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 12, 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 12, 2005, and its 7:30 in the morning.

Current Conditions:
All week, the backcountry has felt like a jilted lover as everyone seems to be more interested in dusting off the golf clubs and bicycles.  But yesterday morning there was a good, refreeze of the snow at elevations above about 8,000’ making for absolutely superb corn snow on the sunny aspects and there’s still lots of soft, recrystallized snow on the wind and sun sheltered slopes that feel just like powder, even though it’s been three weeks since we’ve had any significant snow.  The biggest challenge is finding slopes without tracks, so today would be another good day to go exploring new, creative places…but you’ll need to get at it early.

Overnight, ridge top winds have picked up and are blowing 30 gusting to 40 on the exposed ridges.  The winds are getting down to lower elevations too, which is stirring up the temperature inversions in the mountain valleys, resulting in 4-8 degree warmer temperatures this morning than yesterday morning.  Even on the ridge tops the temperatures are about 4 degrees warmer than yesterday morning and most upper elevation ridges are in the upper 20’s.  With the clear skies overnight, the snow surface has probably refrozen above 8,000’ but it’s probably a thin refreeze that won’t last long.

Avalanche Conditions:
Although the snow is mostly stable today, there’s a couple different avalanche problems you will need to deal with today.  First, the warm temperatures and sun will create localized wet sluffs and wet slabs again today especially at elevations below about 8,500’.  As always, you should get off of and out from underneath any steep slopes when they get wet and sloppy from sun or warm temperatures.  (If you’re headed to the Logan area mountains, you should realize that they have much more lower elevation snow, so there and it’s much more dangerous for wet sluffs and slabs at lower elevations.)

The second avalanche problem is the strong ridgetop winds have created localized areas of wind slabs.  As always, you should avoid any steep slope with recent deposits of wind drifted snow, which you will find mostly on east facing slopes along the ridges.

Bottom Line (Salt Lake, Park City, Ogden and Provo mountains):
The avalanche danger is generally LOW this morning, and will rise to MODERATE with daytime heating on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees and especially at elevations below about 8,500’.  Both wet loose sluffs and wet slab avalanches are possible.  Stay off of and out from underneath all steep slopes when they get wet and soggy.  There is also a MODERATE danger on any slope steeper than about 35 degrees with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.

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.)
Today will be the last day to enjoy the warm temperatures and great corn snow.  We have a mostly dry cold front coming out of Canada that will arrive on Sunday, which will cool the temperatures down by 10-20 degrees and give us a slight chance of snow, mostly on Sunday and Monday.  In the mean time, today we will have increasing high clouds this afternoon with continued strong ridge top winds from the west blowing 30 and gusting to near 50.  Ridge top temperatures will be near freezing with 8,000’ temperatures once again near 50 degrees and cool into the teens overnight.

The extended forecast calls for another disturbance in a northerly flow on about Thursday, but once again, it looks quite dry because it’s coming straight out of Canada.

Yesterday, Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew in American Fork and Cascade Ridge near Provo.  Today they will operate in the same areas plus the possibility of Cardiff, Days, Silver, Mineral and Grizzly.

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.