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

Friday, March 19, 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 Friday, March 19, 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:

The mountains gave up all pretense of freezing last night and yesterday as temperatures soared into the 40ís and refused to come down. Strong ridgetop winds out of the southwest kept it feeling a bit cooler in the upper elevations, but down in the valleys it was sweltering. Miraculously, a few patches of soft snow have endured in high, sheltered terrain, but slop, guanche and bottomless pits of collapsing, rotten snow are the norm.This trend will continue today but break tonight as a weak cold front nudges into the area and brings a refreeze for Saturday morning in time for the PowderKeg Ski Mountaineering race.


††††††††††† Click here for a PowderKeg aerial view

††††††††††† Click here for a topo map of the course


Avalanche Conditions:

The snowpack has taken a beating from above and below with this stretch of unseasonably high temperatures.Aside from not freezing at night, daytime highs and nighttime lows have been with 5 degrees of each other, which has allowed the heat to penetrate deeper into the pack. So far, the temperatures have been gradually creeping up and the snow has had time to adjust to them, but if we get a sudden spike in temperatures as is expected on Sunday, the upper level water saturation could outpace the percolation capacities and we could have a dramatic wet avalanche cycle.


Today, the high ambient air temperature will be the main concern. With the freezing level at over 12,000í, shady aspects will start to feel the effects of prolonged warming, with the mid elevations becoming spongy and wet.Areas that have had extended warm spells, like the Provo mountains, or that have a shallow snowpack, such as the Unitas will be the first to see natural avalanche activity.Today, you will want to avoid any steep slopes with wet, soggy snow on them and keep any eye out for similar slopes above you. Those without good backcountry travel skills might try to fool the snow deities into thinking youíve given up on winter by going biking this weekend.


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

The avalanche danger will be low this morning rising to MODERATE on mid elevation slopes during the heat of the day. For the weekend, the danger of wet avalanches will dramatically rise.


Bottom Line for the PROVO AREA MOUNTAINS:

The avalanche danger will be moderate, rising to considerable during the heat of the day due to extended periods of above freezing temperatures.


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:

Thin, high clouds and continued temperatures in the upper 40ís are expected today with decreasing winds out of the west. A weak cool front will stall over the mountains tonight, dropping temperatures down below freezing for Saturday morning. Sunday promises to be a sizzling skillet, with near record highs in the lower 50ís and little to no wind. This might be the last of it, as it begins to cool off early next week with a chance of precipitation on Wednesday.


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


General Information:

The Grizzly Gulch and Twin Lakes pass area will be congested Saturday morning as 150 racers work their way between Alta and Brighton in the Wasatch PowderKeg event.The fastest times for this 8.5 mile course with 5,600í of climbing are expected to be less than two hours.


The Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew in Snake Creek, American Fork and Cascade Ridge yesterday and will return to the same areas today.


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.


Evelyn Less will update this advisory Saturday morning.


Thanks for calling.