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:


For photos of avalanches and avalanche activity, visit:http://www.avalanche.org/%7Euac/photos_03-04.htm†††† (Updated 3/25)

Photos sent in by observers throughout the season visit:http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/obphotos/observer.html†††† (Updated 4/2)

For a list of backcountry avalanche activity, visit:http://www.avalanche.org/%7Euac/Avalanche_List.htm†††† (Updated 3/31)



Wednesday, October 20, 20044:00 pm


Good afternoon, this is Drew Hardesty with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather information.Weíll be issuing intermittent afternoon bulletins through the end of the month and as conditions warrant.Today is Wednesday, October 20, 2004, and itís 4pm.Donít miss our annual Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center

ski swap at REI on Saturday, November 6th.Gear drop off will be on Thursday and Friday.


Current Conditions:

A broad moist Pacific storm system has enveloped much of the western U.S. bringing a deluge of moisture with it.As the trough axis sits well to the west, the precipitation to the mountains has arrived on a southwesterly flow, which has more or less evenly blanketed the northern Wasatch with similar storm totals.Since Sunday night, this event has produced 4-7Ē of precipitated water from Logan to Provo.You can reel your dropped jaw back in because the rain/snow line has varied from about 8500í to a little over 9500í since then.And so while itís wet and sloppy in the parking lots, upper Little Cottonwood Canyon has reported almost 3í of high density snow at 9500í and Iíd suspect you could find another foot or two a thousand feet higher across the range.South and southwesterly winds blow in the 15-20mph range, with gusts into the mid-40ís.


The beauty of the high density snow is twofold:first, itíll help to build a foundation to the snowpack thatíll start to cover up the rocks and obstacles; secondly, it will hopefully give us something that wonít quickly rot out if and when things calm down.That early-season depth hoar is always the fear we have with early season snowfall.


Weíre not issuing danger ratings, but suffice it to say that if thereís enough snow to ski or ride, thereís likely enough to slide.Precipitation rates have been quite intense and rapid loading tends to make the snowpack cranky.So if you get out in the next day or so, you might as well keep to safe travel practices and watch for changing conditions.We almost always have some early season close calls or fatalities.Best not to be on the wrong end of an early season avalanche or season-ending injury.


Mountain Weather:

Orographic enhancement will continue to accentuate the rain and snowfall in the mountains through the end of the week.Temperatures will remain relatively mild through Thursday evening with similar rain/snow lines until the flow shifts to the northwest early Friday that may result in snow along the benches.Post frontal lake enhanced precipitation should continue Friday, followed by a slight break on Saturday.Another, smaller system follows for Sunday, with another large low pressure trough lining up for early next week that is shaping up to be similar to the one currently affecting the Wasatch.


If you are getting out, drop us a line or an email with any reports or observations from the backcountry.You can leave us a message at 524-5304 or 1 800-662-4140.Email us at [email protected], or a fax to 524-6301.

The information in this advisory is from the US Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content.This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur.