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 Information

Friday, April 22, 2005  7:30 pm
Good evening, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Friday, April 22, 2005, and its 7:30 pm.  We’ll issue intermittent afternoon updates as conditions change until around the end of April.  

Current Conditions: 
Tuesday’s 12 to 18 inches of powder got a blast of heat, and widespread sluffing of the new snow occurred on steep slopes of most aspects and at most elevations.  While the new snow hasn’t gone through enough melt-freeze cycles to be true corn, surface crusts will probably be supportable for a short time Saturday morning, especially if skies are partially clear Friday night. 

Mountain Weather:
Friday night will be partly cloudy and warm, with both 8,000 and 10,000’ temperatures near or just above freezing.  Then a mild southerly flow will bring increasing moisture into the area on Saturday, with a Pacific storm moving in Saturday night, and lingering through Monday.  Increasing clouds Saturday, with 8,000’ highs in the upper 50’s and 10,000’ highs in the mid 30’s.  Winds will be from the south, in the 20 to 35 mph range.  3 to 6” of snow are possible Saturday night, with additional accumulations on Sunday.  Temperatures will gradually cool into the mid 20’s at 10,000’.  Snow totals by Monday afternoon will be in the 6 to 12” range.

Avalanche Information:
The main concern for the weekend will be wet sluffs, mostly confined to this past week’s snow.  So timing and aspect are the two words that sum it up for anyone heading into the backcountry this weekend.  With a warm night Friday, a very early start on Saturday is advised.  As the day heats up, pay close attention to the snow, and change aspect or head home when the snow gets wet and sloppy.  On Saturday, I expect mid and upper elevation northerly facing slopes to be particularly active, in addition to sunnier slopes.  So don’t let a wet sluff catch you in the wrong place – such as in continuously steep terrain where you could go for a long ride, above a cliff, or in a terrain trap such as a gully, where the snow could pile up deeply. As the snow heats up on Saturday, human triggered avalanches will be probable on steep slopes of all aspects, and natural avalanches possible. 

On Sunday, watch for sluffing of the newest snow, especially in wind drifted areas.  Both the temperatures and the old snow will cool rather slowly, so it could be possible to trigger slides into damp old snow on Sunday, resulting in a larger slide.  So do quick hand pits and pole jabs to help determine how consolidated or frozen the older snow is.

If you run across anything we should know about, 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.

We’ll update this forecast as conditions warrant, and thanks for calling.