and squirrelly with the passage of the cold front at mid day.Finally, they will begin to blow from the northwest at 20 mph tonight. So by the end of the day, you will likely find wind drifts in lots of different areas.Also, Iím expecting 5-10 inches of snow to pile up by tonight, so this extra weight may overload our light fluffy powder on the surface this morning and any shallower avalanches could step down into deeper weak layers. In other words, the avalanche hazard will likely rise rapidly through the day.Watch for cracking within the new snow and be sure to jump on test slopes and put slope cuts across slopes before committing yourself.

 

Bottom Line for the Wasatch Range, including the Salt Lake, Park City, provo and OGden AREA MOUNTAINS:

The avalanche danger is LOW this morning on slopes without wind drifts but it will rise to moderate on slopes steeper than 35 degrees with recent wind drifts and the danger may rise to CONSIDERABLE on steep slopes later in the day as snow accumulates and winds continue. (The Uinta and Logan area mountains have a MODERATE danger, which will rise through the day)

 

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

Logan: click HERE or call 435-797-4146

 

Mountain Weather:

Winds will blow 20-30 mph along the ridge tops from the southwest with higher gusts.Snow should begin this morning and the cold front should pass by mid morning to noon with gusty winds and possibly some lightning.Ridge top winds will switch to the northwest and continue to blow 20-30 mph with snow continuing tonight. Iím expecting about 5-10 inches today with another 3-6 inches tonight.Ridge top temperatures should drop from around 20 this morning to the single digits by Sunday morning.Light snow should continue on Sunday and the extended forecast calls for continued cold with light, occasional snow showers and light winds from the north and northeast through about Wednesday.

 

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

 

General Information:

The Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew yesterday in Cardiff, Days, Mineral, American Fork and Grizzly. Today the weather probably wonít allow them to fly, but if they do, they will be in the same areas with the addition of White Pine and Lambs Canyon.

 

If you are getting into the backcountry, please give us a call and let us know what youíre 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.

 

Drew Hardesty will update this advisory Sunday morning.

Thanks for calling.

 

_____________________________________________________________________________