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.


The NEW AND IMPROVED Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center Home page is: http://www.utahavalanchecenter.com

To receive automated e-mails of this advisory click HERE.

Avalanche advisory

Saturday, February 19, 2005
Good morning, this is Drew Hardesty with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Saturday, February 19th 2005, and its 7:30 in the morning.

Current Conditions:
With the next disturbance moving through overnight, the mountains picked up 3-4” of 12-13% density snow and it’s still snowing.  The southerly winds picked up just after midnight and have been blowing 35-40 mph gusting into the 50’s along the more exposed ridgelines, with gusty conditions down at the lower elevations as well.  Temps are in the mid-teens.  Warming temps and green-housing dampened the snow surfaces up to at least 10,000’ yesterday and many areas will have a few new inches of snow over an inch or so thick crust.  

Avalanche Conditions:
A ski party remotely triggered Argenta yesterday, the large slide path on the Northwest side of Kessler Peak in mid-BCC.  It reportedly ran along the western shoulder up to the summit 350’ wide, 2-4’ deep running over 1500’, taking out old tracks.  With the additional loading by this morning’s winds and snow combined with the weather outlook, these types of avalanches will become more sensitive, widespread and unsurvivable.   These deep slides will still be able to be triggered at a distance, and previously ridden terrain may still be suspect.  All of these slides have been above 8400’ and on steep northwest through easterly aspects, with the problem consistent in the outlying areas to include the lower elevations of the Ogden and Provo mountains. 

The strong southerly winds will have created some sensitive new wind drifts along the mid to high elevations.  Steep lee terrain, convex rollovers, and cross-loaded gulleys should be considered guilty until proven innocent.  Cracking and collapsing will be an indictment as well.  It’ll be important to travel across steep slopes one at a time, get out of the way at the bottom and maintain visual and voice contact with your party while traveling through the hills.

Bottom Line (Salt Lake, Park City, Provo, and Ogden mountains):
he avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE on any steep wind loaded slope at the mid and high elevations.  Any avalanche triggered on northwesterly through easterly aspects will have the potential to step down 1-4’ deep into weak faceted snow.  With more snow and winds, the danger may be more pronounced in the Provo Mountains.


Mountain Weather: (Afternoon Weather Update can be found here.)
The Low Pressure system off of California will keep snow falling through the morning and then again in the later afternoon.  We could see another 4-6” between now and tonight, with another 4-8” overnight.   The winds should remain strong in the 30-40mph range from the south this morning before dropping to 20-30mph from the west-southwest by afternoon.  Snowfall should continue through Sunday night with a brief break Monday before the next system reloads for next week.



Yesterday, Wasatch Powderbirds were in Cardiff, Grizzly, and AF.  They don’t plan to fly today.

Thanks again to everyone who is sending in observations!  This advisory is for you and it’s great to hear from people who use it.  Please keep calling us at 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140, or e-mailing us at [email protected].  Fax is 524-6301.

UDOT COTTONWOOD CANYONS HOTLINE FOR ROAD CLOSURE INFORMATION: 975-4838.  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.

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

Thanks for calling.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: