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

Sunday, February 15, 2004,   7:30 am


Good morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Sunday, February 15, 2004, and it’s 7:30 a.m.  This forecast is brought to you in partnership with the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, supported by the Uinta Brewing Company.


Current Conditions:

Under clear skies, temperatures are mostly in the teens this morning, with single digits at highest elevations and in the mountain valley bottoms.  Winds are generally less than 10 miles per hour, from a northwesterly direction.  Only the highest peaks have wind speeds of 15 to 25, with gusts into the 30’s.  Turning and riding conditions are still very good on sheltered shady slopes in recrystalized powder, though many of the heavily tracked slopes remind you how close they are to Was Angeles.  


Avalanche Conditions:

Yesterday, there was a distinct increase in avalanche activity.  In the Provo area mountains, a ski cut triggered a slide on a steep northeast facing slope on Mill Canyon Peak that was about 75’ wide and 18” deep.  In the UFO Bowls, a recent natural was reported and a slide was remotely triggered on a northeast facing slope from about 25’ away.  It broke out 1 ˝ feet deep, up to 100’ wide and ran 1500 vertical.  Another remotely triggered slide occurred when Craig and I were digging a snow pit on a lower angle slope above and to the side of Friday’s human triggered slide in No No Name, which is on the ridge between the Monitors and White Pine.   We heard the telltale whoomph, and watched as a new slide took out the slope on all 3 sides of the old slide.  This is an easterly facing slope at 9800’, and the slide averaged 18” deep, was up to 200’ across, and ran well out onto the flats.  2 similar to slides were triggered remotely in the Uintas on Thursday and Friday.  These slides are failing on a layer of weak facets associated with the January 26th rain/rime crust.  


My field work this week has found remarkable variation with in just a few miles in the central Wasatch.  Some slopes have very strong snow, where steep lines can be skied and boarded safely.  Other slopes have very weak snow, where I was unable to isolate a column in my snow pits.  If you’re planning on hitting the steep slopes today, take the time dig down and assess the strength of both the January rain/rime crust and the near surface facets.  It doesn’t take a back hoe, and it might just keep you out of trouble.


Sluffing of the surface snow will continue to be a problem at all elevations on very steep shady slopes.  Also watch and avoid the few shallow wind drifts that may form along the highest ridges.


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

The avalanche danger is moderate on northwest through easterly facing slopes, steeper than about 35 degrees.  While there are only isolated areas where you could trigger slab avalanche, carefully evaluate any steep slope and remember that slides are being triggered from a distance from lower angle slopes.  On slopes less steep than 35 degrees, the avalanche danger is generally low.


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:

Another weak disturbance will move through the area late this afternoon and tonight, bringing a flurry or two.  Clouds will increase later today, with 10,000’ highs in the mid teens and 8,000’ highs near 30.  Winds will be from a northwesterly direction, in the 10 to 20 mph range, and may increase towards evening.  More clouds and much warmer temperatures are in the forecast for Monday.  The earliest chance for significant snow appears to be mid week.   


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


General Information:

Yesterday, the Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew in Mineral, Cardiff, Days, Kessler, the Cascade Ridgeline, and American Fork.  Today they will be in American Fork, Cascade, Lambs and the Sessions.  


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. 


I will update this advisory Monday morning.

Thanks for calling.