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.

 

AVALANCHE ADVISORY

Thursday, December 15, 2005 7:30am
Good morning, this is Brett Kobernik with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory. Today is Thursday, December 15, 2005, and its about 7:30 am.

UDOT will be sighting in the howitzer in Provo Canyon today. 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.

Current Conditions:
Current temperatures at most mountain locations are around 10 degrees and wind speeds are generally less then 10 mph from the northwest.

Avalanche Conditions:
You have to be pretty cagey to find decent snow and untracked terrain in the Wasatch but it is still possible. Unfortunately, it is not very abundant since the winds from Tuesday really did a number on the snow surface. These winds also contributed to some wind drifts which may still be sensitive to the weight of a person. While most of these drifts seem to stay in place, I dont trust all of them and Im giving them some more time before I get on them especially in areas where I am exposed to rocks or trees below.

Since there is not a lot going on avalanche wise, our attention shifts to the snow surface and what it will be like when we start adding snow on top of it. Lots of areas have recrystalized snow on the surface which can make for a weak layer once it is buried. Also, the recent skiff of light density snow that we received could be prone to quick faceting which would also add weakness once buried. If youre getting out in the mountains, it would be wise to mentally inventory the pattern where this weakness is for future storms. Look for sugary snow or loud powder forming on the surface. Also, keep in mind that there are a variety of crusts that could provide a good bed surface for avalanches to slide on. Give us a call or e-mail us and let us know where you are finding these conditions.

Bottom Line:
For today most slopes have a LOW danger. Since isolated sensitive wind drifts might still be found today, a MODERATE danger exists on slopes steeper then 35 degrees along the upper ridgelines and generally on north through southeast facing slopes.

Mountain Weather:
Today well see mostly clear skies with ridgetop temperatures in the upper teens. Ridgetop winds will be from a northerly direction generally less then 10 mph.

 

On Friday well see increasing clouds in front of another storm that will brush by the area bringing another small chance of minor snow accumulation. Wind speeds will not be as strong with this storm as they were with the last.

 

A series of weak systems will affect the area into next week with a larger system shaping up for late in the week.

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

Seasonal Weather History Charts.

Wasatch Powderbird Guides start operations today and will be in Mineral Fork, Cardiff Fork, Silver Fork, Days Fork and American Fork.

We appreciate 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)

Bruce Tremper will update this advisory by 7:30 Friday morning. Thanks for calling.