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Monday, April 11, 2005 2pm
Good afternoon, this is Drew Hardesty with the Forest
A ridge of high pressure will hold over the state through late Tuesday with a warming trend and increased southwesterly winds preceding the next dry cold front, slated for Wednesday night. The ridgetop winds should pick up early tomorrow into the 20-25mph range, increasing to 40+ by Wednesday. The warming trend pushes 10,000’ temps to near 40 by Wednesday. Another weak system is possible for Friday before clearing out for the weekend.
Yesterday’s main news centered on a skier falling through a cornice on the Thunder Ridge into Hogum fork, the last major drainage into lower Little Cottonwood Canyon. While I’d characterize this as more of a mountaineering accident, it reinforces the point that, at this point anyway, the consequences of triggering a sluff or shallow slab will be determined by the terrain that you’re in. In this case, he fell 1500’ or so down the face, over some cliff bands, and onto a lower angled slope. Fortunately, his party was able to get to him, alert Wasatch Backcountry Rescue, and have a ship brought in.
For the next couple of days, watch for increasing wet activity that will be more pronounced on the sunny slopes and the mid and low elevations where a superficial refreeze caps a layer of mostly unconsolidated wet slurpee-like grains. Just poke your ski pole or fist through the ephemeral crust to feel the saturated glop beneath. It’ll be more problematic in the next day or two with clear skies and soaring temperatures. Collapses are sure signs to head to a different aspect or lower angled terrain. With wet activity, timing will be everything: once things become unsupportable or you’re seeing wet activity, it’ll be time to move to a cooler aspect or the car. Also, if you’re traveling in the higher elevations, watch for new isolated drifts of wind blown snow with the increasing southwesterly winds.
The Wasatch Powderbirds will be flying until April 15th.
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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.
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