Wasatch Cache National Forest
In partnership with: Utah Division of State Parks and Recreation, The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, Utah Department of Emergency Services and Homeland Security and Salt Lake County.



Monday, November 14, 2005  5pm
Good afternoon, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather bulletin.  Today is Monday, November 14th, and it’s about 4pm. 

The annual report for 2004-05 is now on the web. (Click HERE, 8mb)

Current Conditions:   
The weather forecast verified nicely, and as of 3 pm, 8 to 12” of new snow had fallen at the mid and upper elevations of the Cottonwoods and Park City mountains, with about 5 to 10” inches in the Ogden and Provo mountains.  The rain/snow line is well below 7,000’.  Unfortunately, the strong wind speeds also verified, first blasting from the west and now from a more northerly direction.  Sustained averages were 25 to 45 mph across the higher ridges, with tree snapping gusts from 60 to over 100 mph.   

This shot of dense, graupel filled snow is just what the base needed, and the total snow depth at 9,500’ is now edging toward 2 feet in the Salt Lake and Park City mountains.  Throughout the range, you generally need to get above 8,500 feet to have decent coverage.

Avalanche Discussion:
New snow and strong winds are the perfect formula for avalanches.  Today, there were two human triggered slides on northwest facing High Rustler at the unopened Alta resort.  One was about 18” deep by 30’ wide, widened to about 60’ and ran down almost to the cat track.   Both were in wind drifted areas, and failed above a buried ice crust.  If you’re heading out on Tuesday or Wednesday, it will still be possible to trigger sensitive wind drifts within the new snow and slides that break deeper, failing near the ice crust.  Strong winds complicate the loading pattern.  They can either scour or deposit along the ridge crests and they often drift snow lower on slopes, and around terrain features such as gully walls and sub ridges.  Wind drifts may be pockety in nature and tricky to identify, so keep a sharp look out tomorrow and Wednesday.

It’s not too early in the season to get caught in a slide, so think avalanches, cross and descend steep slopes one at a time, and make sure you have your beacon, shovel and probe.  If you do go for a ride, your chance of being injured by slamming into a rock may be more likely than getting buried.   Finally, remember that the resorts are not open, not doing control work, and must be treated as backcountry. 

Mountain Weather: 
The strong, upper level system across northern Utah will depart overnight.  Snowfall will taper off this evening, with another 2 to 5” possible.  The northerly winds will also decrease, into the 15 to 25 mph range, and 8,000’ temperatures will be near 10.  Clearing skies on Wednesday, with highs in the mid 20’s and northerly winds less than 15 mph.  Then high pressure will build in and remain across the region through the end of the week.

We will update this advisory as conditions warrant.  Stay tuned.   

Click HERE for a season history chart by month.

To have this advisory automatically e-mailed to you each day, click HERE.  (You must re-sign up this season even if you were on the list last season.)

We are looking for feed back on our MOCK-UP of our new advisory format.  Let us know what you think!  http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/newadvisory

Thanks for calling.