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

Thursday, December 02, 2004 7:30 Am         


Good morning, this is Bruce Tremper with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather information.  Today is Thursday, December 02, 2004, and it’s 7:30 am. 


Evelyn Lees will give a free avalanche awareness talk at the Sandy REI tonight at 7 pm. and I’ll give a talk at Hanson Mountaineering in Orem tonight as well.


Tonight, 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. 


Current Conditions: 

This morning, ridge top temperatures have clawed their way up to a mighty 10 degrees from the zero-or-below temperatures of the past few days.  Ridge top winds remain light from the northeast.  With these calm, clear conditions, there is a strong temperature inversion in the mountain valleys and the temperature down low is around zero this morning but should warm up fast when the sun comes out.  There’s still lots of great 4-day-old powder on the wind and sun sheltered slopes with tricky wind drifts in most above-tree line slopes.


Avalanche Conditions:

The reports of human triggered avalanches continue to diminish each day as the buried weak layer slowly gains strength.  Yesterday, we heard about only one—a skier triggered avalanche on the Maybird-Red Pine ridge in Little Cottonwood Canyon.  It was north facing, near tree line in a wind drifted area 1 ½ feet deep and 60 feet wide.  No one was caught. 


It’s been four days now, since it quit snowing and snow collapses much less often as you travel across it.  Our snow profile tests show that the buried weak layer of faceted snow left over from early November continues to gain strength.  But most cagy, old, backcountry avalanche geeks are still avoiding big, steep slopes, especially north through east facing slopes above 9,000’ that experienced wind drifting during the past week.  Also, it’s hard to tell which slopes slid this past week and which did not, so you still need well-developed avalanche skills if you want to monkey around with the big, steep lines.


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 you can still trigger an avalanche.  There’s also a MODERATE danger on any steep slope with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.


Mountain Weather:

Until Sunday, we’ll have enticingly delightful weather in the mountains and smog in the valleys with slowly warming ridge top temperatures and nearly no wind.  Today should be clear with ridge top temperatures near 15 degrees and light winds from the northeast.  8,000’ temperatures around will rise to 25 degrees.  By Friday afternoon, ridge top temperatures will warm to the mid 20’s and we’ll have a few high clouds on Friday but otherwise nice.  For the extended forecast we have several nice-looking storms lined up starting Sunday and going through much of the week.


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. 

Drew Hardesty will update this advisory by 7:30 Friday morning, and thanks for calling.