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 3/16)

Photos sent in by observers throughout the season visit:http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/obphotos/observer.html†††† (Updated 3/12)

For a list of backcountry avalanche activity, visit:http://www.avalanche.org/%7Euac/Avalanche_List.htm†††† (Updated 3/9)


Early morning preliminary information by about 6:00 am: 801-364-1591


Avalanche advisory

Thursday, March 18, 2004,†† 7:30 am


Good morning, this is Bruce Tremper with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.Today is Thursday, March 18, 2004, and itís 7:30 a.m.This forecast is brought to you in partnership with the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, supported in part by Black Diamond Equipment.


Current Conditions:

Itís hard to believe that March is traditionally the snowiest month of the winter in the mountains. You might think the conditions are bad, but yesterday, I ran into several World Cup competitors from Spain, here for the big Wasatch Powderkeg randonnee rally race this weekend. They thought it was fantastic and they wondered why more people were not in the mountains.


This morning might be the last morning with below freezing temperatures in the mountains for nearly the next week, so you should get out and enjoy the corn snow while you can before the big melt down this weekend. This morning, temperatures are about 5 degrees warmer than yesterday morning. The temperatures on the highest ridge tops are in the upper 20ís and around freezing at 8,000í and the ridge top winds have calmed down to a more reasonable 10-15 mph from the west, after strong winds these past couple days. Since the snow surface looses a lot of its heat to a clear sky, it should be refrozen in most areas this morning, but it will likely turn unsupportable on the east facing slopes by about 9:00 am, on the south facing slopes by about 10:00 and on the west facing slopes by about 11:00.North facing slopes still have dry snow above about 8,500í and the wind and sun have destroyed all the powder except for just a few pockets on the steep, upper elevation, north facing slopes.


Avalanche Conditions:

The big news in the avalanche department is the huge warm up for the weekend when record setting warm temperatures will turn snow in the mountains into a soggy wet-slide-o-rama. By Sunday, the ridge top temperatures will be in the mid to upper 40ís and 8,000í temperatures will be in the mid 50ís and lower 60ís. If thatís not enough, the winds will be almost calm, so weíre expecting a big increase in wet avalanches on almost all slopes. If youíre planning on camping out for the weekend, be sure to choose your campsite and route very carefully, and itís probably not a good weekend for bagging a big peak. Youíll want to stay off of and out from underneath any steep slopes.


In the mean time, this morning, the snow is frozen and quite stable, but we may see a few wet sluffs in the afternoon.On the high ridges, the strong winds over the past couple days have made some minor, dry wind slabs that didnít seem particularly sensitive yesterday, but you may be able to kick some of these off on the steep slopes above about 10,000í.


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

The avalanche danger is mostly low this morning.With day time heating, the danger of wet, loose sluffs will rise to MODERATE on steep sun exposed slopes.For the weekend, the danger of wet avalanches will dramatically rise.


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:

Clear and warm today with ridge top temperatures around 34 degrees with winds from the west and southwest picking up from 15 mph this morning to around 30 by afternoon. Tonight, temperatures should stay above freezing but with a clear sky, it should give the snow surface a shallow refreeze that wonít last long on Friday. On Friday and Saturday, ridge top temperatures will rise to around 43 with 8,000í temperatures in the mid to upper 50ís. On Sunday and Monday, we should be setting records all over the state with ridge top temperatures near 48 and the 8,000í temperatures rising into the 50ís and 60ís. For the extended forecast, temperatures will finally cool and weíll have a chance for snow by about next Wednesday.


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


General Information:

This Saturday morning between 7:00 am and about 10:00 am, the Grizzly Gulch and Twin Lakes Pass areas (between Alta and Brighton) will be congested because of the Wasatch Powderkeg randonnee rally race.With 25 European World Cup racers participating, it should also be a good spectator event.


The Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew yesterday in Snake Creek, American Fork and Cascade Ridge and today they will be in the same areas plus the Bountiful Sessions.


If you are getting into the backcountry, please give us a call and let us know what youíre 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 Friday morning.


Thanks for calling.