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

Saturday, December 04, 2004 7:30 Am         


Good morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Saturday, December 04, 2004, and it’s 7:30 am. 


Current Conditions: 

High above the inversion, mountain temperatures have warmed significantly in the past 24 hours, and are currently in the upper teens to mid 20’s.  Winds are light, generally less than 10 mph, and variable in direction.  Snow surface conditions are also variable, with the best powder on wind sheltered shady slopes.  In wind affected terrain, there are plenty of erratic, unpredictable drifts just waiting to trip you up.  The steeper, sunny slopes are crusted.


Avalanche Conditions:

One new human triggered slide was reported in the backcountry yesterday.  It was on a steep NNW facing slope at 9500’, just east of Scotties Bowl.  The slide was about 1 ½ to 2’ deep, 50’ wide, and ran on faceted grains above an ice crust.  Yesterday, it was also possible to trigger the small new hard winds slabs that are sitting on surface hoar.  This afternoon, increasing southwesterly winds may create more of these sensitive drifts.  Also, I expect wet sluffs on the steep sunny slopes with afternoon heating today, and possibly on low to mid elevation northerly facing slopes if we get a cover of high thin clouds.


Bottom Line:  There is a MODERATE danger on northwest through easterly facing slopes steeper than about 35 degrees and on any steep slope with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.  The danger of wet loose sluffs may rise to MODERATE with daytime heating.  Moderate means that human triggered avalanches are possible.  Most other slopes have a LOW danger, meaning there are only isolated places where a person could trigger a slide. 


Mountain Weather:

High pressure over Utah is bringing warm, sunny days to the mountains.  Temperatures will reach into the upper 30’s at 8,000’ and in the mid 20’s at 10,000’.  High clouds will move in this afternoon ahead of the next storm.  The winds will shift to the southwest and gradually increase into the 15 to 25 mph range by evening.  This next storm will split, with the major energy going well south of the Wasatch front.  But the northern Utah mountains should get a small shot of cold snow Sunday night into Monday.


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 Sunday morning, and thanks for calling.