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:



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Avalanche ADVISORY

Tuesday, November 30, 2004 7:30 Am         


Good morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather information.  Today is Tuesday, November 30th, 2004, and it’s 7:30 am. 


There are two upcoming benefits for our partners The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center.  Tonight, Howie Garber will be giving an adventure sports and nature photography slide show at 7pm at the Ft. Douglas Post Theater on the U of U Campus.  There is a $10 donation requested.  Then on Thursday December 2nd, Brewvies will have their 4th annual Ski Bum Movie Night with two showings of TGR’s latest film “Soul Purpose” plus the film “Sinners”, first at 7pm and then at 9pm. 


Current Conditions: 

Yesterday day was one those rare days where you could keep a down coat on almost all day and not overheat.  This morning, temperatures are a few degrees warmer, but still in the single digits at most mountain locations.  Winds are from the northwest, in the 5 to 10 mph range, except across the highest peaks where they are closer to 20 mph.  There is deep powder on all aspects, but the wind damage is annoying wide spread, and at both upper and mid elevations.


Avalanche Conditions:

With clearing skies and good visibility yesterday, there was confirmation of a widespread natural avalanche cycle during the last storm in the Ogden, Provo, Park City and Salt Lake mountains.  Yesterday, a skier triggered a slide on the south face of Little Superior at about 10,000’ that was about 200’ wide and 2’ deep, and narrowly missed taking a long, rough ride.  Avalanche control along the Park City ridgeline in unskied terrain continued to produce fairly widespread, spooky activity, again in the 1 to 2’ deep, 100’ wide size range.  In the Provo area mountains, one slide was triggered remotely on a 35 degree slope that was 1 ½ to 2’ deep and 75’ wide.  Most other observations from the backcountry were from very experienced travelers who carefully stayed on lower angle terrain or on slopes that had obviously slid during the storm.  There were numerous reports of collapsing on most aspects and elevations.


Avalanche conditions are complex, and the backcountry terrain can be roughly divided into the “haves” and “have nots”.  On slopes that have slid one or more times during the storm cycle, the avalanche danger is less, mostly confined to the medium and hard drifts of wind blown snow from Sunday’s winds.  On steep slopes that have not slid, the avalanche danger remains CONSIDERABLE.  While slides may be a bit more stubborn today, once they do break, possibly above you, they will be about 1 to 2’ deep and 100 or more feet wide.  The weak layers of buried surface hoar and sugary faceted snow are notoriously slow to strengthen, and famous for producing avalanches several days after they are buried.  Warming temperatures today may even make some of these slabs more sensitive. 

Finally, I will try to update the list of avalanches and PHOTOS on the web later today.

Bottom Line:  There is still a CONSIDERABLE danger on any slope steeper than about 35 degrees, especially north through east facing slopes, that has not recently slid.  This means that dangerous human triggered avalanches are likely.  Even on steep slopes that have recently slid, there is a MODERATE danger in terrain with recent deposits of wind drifted snow. People without excellent backcountry travel skills should continue to stay off of and out from below terrain steeper than about 35 degrees, especially north through east facing slopes or any slope with recent drifts of wind blown snow.


Mountain Weather:

A weak weather system will move through the area tonight and Wednesday, with a few inches of snow possible.  Skies will be clear this morning, with increasing high clouds later today.   Temperatures will be slightly warmer, in the mid teens at 10,000’ and the mid 20’s at 8,000’.  Winds will be light, less than 15 mph, from the northwest.  Mostly cloudy on Wednesday, with a few snow showers possible.  The next chance for a stronger storm will be around Sunday.


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 send 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 will update this advisory by 7:30 Wednesday morning, and thanks for calling.