Wasatch Cache National Forest

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Avalanche advisory

Tuesday, January 25, 2005


Good morning, this is Brett Kobernik with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.Today is Tuesday, January 25, 2005, and itís 7:30 in the morning.


Current Conditions:

As of 5 am ridge top temperatures are 5 to 10 degrees cooler then yesterday at this time with most locations in the upper 20ís.Skies are clear and winds are light from the west.


Avalanche Conditions:

Observers reported good corn conditions over the last few days but you need to get it early as a group of backcountry skiers almost learned the hard way yesterday.They remotely triggered a slab avalanche on the southeast aspect of Gobblers Knob shortly after noon.The slide then sympathetically released two smaller slab avalanches on each side of it.The largest slide was 600 feet wide, ran 800 feet vertical, and averaged 18Ē deep.Faceted snow was the reported weak layer and the warm temperatures contributed significantly to the avalanche as well.The group noted that the snow surface before the avalanche was wet but still supportable with skis penetrating only about 3 inches deep which wouldnít cause a lot of concern in most cases.With facets as the weak layer, this isnít the typical melt-freeze corn snow avalanche cycle.Although temperatures were cooler last night the cold probably didnít penetrate the snowpack very deep and people may still be able to trigger this type of avalanche again later today as temperatures warm.


Many observers noticed signs of the warm temperatures putting stress onto the northerly facing snowpack as well.These included cornices pulling away from the ridges forming cracks and many glide cracks are visible as well, some in areas where they usually donít form.


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

Most areas have a LOW danger this morning.The danger will rise to MODERATE on all aspects as the temperatures warm during the day.East and southeast facing slopes will soften first followed by south then southwest and west.Stay out from under glide cracks on northwest through northeast facing slopes as well.Glide avalanches wouldnít surprise me especially in areas like Stairs Gulch, Broads Fork, or Mill B.








Mountain Weather:

Today is the last day of high pressure.Above the valley fog skies will be mostly clear with high clouds moving in by around noon.8,000 foot temperatures will be around 40 degrees with ridge top temperatures around freezing.Winds will be light from the southwest.


A series of weak storms will affect the area over the next few days with cooler temperatures but unfortunately little chance of snow.


Yesterday the Powderbird Guides flew in American Fork and the Cascade Ridge.Today they will be in American Fork, Cascade and White Pine.

Brett Kobernik will be giving a free avalanche talk at Milosport in Orem on Friday, January 28th at 7 pm.


There will be a free, short video and a panel discussion entitled ďAvalanche Ė Weather, Mountains, and Risk.It will be at the Salt Lake Library at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, January 26th.


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 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.


The new UAC web page is up and operational.Check it out at www.avalanche.org then click on Salt Lake City.We have also reserved the domain name www.utahavalanchecenter.com, which will take you to the same site as well.Thanks for all the feedback.We think we have fixed most of the bugs, but if you find anything, let us know.




If you see anything we ought to know about please call and leave a message at 524-5304, or 1-800-662-4140, or e-mail us at [email protected], remember we canít be everywhere at once, so we depend on people just like you.


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 Wednesday morning.


Thanks for calling


For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: