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 19, 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 19, 2005, and it’s about 7:30 am.

We are giving two free avalanche awareness talks next week:
Dec 20th        7pm    Wasatch Touring, SLC
Dec 21st         7pm    Wanship Fire Station

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.

Current Conditions:   
The mountains from Ogden to Provo picked up another 6-10” overnight, pushing storm totals to 20” in the Cottonwoods, 12” in the Provo and Park City mountains, and over 2’ in the Ogden mountains.  Mid-elevations have a foot or more of new as well.  Yesterday’s white smoke measured in at 3% before densities doubled and even tripled with the warming trend overnight.   Mountain temperatures are 10-15 degrees warmer than this time yesterday as 10,000’ and 8,000’ temps are in the mid and upper-twenties.  Winds spiked with the wind shift to the northwest and have averaged 15-20 with gusts near 30 for the past couple hours. 

Avalanche Conditions:
Widespread sluffing and pockets of soft slab comprised the bulk of yesterday’s activity in the low density snow.  Most remarked that the feathers were so light that you’d have to be lying down and prone to be buried and then a sneeze would uncover you.  It’ll be a different ballgame today.  It’s textbook.  Continued snowfall?  Check.  Rising temperatures and increasing densities?  Check.  Increased winds along the ridges?  Check.  I’m expecting natural sluffing and soft slab activity this morning that will be most pronounced along the highest elevation east facing ridgelines.  I also expect slabs of up to two feet to be sensitive to triggering, running both within the new snow and at the old snow interface on a wide range of aspects.  Travelers at the mid-elevations should exercise more caution with the foot or more falling on a weaker snow surface.  Slope cuts, cornice drops, and test slopes will be excellent indicators today.     

Bottom Line:
The avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE on any mid and upper elevation slopes steeper than 35 degrees.   Human triggered and localized natural avalanches are probable.  The danger will be more pronounced in the higher elevations that have seen some drifting for the past few hours of winds. 

Mountain Weather: 
We’ll see another 2-4” of higher density snow today before become showery and mostly cloudy by early afternoon.  Ridgetop temps will be in the mid-twenties while 8000’ temps will be near freezing.  Winds will be 15-20 mph from the northwest.  Another moist system moves in tonight.

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

Seasonal Weather History Charts.

Yesterday, Wasatch Powderbird Guides didn’t get out due to weather.  If they can get out today, they’ll be in AF, Cascade and the Park City circuit.  For more info, call 742-2800.

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 Tuesday morning.  Thanks for calling.