Wasatch Cache National Forest

In partnership with: The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Forecast Center, Utah Department of Public Safety Division of Comprehensive Emergency Management, Salt Lake County, and Utah State Parks


The Utah Avalanche Center Home page is: http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/


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Avalanche advisory

Thursday, December 16, 2004


Good Morning.This is Bruce Tremper with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.Today is Thursday, December 16, 2004, and itís 7:30 in the morning.


Wasatch Backcountry Rescue will be having a fundraiser Saturday night in Park City at 7 pm at Suede.Tickets are available at SmithTix.


A free Beacon Rescue Training Center is now open at Snowbird and a second one will open at Canyons on Thursday.For more information go to wasatchbackcountryrescue.org.


Current Conditions:

Ridge top temperatures have continued to drop a few degrees over the last 24 hrs.The winds are blowing about 15 mph from the northeast and the ridge top temperatures are in the upper teens. The mountains failed to squeeze any measurable snow out of the clouds yesterday with only a few light flurries during the day.Mid elevation Northerly aspects still have dense settled powder that makes for decent riding.South facing slopes actually have pretty good supportable corn if you time it right.Below about 8200í on all aspects a pesky melt-freeze crust will dump you on your head at times.


Avalanche Conditions:

We went another day without hearing about any avalanche activity, but then again, not too many people were out.We still have a big-old thick slab sitting on a fragile layer of faceted snow formed during the November clear spell.The weak layer has gained quite a bit of strength these past few days and the colder temperatures have made the overlying slab stiffer and stronger.So the good news is that itís harder to trigger avalanches but the bad news is that if you do, it will be a monster avalanche 2-3 feet deep and quite wide, which will be difficult to survive.In other words, thereís a MODERATE probability of triggering an avalanche with CONSIDERABLE consequences.You should continue to be selective about which slopes you decide to bet your life on. Also continue to follow safe travel ritual such as one-at-a-time, having an escape route and use a belay rope when you can. Iím guessing that most of the problems will be on slopes that face the north and east quadrants of the compass and worse at mid elevation rollovers.


Also, a moderate wind these past couple days from the north and northeast has created some localized, fresh wind slabs, mostly in wind exposed above tree line terrain.As always, avoid steep slopes with recent wind drifts.


click HERE for a generalized snow profile graphic


Bottom Line (SLC, Park City, Ogden and Provo Area Mountains):

The avalanche danger is MODERATE with CONSIDERABLE consequences on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees, facing northwest thorough east or slopes that have fresh drifts of wind blown snow.If you want LOW danger today, stay on slopes less than 30 degrees and out from underneath steeper slopes.


Western Uintas Ė call 1-800-648-7433 or click here for weekend and holiday forecasts.


Mountain Weather:

It should be a pretty nice day in the mountains with partly cloudy skies turning clear by tonight.Ridge top winds will blow 10-20 from the northeast, switching north by tonight. Ridge top temperatures will be around 20 degrees.Down at 8,000í the high today should be around 30 degrees with the overnight low near 20.


As for the extended forecast, it looks like smooth sailing for the next few days with a few high clouds on Friday, a weak system going to the east of us on Tuesday and a promising-looking storm for just before Christmas.


For more detailed weather information visit the National Weather Service web site.


Wasatch Powderbird Guides will begin flying today and will do reconnaissance missions in Silver, Days and Cardiff fork as well as in American Fork.


To report backcountry snow and avalanche conditions, especially if you observe or trigger an avalanche, call (801) 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140, or email to [email protected] or fax to 801-524-6301.The information in this advisory is from the U.S. 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 on Thursday morning.


Thanks for calling!



For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: