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 receive automated e-mail of these advisories, click HERE



Friday, October 29, 2004 8:00 pm


Good evening, this is Drew Hardesty with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather information.  Today is Friday, October 29, 2004, and it’s 8:00 pm.  We’ll be issuing afternoon bulletins through the end of the month on an almost daily basis.  Don’t miss the annual Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center ski swap at REI on Saturday, November 6th.  Gear drop off will be on Thursday and Friday evenings.


Current Conditions:

High expectations for continued snowfall fizzled with the mountains only picking up a couple of inches today.  Winds were blowing near 20mph out of the west until about noon when they abruptly dropped off to less than 10mph.  Today’s temperatures dropped into the upper teens and low twenties as my beard froze for the first time of the season.  Turning and riding and conditions are excellent at the upper elevations with a base near 5’.  The mid-elevations and sunny aspects are good as well with 4-8” over a mostly supportable crust.  


Avalanche Conditions

Today, the avalanche problems were isolated to some new 4-8” soft slabs on the lee of the upper ridgelines.  Cornices are beginning to become large with some sensitive and breaking back farther than expected.  The good news is that this isolated danger is quite manageable with slope-cutting and cornice dropping and by watching your slope angles.  Much of the activity from yesterday was not as widespread today, with the trend continuing into tomorrow.  For Saturday, little expected snowfall and light winds should do little to increase the avalanche potential, so the danger will be isolated to the rogue windslab at the highest elevations. 


Remember, for the most part, the unopened ski areas are not doing control work, and are just as dangerous as the backcountry.   Alta Ski Area will be open to uphill traffic on Saturday but may close for uphill traffic again depending on the next storm.


Bottom Line:

The avalanche danger is LOW in most areas.  Steep upper elevation slopes with recent deposits of wind-drifted snow still have a MODERATE danger.   Places like the south slope of the Uinta Mountains and the Wasatch Plateau seem to have gotten more snow out of this latest storm and the avalanche danger is probably higher there.


Mountain Weather:

A weak storm passing to the north of us should offer the central Wasatch another inch or two tonight and tomorrow with continued northwesterly winds in the 10-15mph range.  The Logan and Idaho border areas should fare substantially better out of this shortwave, accumulating as much as 6-10” in the next 24 hours.  Tomorrow’s highs at 8000’ will be in the mid-thirties with ridgetop temps in the low twenties.  Northwesterly winds should be 15mph until picking up Saturday night ahead of the next storm, slated to affect the central Wasatch Saturday night through early Monday morning.  At this stage, it looks like areas favored by a northwest flow may pick up as much as a foot and a half.  Sunday’s cold front should bring us the coldest temps yet, as 10,000’ temps plummet to 12 degrees F.


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.

I’ll update this bulletin by Saturday afternoon.