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

Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Good morning, this is Drew Hardesty with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Tuesday, March 29, 2005, and its 7:30 in the morning.

Current Conditions: 
The mountains are seeing the last gasp of yesterday’s storm which pummeled the Wasatch with initial high snowfall rates and blistering southwesterly winds.  Storm totals are about a foot in the Ogden, Park City and Provo mountains with up to 18” in the Tri-canyon area.  Average densities are about 10%, with last night’s 7-9” coming in at 7-8%.  The strong southwesterly winds blew in the 25-35mph range with the first few hours of snowfall until they veered northwesterly and fell to a more reasonable 15-20mph.  Temperatures fell during the day and at 5am are about 10-15 degrees cooler than this time yesterday.

Avalanche Conditions:
Most of the activity corresponded to the periods of 2-3”/hr snowfall rates and stronger southwesterly winds, with new snow-only soft slabs 8-14” deep and up to 100’ wide.  No avalanches were reported to have stepped into old snow.  Rolling around in my thoughts from yesterday are that the initial warm temperatures allowed the snow to bond fairly well with the old snow surfaces and snow densities fell with the storm. Winds also became less of a problem as they veered to the northwest in the afternoon and despite a few spikes overnight, seem to be on pretty good behavior.  Additionally, time and cooler temperatures likely locked up many of the instabilities from yesterday as well. 

Avalanche problems will still remain along the ridgelines where a couple hours of stronger winds may have produced some sensitive wind slabs along upper elevation steeper south through east facing terrain and other steep pockets where the snow may have been channeled.  In the Provo and Ogden mountains, the initial rain/snow line of 7500’ or more produced a wet layer that then was subsequently buried and insulated.  This mid and low elevation terrain might pose problems as well.  Continue to follow safe travel protocol, such as putting only one person on a steep slope at a time, jump on test slopes, drop cornices, and dig down into the snow to confirm or refute your suspicions.


Bottom Line (Salt Lake and Park City, Ogden and Provo mountains)
The avalanche danger this morning is MODERATE today on slopes 35 degrees and steeper with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.  If the sun pokes through today, the danger of wet activity will rise to MODERATE on the steep sun-exposed slopes.

Danger Scale: 

Mountain Weather:
(You can find the afternoon Weather Update here.)
The mountains may see a few lingering instability showers this morning, but it should be a lull day ahead of tonight’s monster.  8000’ highs will be in the mid-twenties with 10,000’ temps in the mid-teens.  The northwesterly winds will start to back to the southwest and be in the 15-20mph range along the high peaks, but should pick up by late afternoon.  The next Pacific storm should start affecting the Wasatch late this afternoon, lasting into Thursday morning.  Areas favored by a northwest flow should see another 16-24” by then. 

If they get out today, the Powderbird guides will be in Silver, Cardiff, and Days Fork.


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.

Evelyn Lees will update this advisory by 7:30 on Wednesday morning.

Thanks for calling.