Wasatch Cache National Forest
In partnership with: Utah State Parks and Recreation, The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, Utah Department of Emergency Services and Homeland Security and Salt Lake County.


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Avalanche advisory

Monday, February 14, 2005
Good morning, this is Drew Hardesty with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Monday, February 14th 2005, and its 7:30 in the morning.

Bruce Tremper will give a talk called the Science of Avalanches at REI on Tuesday, February 15th at 7:00 pm.

Our partner The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center is hosting another event.  Tickets are now on sale for the annual Banff Film Festival, February 16 & 17, at Kingsbury Hall, and all proceeds benefit the Utah Avalanche Center.  For more information call 801/581-8516 or go to www.banffmountainfestivals.ca. 

Current Conditions:
Our next Pacific storm is slowly moving down through the region this morning with 10” already in the Logan mountains, 3-4” in the Ogden and Park City mountains and just an inch or two in the Cottonwoods and southern Wasatch.  Heavy snow at times is expected with snowfall continuing throughout the day and into tonight with densities that’ll make us forget about the Sierra cement from a couple days ago.  The west to southwesterly winds picked up overnight as the higher elevation anemometers pushed 30-35mph, gusting to the fifties and sixties.   Mountain temperatures are in the mid to upper twenties. 

Avalanche Conditions:
Not surprisingly, backcountry skiers triggered a few new wind drifts in the more exposed terrain.  One was at 10,500’ on a north facing slope off Sunset Peak in upper LCC, 1-2’ deep and 150’ wide.  On the Cardiff side of Kessler Peak, one of our more notorious backcountry skiers triggered a new wind slab 1-2’ deep at 10,000’, and then pulled out another pocket on faceted snow at 8000’ or so.    In Provo, two naturals 8” deep pulled out at 9700’ from excessive wind loading.  Cracking and collapsing on shady mid and lower elevations continue to confirm where the weakest mid-pack instabilities live, and I’d expect these to become more reactive with the expected snowfall and winds. 

The avalanche danger will be on the rise today.  The overnight winds will have already created some sensitive new wind drifts in the mid and upper elevations and will be sensitive to the weight of a backcountry traveler.  The instabilities will become more widespread and may even step down to the weak faceted snow underneath the Feb 7 storm.  As the danger rises throughout the storm, naturals will become possible and deeper slabs may be triggered at a distance.  Folks without good route finding skills should avoid being on or underneath slopes approaching 35 degrees and steeper.    Dropping cornices and jumping onto test slopes will only give you a piece of the puzzle.  Cracking and collapsing, particularly at the mid and low elevations will be clues to avoid entry as well.  It’ll be important to use information to make conservative choices today, rather than substantiate the need to hit the big open line.   

Bottom Line (Salt Lake, Park City, Provo, and Ogden mountains):
he avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE on any wind drifted slope steeper than about 35 degrees.  Naturals may be possible with human triggered avalanches probable.  The danger is MODERATE on the steep shady slopes at the mid and low elevations and may rise to CONSIDERABLE with expected snow amounts.    

Mountain Weather:
The storm will slowly make its way south through the Wasatch, but by Tuesday morning would expect relatively even snow amounts in the 1-2’ range.  We’ll see the westerly winds in the 20-30mph range and temperatures along the ridgelines in the low twenties.  We’ll get a quick break tomorrow, with moist westerly storms set for the rest of the week. 


Yesterday, Wasatch Powderbird guides flew in AF, and if they get out today, will return.

We really appreciate any information you are willing to give us.  You don’t have to be an avalanche expert to give us some observations so please call and leave a message on our answering machine at 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140, or e-mail us at [email protected].  Fax is 524-6301.

The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center also has some openings left in their February 3-day avalanche class, the 19-21st.  Registration is at Black Diamond retail.


Early birds can catch our early morning report at 6am by calling 364-1591.

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.

Brett Kobernik will update this advisory by 7:30 on Tuesday morning.

Thanks for calling.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: