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

Friday, January 07, 2005


Good morning, this is Brett Kobernik with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.Today is Friday, January 07, 2005, and itís 7:30 in the morning.


UDOT will be doing avalanche control work begining at 7:30 this morning in Big Cottonwood Canyon.


UDOT will also be doing control work in Provo Canyon which means the ice climbs and all the parking lots in the central canyon will be closed.


Current Conditions:

We have a slight break from precipitation this morning with mostly clear skies.Mountain temperatures are in the low single digits and winds are westerly at 5 to 10 mph with a few higher gusts overnight.The mountains received one to three feet with of snow depending on location since Tuesday night.Some favored locations received close to 4 feet.


Avalanche Conditions:

The big news is the rapidly-rising avalanche danger for this afternoon and through the weekend.Itís a triple whammy with snow, extremely strong winds and rising temperatures.This will almost certainly create widespread danger of both human triggered and natural avalanches on any slope with recent wind drifts and possibly non-wind drifted slopes as well.It should begin this afternoon when the winds begin to blow hard.Thereís deep piles of feather-like snow everywhere and the wind will easily have itís way with it, blowing it into deep, dense wind drifts on most slopes.Also, snow and rising temperatures through the weekend will make the snow slabby and upside down even in non wind drifted areas.This is definitely not the weekend to be on, or underneath, steep slopes in the backcountry.

Yesterday, the new light density snow avalanched naturally in the form of loose snow sluffs on the steeper slopes.  A number of backcountry skiers reported human triggered avalanches from Thursday as well.  Some of these human triggered slides were loose snow avalanches depositing large debris piles.  Skiers triggered a couple of soft slab avalanches as well with the largest being in the east bowl of Silver Fork.  It fractured about 12Ē deep, 100 feet wide and ran at least 600 feet vertical producing a decent sized dust cloud.So today, even before the winds pick up, you can still find some sensitive wind slabs and potentially dangerous sluffs.



Bottom Line:

The current avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE on any slope approaching 35 degrees in steepness.The danger will rise to HIGH today with the onset of strong winds.People must stay of off and out from underneath any steep slopes.We will most likely issue an avalanche warning this afternoon.


Mountain Weather:


Today temperatures along the ridgelines will be in the upper teens with light west winds this morning.Winds will shift to the south west around noon and pick up to 20 mph.Stronger winds will start affecting the area around 2 pm with speeds of 40 mph and gusting to possibly 80.


Tonight a warm front will arrive bringing snow.4-8Ē should fall by Saturday morning.Strong south west winds will continue.Temperatures should remain in the teens.


Periods of snow with continued wind is expected over the next few days.



We value any information people are willing to give us.We donít bite or pass judgment so if you trigger an avalanche or have any information on snowpack and avalanches please call us at 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140, or fax to 801-524-6301, or email to [email protected]


The Wasatch Powderbird Guides did not fly yesterday and if possible, will be in Cardiff, Days, Silver, Grizzly, American Fork, and Snake Creek today.


There are a few spots left in the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Centerís 3-day January 15-17 avalanche class.Registration is at the Black Diamond retail store.


Snowbird is hosting its 2nd annual Backcountry Avalanche Awareness Week January 31 Ė February 7th as a benefit for the Utah Avalanche Center.On Friday, February 4th, there will be a fundraising dinner at Snowbird with presentations by Dave Breashears and Apa Sherpa and Lhapka Rita.On February 5th and 6th, there will be a variety of classes offered at Snowbird.For more information, go to www.backcountryawareness.com.


We do an early morning update around 6am each day on the 364-1591 line.


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.


Bruce Tremper will update this advisory by 7:30 on Saturday morning.


Thanks for calling



For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: