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


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Avalanche advisory

Sunday, January 16, 2005


Good morning, this Drew Hardesty with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory. Today is Sunday, January 16, 2005, and its 7:30 in the morning.


Current Conditions:

Skies are mostly cloudy with temperatures about 5-7 degrees warmer than this time yesterday. 10,000 temps are in the mid-twenties with cooler temps aloft as well as down in the basins and mountain valleys. The west-northwesterly winds have calmed down overnight and are averaging 12-15 mph, gusting into the 20s. Snow surface conditions range from breakable on the steep sunny slopes with some wind damage on the more exposed northerly aspects. Soft recrystallized powder covers much of the protected shady slopes.


Avalanche Conditions:

Continued explosive testing in the backcountry by the Powderbirds brought out more deep slab releases in Cardiac Bowl, Little Superior and in upper Mineral Fork all upper elevation north facing slopes. Those on the Silver-Days-Cardiff circuit will have plenty of avalanche eye-candy to write home about, as most are 4-8 deep with some up to 2000 wide. Little more is known about the Dutch Draw accident, but hats off to those involved in the search. Photos keep pouring in and Ill try to have a web gallery up by midday. One party experienced a large booming collapse on a shady slope in White Pine, but that was the extent of the mischief reported from the backcountry.


These monsters are breaking down to the weak faceted snow that formed during the November dry spell and will be slow to stabilize. Ski cuts, classic stability tests and other tracks on the slope will provide little indication of stability. Take note that these recent slides are running historically far distances, taking out 100 year old trees, and overrunning what we normally think as safe spots. Shallow slope angles will continue to be the ticket good safe riding can be found on and below slopes less steep than 30 degrees.


Bottom Line (Salt Lake, Park City, Ogden and Provo mountains):

The avalanche danger remains CONSIDERABLE on and below all northwest through the easterly facing slopes approaching 35 degrees and steeper. Human triggered avalanches are likely to be UNSURVIVABLY LARGE and DANGEROUS. Wet sluffs may be expected at the mid-to low elevations.


Mountain Weather:

Today will be mostly cloudy with a few flurries expected by late afternoon as a weak system moves through. Temperatures will be warmer, with highs in the upper 30s at 8,000 and the mid to upper 20s at 10,000. Winds will be 15-20mph from the west northwest.


Yesterday Powderbird Guides flew in Cardiff and Mineral without clients. Today, theyll be out in American Fork for more explosive testing.




Snowbird is hosting its 2nd annual Backcountry Avalanche Awareness Week January 31 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 Utah Governor, Jon Huntsman and also 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.



If you are getting into the backcountry and see anything we should know about, give us a call at 524-5304, or 1-800-662-4140, or e-mail us at [email protected]

We value your information very much.


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.


I will update this advisory by 7:30 on Monday morning.


Thanks for calling

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: