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.



Wednesday, November 30, 2005  7:00am
Good morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Wednesday, November 30, 2005, and it’s about 7:00 am.

There will be two showings of the new TGR film “Tangerine Dream” at Brewvies tomorrow night, December 1st, at 7 and 9 pm.  This is a fundraiser for the UAC, sponsored by our partner, The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center.  Advance tickets are available at Black Diamond retail or www.FeedTheHabit.com.

Our staff will be giving two free avalanche awareness talks tomorrow night.  One will be at the Sandy REI at 7 pm, the other at Hanson Mountaineering in Provo at 7pm.  Both these talks are great for all ages and all types of recreation.  For a quick glance at avalanche classes in the Salt Lake and Park City area, (Click Here).

Current Conditions:   
Yesterday’s warm front was followed by a cold front that swept through the Salt Lake area around midnight.  Storm totals are about 6” to 10” in the Ogden and Park City mountains, with 8 to 15” reported from the Cottonwoods and Provo area mountains.  Water equivalents are about 1 to 1 ˝ inches, resulting in slabby 12% density snow.  Temperatures shot up briefly to near 30 yesterday, before dropping back into the low teens this morning.  The west to northwesterly winds are generally in the 15 to 25 mph range, with gusts into the 40’s.  Across the most exposed peaks, hourly averages are closer to 45 mph.

Turning and riding conditions may be a bit tricky today in the dense, wind blown snow, especially if you break through into the soft snow beneath.

Avalanche Conditions:
The main avalanche problem today will be the dense new snow, which is sitting on the cold fluff from the Thanksgiving weekend.  On some slopes, the two layers are separated by a patchy rime crust that formed yesterday.  The new snow could be a bit stubborn, but I expect a person’s weight will be able to trigger new snow slab avalanches on steep slopes, especially where wind drifted.  Wind drifts will be both along the ridges, and down off the ridgelines, around terrain features such as gully walls, rock out crops and steep breakovers.

A second problem is the more deeply buried weak facets.  While I expect most of today’s avalanche activity to be new snow only, slides could break down into these facets in isolated areas.  Collapsing or whoomphing sounds are signs you’re in an area where these facets are overloaded, and slides breaking on these facets could easily be 2 to 4’ deep. The facets are most widespread on northwest through easterly facing slopes, above about 9,000’.  Remember, there is still a lot of early season variability in snowpack, and the snow pack changes over very short distances, both across slopes and with elevation, and from drainage to drainage.  So don’t judge one slope by another.

Take a look at the current SNOW PROFILE. 

Bottom Line:
The avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees with recent drifts of wind blown snow.  Considerable means human triggered avalanches are probable and natural avalanches possible.  Other steep slopes have a MODERATE danger. 

Mountain Weather: 
This morning’s lingering snow showers could add an additional 2 to 4” of snow.  The blustery northwest winds will be in the 20 to 35 mph range most of the day, before gradually decreasing this afternoon.  10,000’ temperatures will continue to drop, into the single digits.  Another warm front will move into northern Utah tonight, with strong southwesterly winds.  The moist, mild flow may produce significant snow Thursday, with the rain/snow line near 8,000’.  This will be followed by a Pacific cold front Friday night.



Please report any backcountry snow and avalanche conditions you observe.  We appreciate all information.  You can call (801) 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140, or email to [email protected] or fax to 801-524-6301.  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.

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.)

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

Drew Hardesty will update this advisory Thursday morning.  Thanks for calling.