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 2/24)

For a list of backcountry avalanche activity, visit:  http://www.avalanche.org/%7Euac/Avalanche_List.htm     (Updated 2/24)


Avalanche advisory

Tuesday, February 24, 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 Tuesday, February 24, 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 Black Diamond Equipment.


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


Current Conditions:

The warm air mass and wide spread stratus clouds stuck around last night and will continue again today.  Light, but steady winds blew out of the south and a bit of low level moisture favored the valleys with some snow and dropped a trace in the mountains.  Another trace of new is expected today, with 8,000’ temperatures climbing into the mid 30’s with a light wind out of the south.  Backcountry conditions run the gamut from near corn on the mid and lower elevation sunny slopes to settled powder in the shady upper elevations and a variety of crusts in between.


Avalanche Conditions:

Like the snow conditions, the current avalanche dangers are varied.  There are two main concerns for today – soft slabs in the upper elevations and wet slides on sunny slopes.


The soft slabs formed from the new snow and steady winds over the weekend.  These are most common on the lee side of upper elevation ridgelines and range from a few inches to a foot deep.  They are sensitive to human triggers as well as cornice drops and produce tree shaking power sluffs that are running fast and far.  It will be easy to trigger one of these with slope cuts, but they will be especially dangerous if they are triggered from above and catch you after they’ve built up some speed.  These will also have the potential to step down into deeper layers, as seen by the 2-3’ deep crown lines from control work at the ski areas.  When venturing onto steep, shady upper elevation slopes, be aware of thick deposits of heavy powder, especially if you see cracking.


The other concern for today will be the wet slides on sunny or lower elevation slopes.  The sun isn’t scheduled to make a brilliant appearance, but the high, thin clouds will help trap the heat and cause warming.  With 8,000’ highs expected to be above freezing and overnight lows of around 20, we have a damp snowpack that will be reactive to warm spikes in temperatures.  


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

There is a MODERATE danger of soft slab avalanches in upper elevations with recent deposits of wind drifted snow, or of wet sluff activity on sunny or lower elevation slopes.  In sheltered, mid elevations, there is a low danger of human triggered avalanches.


Provo area mountains:  Due to the warmer temperatures, the Provo mountains will have a Moderate danger of wet avalanche activity rising to considerable if the warming trend continues.


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:

Today will be cloudy with a trace of snow possible and winds building to moderate by the end of the day.  By tonight, a weak ridge will be on top of us that will soon be pushed out by a powerful Pacific storm moving in from the south on Wednesday.  Strong winds and dropping temperatures will accompany a cold front which is scheduled to arrive around midday on Thursday with accumulations of snow throughout the day. 


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 are headed to Mineral Fork, Cardiff, Days, Silver Fork, Snake Creek, American Fork, Cascade, White Pine and Grizzly Gulch.


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. 


Evelyn Lees will update this advisory Wednesday morning.

Thanks for calling.