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

Sunday, February 27, 2005
Good morning, this is Drew Hardesty with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Sunday February 27th, 2005, and its 7:30 in the morning.

Current Conditions:
Under clear skies, mountain temperatures are in the teens with cooler air pooling in the valley bottoms and mountain drainages.  Winds remain less than 15mph from the west northwest.  Snow surface conditions range from mostly supportable quasi-corn on the steep southerly aspects to soft recrystallized snow and surface hoar on the north side of the compass.  Sluffing in the weakening surface snow may be something to consider if you’re jumping into the steeper lines.

Avalanche Conditions:
While it’s true that some of the older wind slabs are a bit slow to settle out and the mid-pack weaknesses haven’t gone fully dormant, my sense is that yesterday’s activity is less an indicator of a change in stability than the fact that more folks are swarming into every nook and cranny of the Wasatch.  There were three more human triggered slides yesterday, all on 38-40 degree northeast and east facing slopes at about 10,000’.  A ski cut along the Mineral/Mill B ridgeline pulled out a 8-10” by 50’ soft slab, a cornice drop pulled out a 1’x20’ wide soft slab onto faceted snow in the Raymond chutes above Mill A, and a skier launching over a cornice or old fracture line unintentionally triggered a slide that possibly went into old snow 30” by 40’ wide.  This last slide was in No Name adjacent to Scotty’s Bowl in LCC likely was a pocket repeater that ran on the old bed surface from the January cycle. 

Moderate is a dangerous place to be.  Often the signs of instability are not present, and you can ride numerous slopes before finding the booby-trap.  The lingering new snow instabilities are not widespread, but are more likely to be found on steeper north through east facing slopes at the mid and upper elevations.  The problems with faceted snow are in similar areas, and may be more sensitive in areas that pulled out in the January cycle. 

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 deposits of wind drifted snow.  The danger of wet activity on the sun-exposed slopes will rise to MODERATE with today’s heating.

(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.)
It’ll be another beautiful day in the hills with light northwesterly winds and temperatures in the mid-twenties along the ridgelines and in the mid-thirties at the mid-elevations.  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, American Fork, Cascade, Mineral and White Pine.    Today they will have one ship in the Bountiful Sessions and Lamb’s Canyon with a second ship along the Cascade ridgeline.

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.

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

Thanks for calling.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: