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 2/27)

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 2/27)


Avalanche advisory

Wednesday, March 03, 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 Wednesday, March 03, 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 in part by the Uinta Brewing Company.


Current Conditions:

Skies are overcast this morning as a very weak disturbance moves through northern Utah, and a few flakes of snow are falling in the mountains.  Winds are very light, less than 10 mph from a westerly direction and temperatures are in the mid teens to low 20’s.  With the sun now high in the sky, almost all slopes are crusted except the shady, northerly facing ones.  On these slopes, there is excellent dry powder out of wind affected terrain.


Avalanche Conditions:

We seem to have returned to last winter’s nightmare, of a mostly stable snowpack interspersed with a few slopes where a person could trigger a deep, dangerous slide.  Yesterday, 3 more slides were triggered in the Salt Lake mountains, with two slides breaking into old snow.  In Argenta, a skier triggered a slide on an easterly facing, rocky, 42 degrees slope, which was about 3 feet deep and 80’ wide.  In Days Fork, explosive testing triggered a slide on a northeast facing slope at 10,300’ that was over 3 feet deep and 200’ wide.  There was a third human triggered slide in the Birthday Chutes, on a northerly facing slope at 10,000’, that was about 1’ deep, 75’ wide, and new snow only.  On the flip side of the coin, lots of steep lines were skied and boarded and other explosive testing had no results except sluffing. 


So we are back to the same old dilemma – there are not many places where a person could trigger a slide, but if you do it could be hazardous to your health.  The most likely places would be any shallow snowpack areas, such as steep, rocky slopes, the eastern side of the Park City mountains or areas that have already slid this winter.  Northwesterly facing slopes and mid elevations have been unusually active.  In addition, be alert for the possibility of wet sluffing today.  A combination of high thin clouds and even some direct sun could heat up the surface snow on both the steep sunny slopes and the shady, mid and low elevation slopes.  


Completely out of the pattern, was an enormous, natural slide in the Provo area mountains yesterday afternoon on the northwest face of Buckley peak.  The entire bowl broke out about a 1/3 of a mile wide, and ran from 9,300’ down 5,000’ vertical to dump a huge debris pile on the Bonneville shoreline trail.  


Bottom Line for the Wasatch Range, including the Salt Lake, Park City, AND OGDEN AREA MOUNTAINS:

The avalanche danger is MODERATE on slopes steeper than 35 degrees.  While there are only isolated places where a person could trigger a slide today, if you do it will likely be deep and dangerous.   The danger of wet sluffs may rise to MODERATE on steep sun exposed slopes and on low and mid elevation shady slopes.  You can find plenty of areas with LOW avalanche danger today on slopes less steep than about 35 degrees. 


PROVO AREA MOUNTAINS:  The avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees.  Large, long running naturals may still be possible in the Provo areas mountains.  The danger of wet sluffs will also rise as the day heats up on and below steep sun exposed slopes and on low and mid elevation shady slopes. 


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:

The very weak cold front will exit northern Utah this morning, with clearing skies this afternoon as a weak ridge builds in.  Winds will remain light, less than 15 mph, from a northwesterly direction.  Temperatures will be in the mid teens at 10,000’ and near freezing at 8,000’.  Tonight, winds will shift to the southwest ahead of another weak cold front that could drop several inches of snow on Thursday.  On Thursday, there will be moderate to strong northwesterly winds.  The weather looks unsettled into the weekend, with mostly cloudy skies and periods of light snow.  


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


General Information:

Yesterday, Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew in Cardiff, Days, Mill Creek and Grizzly Gulch.  Today, weather permitting, they will fly in Mineral, Cardiff, Days, Silver, Mill Creek, Lambs, Sessions, Grizzly and White Pine. 


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 Thursday morning.


Thanks for calling.