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, March 06, 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 March 6, 2005, and its 7:30 in the morning.

Current Conditions:
It’s like that Far Side cartoon where the Eskimo walks out of the igloo and reports to those back inside that ‘yup, it’s still cold’.  Yup, it’s still clear and warm.  With a weak system moving through to the north and east of us, the winds picked up last night out of the northwest and are 10-15mph along the highest ridges and should increase in speed by this afternoon and tonight.  Temperatures are in the teens and low twenties. 

Avalanche Conditions:
There were three human triggered avalanches in the backcountry yesterday and one large natural 4-5’ deep by 130’ wide glide avalanche (photo 2) in Broad’s Fork, a sub-drainage of BCC.  One skier in upper Coalpit Headwall kicked off a 5” deep by 10’ wide rogue wind pocket that normally wouldn’t be problematic except for the unsettling consequences of losing one’s footing in such an area.  Fortunately, he was not caught, which was not the luck of a skier who took a 300’ ride in mid-Toledo Chute in LCC.  Triggering the wet sluff at 2:30pm, she managed to avoid being buried or seriously injured.  The last slide was in the Emma Ridges on a southeast facing slope at 9600’, also in the late afternoon.  This wet slab or corn-slab was reported to be a foot deep and 75’ wide and we’re hoping to get more details today.   With impressive glide cracks in Stairs, Broad’s, Mill B, and Cardiff, it stands to reason that with warming temperatures, intermittent green-housing and light winds that one would pull out.  Sustained melting and increased glide over the smooth rock slabs would indicate that other full depth slides may be expected as well.   

Like most things in life, timing is everything.  Wet activity spikes by midday into the afternoon, so folks descending or recreating on the sunny aspects should start to travel on or below lower angled terrain.  On the other side of the coin, while the probability and size of finding a rogue wind pocket is LOW, your terrain can make the consequences EXTREME. 

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 will 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.)
Clear and sunny.  Temperatures along the ridges will be in the upper twenties with 8000’ highs just above 40.  Winds will start to increase into the 20mph range from the northwest in the afternoon.  A few weak storms passing to the north this week may bring a few clouds and a bump in wind speed, but that’s about it.  The longer range models suggest a pattern change for next weekend. 

Yesterday, Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew in Mineral, Cardiff, Days, Silver, Grizzly, AF, and Cascade.  Today they will be in the Sessions, American Fork and Cascade.  Unfortunately, snowmobilers apparently coming in from Tibble Fork have been entering into the protected watershed of White Pine in LCC.  As a friendly reminder, this area is off limits to snowmachines.

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.