Wasatch Cache National Forest
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Avalanche Information

Friday, April 29, 2005  4:30 pm
Good afternoon, this is Bruce Tremper with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Friday, April 29, 2005, and its 4:30 pm.  We’ll issue intermittent afternoon updates as conditions change until around the end of April.  

Current Conditions: 
Six inches of 12 percent water content snow fell yesterday afternoon and night above 9,000’ in the Cottonwood Canyons.  This added to the six inches of snow from Wednesday night, which had settled out and was damp in most places.  Even though there is about a foot of new snow, trail breaking is easy and you stay on top quite well.  Temperatures cooled down to around 20 on the ridge tops this morning and warmed up to 25 by mid day.  There was enough sun today to turn the new snow into mashed potatoes on most of the sun exposed slopes but I still found nice, dry powder on the north facing slopes above 10,000’ today.  If you’re getting out on Saturday, you should get at it early because if the sun comes out, it can quickly finish everything off.

Mountain Weather:
We are expecting just scattered, light snow showers later this evening, then mostly cloudy with scattered showers for both Saturday and Sunday with snow accumulations 2-4 inches each day.  But as usual in the spring, the sun should poke though the clouds at times.   Ridge top winds should blow 20 from the northwest tonight and on Saturday with ridgetop temperatures in the mid 20’s with the day time high in the upper 30’s down at 8,000’.  Sunday, ridge top winds will be light and variable with ridge top temperatures in the upper 20’s with the 8,000’ temperature near 40.

The extended forecast calls for continued cool, unsettled weather for the next 10 days or so.  We should get a bit of a bit of a break on Wednesday, then another storm for next weekend.

Avalanche Information:
Most of the new snow seemed to be stuck in fairly well and the only avalanche activity I could see today was some damp sluffs within the new snow on steep, sun exposed slopes and there were also some pockets of soft, wind slabs up high along the ridges.  Both of these problems were fairly easy to deal with since everything is so close to the surface.   So, as usual, check how the new snow is behaving by jumping on test slopes, doing slope cuts and simply digging down with your hand.  Also, as always, you should avoid any steep slope with recent deposits of wind drifted snow. 

And most important, when the strong, spring sun shines on all this new snow, it will almost certainly create some widespread damp to wet sluffs on all the slopes approaching 40 degrees or steeper.  Stay off of and out from underneath steep slopes when starts beating down on them.  

Since we are operating on a reduced staff and there’s not much information coming in this time of year, we won’t issue any avalanche danger ratings.  

Finally, remember that with the exception of Snowbird, all the ski resorts are closed for the season and they are not doing any avalanche control.  So you need to treat them like the backcountry and follow the usual safe-travel ritual, like one-at-a-time, don’t travel above other people and get out of the way at the bottom.

We will probably end our avalanche advisories for the season after this weekend.

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.