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 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

Sunday, February 08, 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 Sunday, February 08, 2004, and it’s 7:30 a.m.


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:

Yesterday featured rousing winds with gusts over 50mph, moderate temperatures and steadily deteriorating weather.  Snow started falling in earnest around 4pm and has continued at about 1” per hour all night long in upper Little Cottonwood Canyon, which currently has almost 12” of new.  Outlying areas received anywhere from 1 – 3” with steady winds in the 10 – 20 mph range.  These strong winds blew from the SW yesterday morning, then shifted to the NW by the end of the day and annihilated the upper elevation snowpack by turning it into alternating patches of exposed rain crust and show-stopping dense drifts.  Your best bet today will be sheltered, lower elevation terrain that hasn’t been sacrificed to the wind.  Temperatures are about 10 colder than yesterday, with 8,000’ highs expected to be in the mid to high teens today.


Avalanche Conditions:

High winds and lots of new snow are sure signs of impending avalanche doom, and we currently have varying degrees of both of these.  To further confuse the situation, the strong SW winds created fresh wind drifts yesterday morning, then shifted almost 180 degrees last night and disguised them.  The warmer temperatures were perhaps the saving grace, as they created a sticky snowpack that will move, but isn’t going far. Key instability indicators, such as cracking and sluffing, were easy to find in the backcountry yesterday.  Today you’ll want to pay attention to these red flags by looking for hidden wind slabs, watching your slope angles and using safe backcountry travel skills.  Avoid big, fat pillows of wind drifted snow, any slope steeper than 35 degrees and exposing more than one person at a time to avalanche paths.  Upper elevation, wind exposed terrain will be the most dangerous areas today, especially in upper Little Cottonwood Canyon.



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

In wind sheltered areas with slopes less steep than 35 degrees, the avalanche danger will be moderate today.  In exposed upper elevation areas, especially in Little Cottonwood Canyon, the danger will be considerable with natural avalanches being possible.  (The Uinta and Logan area mountains have a MODERATE danger today.)


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:

The snow will begin to taper off later this morning as a low pressure trough exits the area.  An additional 1-2” of new snow is expected throughout the day with partly cloudy skies and a moderate wind out of the northwest, which will diminish to light by this afternoon.  Unsettled weather will continue tonight through Wednesday, with lows of around 10 degrees and highs just below 20.  Scattered snow showers are expected through next week with no major storms in the forecast.


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


General Information:

The Wasatch Powderbird Guides did not fly yesterday and today they will be in American Fork, Cascade and the Bountiful Sessions mountains.


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. 


Drew Hardesty will update this advisory Monday morning.

Thanks for calling.