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, December 14, 2005 7:30am
Good morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory. Today is Wednesday, December 14, 2005, and its about 7:30 am.

UDOT will be sighting in the howitzer in Provo Canyon tomorrow, Thursday morning, between 11 am and noon. There will be intermittent road closures and temporary restrictions on ice climbing until about 1 pm.

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

Tonight, the UAC staff is giving two free avalanche awareness talks:
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:
A cold front blew through midday yesterday, with strong southwest to westerly winds, dropping a stingy trace to an inch of snow. Behind the front, temperatures are hovering around zero this morning. The northerly winds are averaging 10-15 mph with gusts in the 20s, with faster speeds across the highest peaks. The dusting of snow and wind wont have done too much to fill in the heavily tracked Wasatch, and now there is wind damage along the ridgelines and in open bowls.

Avalanche Conditions:
Yesterday, the winds were whipping the snow around, forming drifts along the ridges, in open bowls and even in the lower drainages and canyon bottoms. One party in the Provo mountains triggered a hard wind slab yesterday morning. It was on a 37 degree, easterly facing slope at 9500. It was about 30 wide and 14 deep, and broke about 10 above the person, who quickly grabbed a tree. The newest wind drifts are sitting on weak snow or hard crusts, and will be sensitive to the weight of a person on steep slopes. The dense wind drifts, known as hard slabs, are particularly tricky, letting you get out onto the slope before breaking above you. They are not candidates for ski or slope cuts, and wind drifts should be avoided on steep slopes.

There also remain a few isolated places where a deeper slide could still be triggered, most likely in pockets on very steep, northerly facing slopes in rocky, shallow snowpack areas.

Bottom Line:
The avalanche danger is MODERATE on steep slopes with recent deposits of wind drifted snow, which will be found on a variety of aspects and elevations. Other slopes have a mostly LOW danger.

Mountain Weather:
A cold, northerly flow will be over the mountains today as high pressure builds in across the Great Basin. Skies will be partly cloudy, with a few snow flurries possible. Highs will be near 20 at 8,000 and near 10 at 10,000. Winds will remain brisk, in the 15 to 20 mph range across the ridges. Clear skies and cool temperatures tonight and Thursday. Then a series of weak systems will move across northern Utah Friday into next week, with the first expected to bring clouds, but not snow.

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 Thursday morning. Thanks for calling.