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, December 12, 2005  7:30am
Good morning, this is Drew Hardesty with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Monday, December 12, 2005, and it’s about 7:30 am.

Between 10am-2pm, UDOT will be sighting in their artillery for the Kessler, Argenta, and Stairs Gulch avalanche paths in Big Cottonwood Canyon.  Please avoid these areas during this time. 

The beacon locator park at Snowbird is now open and free to the public.  It’s sponsored by Wasatch Backcountry Rescue and Snowbird and located just off the bypass road in upper Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Upcoming avalanche awareness talks by the UAC staff include:
Dec 13  7 pm            REI, 3285 E, 3300 S, SLC
Dec 14  6:30 pm       Mountain High Motorsports, 8262 S Redwood Rd, West Jordan
Dec 14  7 pm            Wasatch Mtn Club: South Valley Unitarian, 6876 S Highland Dr. 

Current Conditions:   
The inversion has overnight lows along the high ridgelines in the upper twenties, while lower mountain elevations chill in the low teens.  Winds are light and variable.  Folks are riding every imaginable line with impunity and finding good turning conditions in the growing surface hoar and recrystallized powder on the shady slopes.

Avalanche Conditions:
Ho-hum weather makes for ho-hum avalanche conditions.  It’s been four days since backcountry skiers triggered the last rogue wind drift and nearly a week since the last storm and accompanying ephemeral instability.  The somewhat unstable structure remains, but the snowpack has gained strength and lost all its energy.  Whoomphing/collapsing is so last-week, and stability tests show the snowpack has adjusted nicely.  Bruce likens it to a sleeping cat, while others describe it as a limp rubber band.  Still, while you’re out there, avoid steep rocky/thin areas and continue to follow safe travel protocol. 

Today’s recrystallized and loud (see “surface hoar”, above) powder is tomorrow’s weak layer.  Tomorrow’s storm looks like more of a brush-by at most, but a couple inches may well bury, preserve, and insulate (thanks to the Sawtooth NF AC) these weak surface layers for the next big event.

Bottom Line:
The avalanche danger is mostly LOW today.  With daytime heating, it may be possible to trigger a few wet sluffs on the steep sun exposed slopes.

Mountain Weather (updated by noon daily): 
We’ll see sunny skies with daytime highs in the mid to upper 30’s at 8000’ and near freezing at 10,000’.  Winds will be light from the south.  A quick moving storm will clip northern Utah, with the mountains picking up a couple inches at best.  The cold front should be enough to clear out the inversion, and drop mountain temps into the low teens.


Regional Snow Profile (this profile can also be found daily off our home page under avalanche products)

Seasonal Weather History Charts.

Please report any backcountry snow and avalanche conditions you observe.  Call (801) 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140, email [email protected] or fax 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.)

UDOT also has a highway avalanche control work hotline for Little Cottonwood road, which is updated as needed. 801-975-4838.

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

Brett Kobernik will update this advisory by 7:30 Tuesday morning.  Thanks for calling.