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

Monday, February 16, 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 Monday, February 16, 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:

Skies are partly cloudy this morning, and temperatures are warmer, in the teens to low twenties.  A few snow flurries in the last 12 hours have added up to all of a trace.  The wind direction varies from northwest to southwest.  Speeds are in the 10 to 20 mph range in the more exposed location, with gusts into the 30’s.  The sheltered, shady slopes have a nice thick layer of soft recrystalized powder.  However, many of the more popular backcountry slopes are looking like in area ski runs.  So if you’ve got that secret powder stash, today may be the day to hit it.  The sunny slopes are well crusted with thicknesses ranging from thin zipper crusts to shin bashing linoleum.


Avalanche Conditions:

As far as I can tell, the snow pack is just plain schizophrenic at the moment, and to paraphrase the old rhyme, “Where it is good, it is very, very good, and where it is bad it is horrid”.  Many, if not most areas in the central core of the Wasatch have a strong, stable snow pack, and there were no reports of avalanche activity yesterday.  


However, Friday and Saturday’s avalanche activity was significant.  The slides were either on the northeastern “edge” of the Wasatch central core or in the Provo and Uinta mountains, and were on northeast or easterly facing slopes.   These slides all failed on facets associated with the January rain/rime crust, and the slopes all seemed to have a certain critical combination of weaker facets and a stronger slab.  This seems to be an occasion when digging snowpits is very useful, as the differences between the strong and weak snowpack areas are dramatic and fairly consistent.  It is worth having reference pits from stronger snow pack areas, to compare to should you come upon snow of a different character.  And remember, at some point there is a transition between the strong and weak snow.


People are still triggering sizeable loose snow sluffs on very steep shady slopes, which are large enough to take you for a ride.  A few shallow wind drifts may have formed along the higher, windy ridgelines.  These drifts could break under the weight of a person, and should be avoided on steep slopes.   


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

In the central core of the Salt Lake and Park City Wasatch mountains, the avalanche danger is generally LOW, with only isolated areas where a person could trigger a slide.  As you travel toward the periphery of the Salt Lake and Park City mountains, and into the Provo and Uinta mountains, the avalanche danger is moderate on north through easterly facing slopes, steeper than about 35 degrees. 


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:

A dirty ridge will be over northern Utah today through Tuesday, with lots of mid and high level clouds moving through.  Today, winds will shift from the northwest to the southwest, and decrease to less than 15 mph.  Today is the start of a warming trend, with highs reaching the mid thirties at 8,000’ and the low 20’s at 10,000’.   There will be mostly cloudy skies tonight, with a chance of light snow.  Lows will be in the upper twenties at both 8,000 and 10,000 feet.  Tuesday and Wednesday will be much warmer and windy as a strong southwesterly flow develops over the area.  Temperatures will be at or above freezing at 10,000’.  A Pacific storm system is forecast to move across the area Wednesday night into Thursday, but the computer models are still inconsistent with the details.


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


General Information:

Yesterday, the Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew in Cascade Ridge, Lambs and the Sessions.  Today they will be in Lambs, the Sessions, Cascade Ridge and possibly American Fork.


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 Tuesday morning.

Thanks for calling.