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

Monday, March 28, 2005
Good morning, this is Bruce Tremper with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Monday, March 28, 2005, and its 7:30 in the morning.

Current Conditions:
We have typical spring weather: if you donít like it, wait 5 minutes. As our next storm approaches, the ridge top winds are howling 40mph gusting to 65.Ridge top temperatures stayed very warm overnight and they are around freezing.The intense sun and warm temperatures over the weekend made mashed potatoes out of the snow and most everything has a breakable crust this morning except for some patches of powder on the upper elevation, straight north facing slopes.

Avalanche Conditions:
We snuck through the Easter weekend without any avalanche fatalities.Since Friday, there were a total of 13 people involved in avalanches, 10 or those were caught in 3 incidents, there were three serious injuries and luckily no fatalities.In the latest incident, Sunday morning a group of four was booting up Cardiff Bowl a backcountry area north of Alta when they triggered a 4-foot deep hard slab that caught all of them with one person buried to her waist, another one suffered some bruises but they were all OK.It was on a northeast facing, 45 degree slope at 9,900í.It broke 4 feet deep and about 70 feet wide.The slab was the new snow from this past week sliding on the old, hard snow from earlier in the month with some weak faceted snow both on top and underneath the crust as the weak layer.See PHOTOS.

We worried about wet avalanches over the weekend, but luckily cooler temperatures and clouds on Saturday and a cooling wind on Sunday kept wet activity to mainly widespread wet sluffing (PHOTO on Raymond Peak by Matt Jesperson) with only a few wet slabs reported, the largest on the west face of Mt.Timpanogos about 4 feet deep and 400 feet wide.

But hey, all that is so last-weekend.We have another snowy week ahead with the next storm starting today.The nukiní ridge top winds from the southwest this morning will create localized deposits of both soft and hard wind slabs, mostly along the upper elevation ridges.Then, the snow should start in earnest around mid day and give us perhaps a foot of dense snow by Tuesday morning and perhaps another couple feet by Thursday morning.I expect that this first round of snow will bond fairly well to the old snow surface since itís very warm this morning.But as always, you will need to test it throughout the day.Since itís right at the surface itís easy to jump on test slopes and dig down with your hand and cut out little blocks and pull on them to see how well the new snow is bonded.

Bottom Line (Salt Lake and Park City, Ogden and Provo mountains)
The avalanche danger this morning is MODERATE today on any slope with recent wind deposits and the danger of soft slabs within the new snow will likely rise to MODERATE later in the day as the snow accumulates.

Danger Scale:

Mountain Weather:
(You can find the afternoon Weather Update here.)
Iím expecting about 8 inches of fairly dense snow today with a foot on the ground by Tuesday morning.Ridge top winds will die down later today to 25 from the west.Ridge top temperatures will cool from near freezing this morning to about 25 by tonight.Then, we will have a bit of a lull on Tuesday with the next, stronger and colder wave hitting us on Tuesday night through Thursday with perhaps another couple feet of snow.

The Powderbird guides were in American Fork and the Session Mountains yesterday and most likely will not fly today.


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.

Drew Hardesty will update this advisory by 7:30 on Tuesday morning.

Thanks for calling.