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.

 

The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center Home page is: http://www.utahavalanchecenter.com

To receive automated e-mails of this advisory click HERE.

Avalanche advisory

Friday, March 25, 2005
Good morning, this is Bruce Tremper with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is
Friday, March 25, 2005, and its 7:30 in the morning.

UDOT COTTONWOOD CANYONS HOTLINE FOR ROAD CLOSURE AND AVALANCHE CONTROL INFORMATION: 975-4838.

In Provo Canyon, the county road and bypass are closed from Bridalveil parking lot to Frasier Park due to avalanche danger.

Weekend Warrior Update:
This past week we have been hit with our fifth large snowstorm of the winter with up to 70 inches of new snow and nearly 7 inches of water weight since last Saturday.The new snow fell on top of a very hard, solid base, so most of the avalanches have been running on the old snow surface or as soft slabs or wind slabs within the new snow.Before the storm, there was some weak faceted snow on the steep, north facing, wind sheltered slopes, and people have experienced collapses on these slopes and occasional slides breaking on this layer.Heads up for the weekend: we expect dramatic warming with sun and we should have a rapidly rising danger of wet avalanches this weekend.

Current Conditions:
Overnight, almost no snow fell because the ridge top winds are too weak to push the moist air up the mountains.Yesterday about five inches fell during the day.Ridge top winds are very light from the south with ridge top temperatures in the mid teens. The powder is good, but a bit dense above 9,500í but itís pretty manky at lower elevations and there is a thin sun crust on sun exposed slopes.

Avalanche Conditions:
Yesterday there was a couple close calls.In a very active avalanche day in the Ogden area mountains, an out-of-bounds skier south of Snowbasin triggered a soft slab at 8,200í north facing slope and he was buried with just his hand barely sticking out, which was very lucky because he didnít have a beacon.His friends dug him out without injuries. Many of the Ogden-area avalanches have been running on a layer of graupel. Also, yesterday, a skier triggered an avalanche on southeast-facing Cardiff Bowl in Little Cottonwood Canyon and he was not caught.Also, yesterday, daytime heating triggered an avalanche on south facing Superior that ran full track.Most of the activity yesterday occurred because more dense snow was deposited on top of lighter snow from Wednesday and some were triggered by daytime heating.Cornices are sensitive (PHOTO) and occasional lurking avalanche dragons (PHOTO).


Without any snow or wind overnight, I suspect that many of the instabilities within the new snow will have settled out but there has been a huge amount of weight added to the snowpack this past week and I just donít trust the deeper weak layers, especially on north facing slopes.Also, the winds should pick up from the northwest this afternoon with perhaps another 6 inches of snow and more tonight, so it will probably keep things interesting.When you are out today, be sure to jump on test slopes, kick cornices (See photos of a cornice kicking lesson) and dig down with your hand to see how well the new snow is bonded to underlying layers.Also, continue to follow all your safe travel practices like one at a time and doing slope cuts.

Heads up for the weekend: We should have a strong warming with sun this weekend and this will almost certainly create widespread areas of wet avalanches with dramatically rising avalanche danger.This weekend, you definitely need to stay off of and out from underneath steep slopes, especially when they get wet and soggy.

Bottom Line (Salt Lake and Park City, Ogden and Provo mountains)
The avalanche danger remains CONSIDERABLE on slopes approaching 35 degrees or steeper, especially with recent deposits of wind drifted snow, especially those shady slopes facing northwest through east.Other steep slopes have a MODERATE danger. Any steep slope receiving direct sun today the danger will rise to CONSIDERABLE.

This weekend, the avalanche danger will likely rise to HIGH.

Danger Scale:
http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/ed-scale.htm

Mountain Weather:
(You can find the afternoon Weather Update here.)
Moist air should keep clouds around the mountains today and ridge top winds should pick up by afternoon from the northwest, which should give us 6 inches of snow this afternoon and tonight.At 8,000í it should get into the upper 20ís.Ridge top temperatures will cool to around 10 degrees by Saturday morning.On Saturday ridge top temperatures will rapidly rise from 10 degrees in the morning to near freezing by Sunday.Combined with clear skies and sunshine, it will create widespread wet avalanche activity.On Sunday and Monday, temperatures will continue to rise with some high clouds.Then we will have yet another snow storm Monday night through about Thursday.

The Powderbird guides did not get out yesterday, and probably will not get out today, but if they do will be in Cardiff, Days, Silver and Grizzly.

Snowbird Mountain Resort will be holding a free BEACON AND EGGS Easter transceiver hunt this Saturday March 26.Contestants will compete for prizes, including a season pass for the 05/06 season.For more information, go to www.snowbird.com/events/events/beaconandeggs.html.

If you are getting out, we appreciate your snowpack and avalanche observations.Please call and leave a message at 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140, or e-mail us at [email protected].Fax is 524-6301.

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.

Brett Kobernik will update our early morning avalanche activity report by around 5:30 am on Saturday morning at 364-1591, and this advisory by 7:30.

Thanks for calling.