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:



To have this advisory automatically e-mailed to you each day free of charge, visit: http://www.mailermailer.com/x?oid=16351h.                 

For photos of avalanches and avalanche phenomenon, visit:  http://www.avalanche.org/%7Euac/photos_03-04.htm      (Updated 2/12)

Photos sent in by observers throughout the season visit:  http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/obphotos/observer.html.      (Updated 2/12)

For a list of backcountry avalanche activity, visit:  http://www.avalanche.org/%7Euac/Avalanche_List.htm.     (Updated 2/12)


Avalanche advisory

Saturday, February 14, 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 Saturday, February 14, 2004, and it’s 7:30 a.m.


Current Conditions:

Under mostly clear skies, inverted temperatures are near 20 at 10,000’ and in the mid teens at 8000’.  Cold air pooling in the mountain drainages and basins has temps there in the low single digits.  The light winds have backed from the northeast yesterday to the west this morning in front of this afternoon’s weak disturbance, which is most likely to produce only clouds, cooling temps and a few flakes.  Turning and riding conditions remain excellent in wind and sun sheltered areas. 


Avalanche Conditions:

Yesterday around mid-morning a skier triggered and was caught in slab avalanche near Scott’s Peak and No-Name bowl just off the Park City ridgeline.  Apparently, he washed through some rocks and trees but escaped mostly unharmed.  The slab was reported to be 1-2’ deep, 200’ wide on a steep east facing slope at 9600’.  A similar avalanche was remotely triggered in the Uinta Mountains near Hoyt’s Peak.  My general take on these is the change in mechanics of the snowpack due to the rapid warming and intense solar radiation.  From Thursday to Friday, temperatures jumped 15-20 degrees, which can be enough to make areas more sensitive to the weight of a backcountry traveler.  In this case it may have been the combination of terrain that has had the most suspect snowpack with a change in its mechanical properties due to the warm-up.  With increasing high clouds and stronger winds, it may not be as likely for this type of activity to occur today, but still possible.  Enough anyway to warrant caution in these areas. 


Elsewhere, wet point release activity was on the increase, even up into elevations near 11,000’.  Timpanogos was reported to have had some significant wet debris piles.  But in general, folks have been skiing and riding the radical lines with impunity – with sluff management being the only concern.  However, it’s easy to get complacent with the mostly stable conditions and someone got lazy with their sluff management and went for a short ride here - namely me.  So, don’t get lazy and utilize good sluff management techniques, remembering that rag-dolling over a cliff and into some trees and then buried in a terrain trap would ruin your whole day.  


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

The avalanche danger will be generally low today with isolated areas of moderate found on steep north through east facing slopes less than about 9500’ in elevation.  With just thin high clouds until the afternoon, both wet and dry sluffs will be a concern as well.  


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:

We’ll see high clouds this morning with increasing cloud cover by afternoon ahead of the first of two weak disturbances passing through northern Utah.  The first will likely bring only clouds and a few flakes by evening.  Winds will be10-20 mph out of the west and then northwest.  8000 and 10,000’ highs will be 32 and 25 degrees.  The second disturbance, arriving Sunday, will be more of a clipper to the north that will again bring more clouds and perhaps an inch or three.


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


General Information:

Yesterday, the Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew in the Mineral, Cardiff, Mill Creek, and AF.  Today they will be in Mineral, Cardiff, Days, Silver, Lamb’s, Mill Creek, Kessler, AF and along the Cascade Ridgeline.


Some gear was lost Sunday morning on the Alta to Flagstaff up track.  If you found it, please call 801-554-5139.


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. 


Bruce Tremper will update this advisory Sunday morning.

Thanks for calling.