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

Saturday, February 26, 2005
Good morning, this is Bruce Tremper with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Saturday February 26th, 2005, and its 7:30 in the morning.

Current Conditions:
The blustery southeast winds on Wednesday made lots of tricky wind slabs above tree line and the strong spring sun has put a good sun crust on all the sun exposed slopes but there’s still about 6 inches of fine, dry snow on wind and sun sheltered slopes.  There’s also a little bit of corn snow on lower elevation south facing slopes. Ridge top temperatures are moderately chilly around 15-20 degrees and they peak up during the day into the lower 30’s.  Ridge top winds are 10 mph from the west. 

Avalanche Conditions:
This past week many people have triggered avalanches and several of them had very close calls.  For a change, we didn’t hear about much human-triggered activity from the backcountry yesterday—just one 6 inch deep, 100’ wide, intentionally-triggered slide in Daily Canyon near Park City.  There was still an explosive-triggered slide from the upper Little Cottonwood Canyon breaking 2-4 feet deep to a surface hoar layer that formed on February 5th.  Also, yesterday, I looked at a slide in Mineral Fork where a skier was caught on Thursday and it was still sensitive enough that we could get a large piece of the hangfire to pull out. (PHOTOS)  (Call 801-364-1591 for daily avalanche details.)

Most of the avalanches that people have triggered these past few days have been on steep slopes—around 40 degrees and they have recent deposits of wind drifted snow and they are sliding on weak layers of faceted snow and surface hoar formed in January and early February.  As a very experienced avalanche worker put it yesterday, “People are jumping into the bold lines and some of the bold lines are pulling out.”  People are finding plenty of safe slopes but there are just enough booby traps around to make me, and most other avalanche professionals, nervous.  The smart strategy today is to continue to pick more conservative lines and follow all your safe travel protocol, like doing slope cuts, going one at a time and getting out of the way at the bottom.

Bottom Line (Salt Lake, Park City, Provo, and Ogden mountains):
The avalanche danger is MODERATE on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees, especially any slope with recent or old deposits of wind drifted snow.  This means that most slopes are safe but there are localized places where you can still trigger an avalanche.  If you want LOW danger terrain, stay on slopes less than 35 degrees without recent deposits of wind drifted snow.

(http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/ed-scale.htm for an explanation of avalanche danger ratings.)

Mountain Weather:
(You can find the afternoon Weather Update here.)
We’ll have a few high clouds today but otherwise nice weather.  Ridge top temperatures will be around 20 degrees and rise to 30 degrees in the heat of the day with ridge top winds 10 mph from the west.  Down at 8,000’ the day time high will rise to 35 today and cool to 18 degrees tonight.

For the extended forecast, we will have a weak weather disturbance for Monday, but otherwise the weather should stay pretty benign for the next week.

Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew in Cardiff, Days, Argenta, Mill Creek, Grizzly and the Bountiful Session Mountains.  Today they will have one ship in Cardiff, Days, Mineral, Silver, White Pine and Grizzly with a second ship in American Fork, Cascade or the Bountiful Sessions.

If you have any snow or avalanche observations, call and leave a message 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 AND AVALANCHE CONTROL INFORMATION: 975-4838.  We try to update our early morning avalanche activity report by around 5:30 am at 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.

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

Thanks for calling.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: