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

Wednesday, December 01, 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 Wednesday, December 1st, 2004, and it’s 7:30 am. 


Tomorrow night, Thursday December 2nd, is a benefit for our partners The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center.  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. 


We will also be giving a free avalanche awareness talk at the Sandy REI tomorrow night at 7 pm.


Current Conditions: 

Temperatures are remaining stubbornly cold, even with the blanket of clouds that moved in overnight.  The mercury is near the 10 degree mark at the mid elevations and near zero along the higher ridges.  The winds picked for a while last night, into the 15 to 25 mph range from a northwesterly direction, but have now decreased to less than 15 mph.  There is cold, dry powder on most aspects, but the Sunday wind damage is irritating widespread, and at both upper and mid elevations.


Avalanche Conditions:

There were two more human triggered slides in the backcountry yesterday.  In the Silver Fork Meadow Chutes, a skier triggered a slide mid-slope, on a NE facing rollover that was about 90’ wide by 1 ½’ deep.  In Summit Park a smaller slide was triggered remotely off a ridgeline from 30’ away, which was about 8” deep and 25’ wide.  There continue to be reports of collapsing on a variety of aspects and elevations and slides released by ski cuts and explosive control work at the resorts.


Basically, on slopes that have slid one or more times during the storm cycle, the avalanche danger is mostly confined to drifts of wind blown snow.  On steep slopes that have not slid, the avalanche danger remains serious.  If you do trigger a slide, it will be about 1 ½ to 2’ deep by 100’ wide  – definitely large enough to take you for a nasty ride or bury you.  

Most likely place to trigger a slide would be on a steep, shady slope above about 9,000’. (Provo/Ogden area mountains – above about 7000’)  Backcountry travelers should continue to stay on lower angle terrain or on slopes that obviously slid during the storm.  If you have trouble determining which slopes have slid, stick to the lower angle terrain, especially on the on the shady half of the compass.


Bottom Line:  There is a MODERATE danger on any slope steeper than about 35 degrees, especially northwest through east facing slopes, that has not recently slid.  This means that there are localized areas where dangerous human triggered avalanches are possible.  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 on northwest through east facing slopes or any slope with recent drifts of wind blown snow.


Mountain Weather:

A weak disturbance moving across northern Utah today is generating mostly cloudy skies and the chance for a few snow flurries.  Temperatures will remain near 10 degrees at 10,000’ and warm to near 20 at 8,000’.  The winds should be light, less than 15 mph, from the northwest.  A high pressure ridge will move in for the remainder of the week, with lots of mountain sunshine and slowly warming temperatures.  The next chance for a shot of snow will be around Sunday night.


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. 

Bruce Tremper will update this advisory by 7:30 Thursday morning, and thanks for calling.