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

Saturday, April 30, 2005  8 pm
Good evening, this is Drew Hardesty with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather information.  Today is Saturday, April 30, 2005, and it’s 8 pm.  This will be our last “current conditions” update and we’ll have our Spring Tips report out early in the week.

Current Conditions: 
Another inch or two fell Friday night above 8000’ with little more than a few flurries during the day today.  At least in the Central Wasatch, it’s all settled out to about a foot or so out of the drifted and scoured terrain.  Backcountry riding conditions for May 1st (!) will still be pretty darn good above about 10,000’.  Below this elevation, it gets pretty damp and manky. 

Avalanche Information:
It’s a good news/bad news sort of thing. The relatively warm temperatures and a day of settlement in the high density snow helped to seal off the wind drift problems from yesterday, but today’s stronger northwesterly winds created some new isolated wind drifts in exposed upper elevation terrain.  It’s likely that most of these will have settled out by Sunday, but if you’re touring in the higher elevations, keep an eye out for these new drifts and take some precautions in determining how well they’re glued in.  Often if you don’t like the weather in spring, wait five minutes.  If and when the sun is finally able to poke through, the danger of wet sluffs and slabs will rise dramatically on the sun-exposed slopes. 

Of significant interest is the recent activity pulling out into damp, unconsolidated melt-freeze grains 10-30” beneath the recent dry snow.  This type of layering can be found at most elevations and on all aspects but true north.  These unconsolidated grains, capped by a crust of varying thickness, failed to lock up due to poor refreezes and are now insulated by the new snow.   At least three slides have pulled out into this layering in the last three days, triggered either by another avalanche from above (East Castle at Altanortheast aspect at 10,700’) or from possibly increased warming (below Kessler Peak in Cardiff Fork southeast aspects at around 9500’).  These types of avalanches will be more pronounced with a spike in temperature and solar radiation and may still be triggered by other slides coming down from above.

Mountain Weather:
We’ll have continued showers tonight and tomorrow with accumulations of a trace to three inches by the afternoon.  Winds will be light and easterly tonight and tomorrow.  Ridgetop temps will be in the mid-twenties tonight and tomorrow with 8000’ highs in the low to mid-thirties.  The mid-range outlook keeps us in a cool unsettled pattern for the next week or so.  We might get a bit of a break mid-week with a weak storm lined up for the weekend.

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.

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.

Thanks for calling.