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 2/18)

Photos sent in by observers throughout the season visit:  http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/obphotos/observer.html      (Updated 2/20)

For a list of backcountry avalanche activity, visit:  http://www.avalanche.org/%7Euac/Avalanche_List.htm     (Updated 2/18)


Avalanche advisory

Monday, February 23, 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 Monday, February 23, 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 Black Diamond Equipment.


Tomorrow at 7pm, Bruce will be giving a talk at REI on the ‘Science of Avalanches’. 

Current Conditions:

Under this moist southerly flow, the snow keeps slowly adding up.  While the snowfall rates were never very high, 24 hour totals in upper Big and Little Cottonwood were 11”, with the Park City and Provo Mountains picking up 6-8”.  Densities were about 10%.  The southeasterly winds were higher than forecasted, blowing in the 15-20mph range, with gusts to 35.  Temperatures are in the mid twenties. 


Avalanche Conditions:

Backcountry observations and reports from the ski areas were consistent in detailing pockety avalanches from the new snow and wind.  All were 6-20” deep and less than 50’ wide, easily triggered by cornice drops and ski cuts.  The winds predominantly kept drifting to the higher elevations on west through northerly facing slopes.  Sluffing was also common in the upper elevation steep slopes, with debris reported running farther than expected.  Significant too, but less indicative of the overall pattern, was an avalanche remotely triggered in upper Broad’s Fork on a northwest facing slope at 10,500’.  It too mirrored the dimensions seen elsewhere, but this slide was triggered from a distance and running on faceted snow.  Formed just around Valentine’s Day on the surface of the snow, the facets must have survived the following week’s thaw and strong southerly winds from last Wednesday and was subsequently buried and preserved beneath the hard slab that blew in on Wednesday/Thursday.  This type of avalanche will be the exception and not the rule, but should be considered if traveling into the highest elevation northerly slopes.  As with this slide, collapsing will be a sure sign of immediate instability – and it would be worth doing a few hasty pits if traveling to these locations.  It will be more common to trigger avalanches in the freshly deposited wind drifts from yesterday and last night. 


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

The danger is MODERATE on upper elevation west and northerly facing slopes steeper than 35 degrees.  While naturals will be unlikely, human triggered avalanches in the new wind drifts will be possible. 


Ogden area mountains:  Snowfall was limited to 3” and the overall danger is 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:

Should be a replay of yesterday with off and on flurries that may amount to a couple of inches.  The winds should be 15-20mph from the southeast.  8000’ temps will be in the low 30’s with 10,000’ temps in the mid-twenties. The overall pattern keeps us in a moist southerly flow for the next few days with a stronger looking system slated for Wednesday night into Thursday.


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 if they’re able to get out today, they’ll head to Snake Creek, AF, and the Cascade Ridgeline.


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. 


Andrew McLean will update this advisory Tuesday morning.

Thanks for calling.