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, March 05, 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 March 5, 2005, and its 7:30 in the morning.

Current Conditions:
Same as it ever was—stuck in the doldrums—however you want to put it.  Today will be remarkably similar to yesterday.  We’ll once again have some mountaintop puffy clouds with light winds.  The 8,000’ temperatures are in the mid 20’s this morning and yesterday they rose into the mid 30’s.  Ridge top temperatures are around 20 degrees with highs around 30’s.  Although it’s kind of wind-hammered up above tree line, you can still find some very nice nice, soft, dry recrystallized snow that someone from out of state might mistake for powder.  You can find the faux powder on the wind sheltered north facing slopes, but the popular spots have lots of tracks so you need to get a little creative.  There’s also some OK corn snow on mid and low elevation south facing slopes, but the clouds and humidity keep the snow from a very good refreeze overnight. 

Avalanche Conditions:
Same as it ever was once again.  It has been a week since the last reported human triggered avalanche in the backcountry and the snowpack seems very relaxed, like a cat sleeping, draped over the back of the couch.  The only avalanche activity you will likely find today will be very isolated, old, wind slabs on steep slopes mostly up above tree line.  There will also be a few, isolated wet sluffs, mostly on slopes that face the south half of the compass at lower elevations.  Today would be another good day to explore some of those places you’ve always wanted to go as long as you use the normal caution.

Bottom Line (Salt Lake, Park City, Provo, and Ogden mountains):
The avalanche danger is generally LOW, and human triggered avalanches are unlikely on most slopes.  The avalanche danger may rise to MODERATE in the heat of the afternoon on slopes approaching 40 degrees when they get wet and mushy.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings go to: http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/ed-scale.htm

Mountain Weather: (You can find the afternoon Weather Update here.)
Yep, same as it ever was.  Once again, we have some mountaintop-level moisture that will pop up some puffy clouds in the afternoon.  The ridge top winds will remain light from the southeast with ridge top temperatures around freezing and 8,000’ temperatures in the mid to upper 30’s.  On Sunday, a northerly flow should push out the moisture and we should be mostly clear.  Temperatures should be slightly cooler on Sunday.

For the extended forecast, we still don’t see any significant snow for at least another week, so it’s a good time to get caught up on things in the office—are you listening Evelyn, Drew and Brett?   On Tuesday and Wednesday, some short waves will be going by to the east of us and it should make some stronger northwest winds in the mountains.

Yesterday, Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew in White Pine, American Fork and Cascade.  Today they will be in Cardiff, Days, Mineral, Mill Creek, Grizzly, American Fork and Cascade.

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.