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 3/3)

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 3/3)


Avalanche advisory

Thursday, March 04, 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 Thursday, March 04, 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:

The first of two weather disturbances is sliding across northern Utah this morning, and a couple of inches of light snow have fallen in the mountains.  Winds are from a westerly direction, in the 10 to 15 mph range.  They should rapidly shift to the northwest and may increase as the front passes this morning.  Temperatures are in the low teens at 10,000’.  Any slope catching even the least bit of sun, including flat and low angle slopes, now has a crispy, brittle to hard crust.  The shady, northerly facing slopes are a welcome contrast, with excellent reserves of dry powder.


Avalanche Conditions:

There was an extremely close call in Daley Canyon yesterday.  Bruce was looking at the site of last week’s fatality when he noticed a very recent avalanche, complete with tracks leading into it and a burial hole.  The slide was on a northerly facing, 41 degree slope, at 7600’.  It was 120’ wide, up to 3’ deep, and failed on the January dry spell facets that were capped by a thin crust.  (See photos and information.) A similar 3 foot deep slide was triggered Monday in the Uintas by the third skier on a northwesterly facing slope at 8500’.


These deep slides are being triggered on slopes with a shallow snowpack, generally less than 4 or 5 feet thick, which are plagued by a weak layer of January facets.  If you have ski poles, try flipping them over and jab the handle into the snow.  If the pole goes in full depth with out too much trouble, you are most likely in a shallow snow pack area.  These dangerous areas are most widespread on the eastern side of the Park City mountains and in the Uintas.  But pockets of thinner, weak snow exist throughout the Wasatch on slopes that are steep and rocky, that have already slid this winter, are northwesterly facing or at mid elevations. 


The avalanche danger will increase this afternoon or tonight, whenever the northwesterly winds start to drift snow.  These winds will be predominately loading east and southeasterly facing slopes, which have layers of weak crusts and facets.  So as always, avoid any new drifts of wind blown snow on steep slopes.


More information has determined the enormous climax slide off the southwest facing side of Buckley peak in the Provo area mountains most likely occurred late Sunday.   


Bottom Line for the Wasatch Range, including the Salt Lake, Park City, PROVO 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 avalanche danger is closer to CONSIDERABLE in the Uinta and eastern Park City mountains.  You can find plenty of areas with LOW avalanche danger today on slopes less steep 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:

This morning’s cold front is expected to produce 3 to 6 inches of snow in the mountains.  Winds will shift from the west to northwest, and may increase into the 15 to 25 mph range.  High temperatures will only be in the low 20’s at 8,000’ and near 10 at 10,000’.  A stronger disturbance crossing northern Utah tonight will generate steady snowfall, accompanied by strong northwest winds.  3 to 6” of snow expected tonight, with areas favored by northwest flow receiving up to 10 inches.  A short break on Friday afternoon will be followed by a windy and unsettled weekend, with periods of light snow.


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


General Information:

Wasatch Powderbird Guides will probably not fly due to weather, but if they do they will be in Mineral, Cardiff, Days, Silver, 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. 


Bruce Tremper will update this advisory Friday morning.


Thanks for calling.