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


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Avalanche advisory

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


Good morning, this Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory. Today is Wednesday, January 19, 2005, and its 7:30 in the morning.


The new UAC web page is up and operational. Check it out at www.avalanche.org then click on Salt Lake City. Thanks for all the feedback well try to correct the bugs as fast as you point them out. You may need to hit refresh in your browser if it does not open up.


Brett Kobernik will be giving a free Know Before You Go avalanche awareness talk at the Park City Milosport this Friday night, January 21st, at 7 pm.


Current Conditions:

High pressure is firmly entrenched over Utah, and temperatures are marching upward. Under clear skies, mountain stations of all elevations are in the upper 20s to low 30s this morning and the northwesterly winds are very light, less than 15 mph across all but the highest peaks. The snow surface has suffered the only dry, dense powder is on shady slopes above about 9,500. All other slopes will be crusted or covered with damp, sticky snow depending on the time of day. An arsenal of skin and ski wax is advised.


Avalanche Conditions:

Backcountry sightseeing continues to be astounding, with huge natural and explosive released slides visible throughout the range. (Photos of slopes that have slid.) No new activity was reported from the backcountry yesterday, though most steep slopes that did not slide during the storm remain wisely untouched.


Today, the warming temperatures and direct hot sun will create a rising avalanche danger. I expect numerous wet loose sluffs, with some picking up snow as they move downslope. In continuously steep terrain, such as is common in the Provo area mountains, this will result in far running slides with substantial debris piles. Also avoid any terrain traps such as gullies or abrupt transitions where snow from even a small slide can pile up deeply.


The other concern is that the rapid warming will keep the more deeply buried weak layers in the snowpack under stress, and increase the possibility of a sluff or person being able to trigger a deeper slab avalanche on a steep slope.


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

The avalanche danger is MODERATE on slopes of about 35 degrees and steeper. Human triggered avalanches are possible. The danger will rise to COINSIDERABLE with daytime heating, especially on and below steep sunny slopes.


Mountain Weather:

High pressure will be centered over Utah today through Thursday, bringing mostly clear skies and unseasonably hot temperatures to the mountains. Today, the mercury will rise to near 40 at 10,000 and approach 50 at 8,000. The winds will be very light, less than 10 mph. There will not be much relief from the heat tonight, with 10,000 free air temperatures in the low 40s. Clear skies will allow a marginal surface refreeze on some slopes. Thursday may be even a bit warmer. Then the ridge will flatten Thursday night through Friday morning as a weak trough moves by to the north. This will bring partly cloudy skies and slightly cooler temperatures to the mountains.


Yesterday Powderbird Guides flew in Cardiff, Days and Silver Fork and will be operating today in Mineral, Cardiff, Days, and Silver drainages, White Pine, and Mill Creek.




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.


We appreciate hearing from you especially if you have information about recent avalanche activity so dont hesitate to call and leave a message at 524-5304, or 1-800-662-4140, or e-mail us at [email protected]


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 Thursday morning.


Thanks for calling

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: