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

Friday, December 03, 2004 7:30 Am         


Good morning, this is Drew Hardesty with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Friday, December 03, 2004, and it’s 7:30 am. 


Current Conditions: 

Under clear skies, inverted temperatures are in the teens along the ridgelines with single digits in the basins and mountain valleys.  With a shortwave passing to the north, winds did pick up a bit overnight and 11,000’ northwesterly winds jumped to 20-25, gusting to 30.  These ought to diminish by midmorning.   Sunny aspects are now crusted, with the best riding found on the weakening surface snow on the sheltered shady slopes. 


Avalanche Conditions:

We received another report of a skier triggered slide on a northeast facing slope at 10,000’ that was 1.5’ deep and 70’ wide, running on faceted grains above a harder crust.  No location was given.  Many observers still report collapsing in the snowpack on the buried November facet/crust layers, but these are not triggering slides as they were only a few days ago.  Despite the fact that the overall stability has been increasing over the past few days, we’re far from being out of the woods.  Instead, we’re in a classic pattern: we have clear skies, fast traveling and good riding conditions just a few days after the avalanche cycle, but now the obvious signs of instability are less apparent and yet it’s clear that a few booby traps remain, mostly in the mid and upper elevation shady slopes that haven’t run yet.   


Lastly, last night’s northwest winds may have created some new sensitive wind drifts in the upper elevations.



Bottom Line:  There is a MODERATE danger on any slope steeper than about 35 degrees, especially northwest through easterly 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:

We’ll have mostly clear skies with a few high clouds thrown in the mix.  8000’ highs will be in the low 30’s with 10,000’ temps in the mid-twenties.  Winds should be light and northerly.  Tonight the winds should back to the southwest ahead of the next system slated for 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. 

Evelyn Lees will update this advisory by 7:30 Saturday morning, and thanks for calling.