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

Sunday, December 05, 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 Sunday, December 05, 2004, and it’s 7:30 am. 


Weather permitting, Provo Canyon DOT will be sighting in their artillery along the south side of the canyon on Tuesday, closing the area for ice climbing.


The 9th annual Wasatch Women’s’ Telemark Days this year will be on Sunday, December 12th at Alta and Saturday, January 29th at The Canyons. For more information or to register for the event, go to www.wasatchtelemark.org, or call 231-1160 or 424-3961.


Current Conditions: 

It’s mostly clear in the hills this morning with temperatures in the teens at most locations.  Winds are from the southwest averaging 15 mph with the most exposed anemometers showing wind speeds of 20-25, gusting into the mid-30’s.  It’ll be a good day to work on your ‘variable’ conditions riding: southerly aspects have mostly breakable crusts while shaded slopes have a mix of wind damage, drifting and recrystallized powder. 


Avalanche Conditions:

The avalanche activity continued yesterday, with at least one human triggered slide each in the Provo and Ogden area mountains, and three more in the Cottonwoods.  Some, I feel, can be attributed to a slow to stabilize snowpack (they’re called persistent weak layers because they are, well, persistent), some from new wind drifting on the super-weak surface snow, and some can be attributed to more triggers going more places in the backcountry.  All of the avalanches are considered ‘pockety’, as they were less than 50’ wide.  Each were on a steep north to east facing slope, about 1-2’ deep.  The most interesting avalanche was in upper Red Pine where the third skier across a slope triggered a slide with the second skier still on the slab, with both taking short rides.  Other information can be found on our ‘more detailed’ line at 364-1591 or by clicking here (updated by 10am).  Collapsing on the weak layers adjacent to the old rime crust continues to be common.  And just to not feel left out, the wet point release activity got in on the action yesterday, though it was mostly minor in scope.


For today, don’t overlook the potential for some sensitive wind drifts from the southwesterlies along the higher ridgelines and it should be clear by now that there are still a few booby-traps out there.


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.  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 will begin to give way to a weak weather system this evening that may produce maybe an inch or two of snow.  Winds will be out of the southwest at 15-20mph.  8000’ highs will be near 30 with 10,000’ temperatures in the upper teens.  Another messy system follows for Tuesday night into Wednesday.  I’ll have our more detailed mountain weather forecast updated by about noon.

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 Monday morning, and thanks for calling.