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.



Tuesday, January 03, 20067:30am
Good morning, this is Brett Kobernik with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.Today is Tuesday, January 03, 2006, and itís about 7:30 am.

UDOT will be doing avalanche control work in Big Cottonwood, Little Cottonwood and Provo Canyon today.There will be intermittent road closures in all Canyons and restrictions to ice climbing in Provo Canyon.People need to stay out of terrain near Kessler, Argenta and Stairs Gulch.Little Cottonwood is currently closed.


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Current Conditions:

One more period of intense snow this morning will keep the avalanche danger on the rise at least for a few more hours.Many of our remote weather stations are currently down but it appears that temperatures are cooling in the mountains with ridgetop temperatures down into the mid to low 20s.Ridgetop winds slowed down a bit from yesterday but are still blowing in the 20 to 30 mph range from the west.


Avalanche Conditions:

Monday was another active day with human triggered, explosive triggered, and natural avalanches.At least one report of natural activity from near Brighton included a fracture line 6 feet deep.A skier in Days fork was able to trigger two avalanches breaking 1 to 2 feet deep.Snow safety teams at the ski resorts and highways all had their hands full with lots of avalanche activity, some of which was significant.


All the indicators should be obvious.Upper elevations have had around 7 feet of snow containing around 7 inches or better of water since Thursday, December 29th.Strong winds have transported a lot of this snow into very large drifts which have been active over the last few days producing very large and deadly avalanches.(Photos from Sunday)An intense period of snow along with significant winds currently happening at many mountain locations is making the avalanche danger increase.Every snow safety worker Iíve talked to is gearing up for another active day and no backcountry traveler I know wants anything to do with toying around in upper elevation wind loaded terrain.Partial clearing today will entice some people into steeper terrain but wise people who want to be in the mountains for the long haul are giving the snowpack some time to stabilize.Youíll be able to get on to steeper terrain soon enough, its best not to push it today.


Preliminary accident report from Timpanogos can be found here.



Bottom Line:

The avalanche danger is HIGH today especially in upper elevation wind loaded terrain.Human triggered avalanches have the potential to be very large and unsurvivable.With these large avalanches likely, you need to stay out of runout zones as these slides could travel thousands of feet in elevation.People without excellent avalanche and route finding skills are urged to stay out of the high country today.


Mountain Weather:

The period of intense snow will taper off this morning after putting down an additional 4 to 6 inches.Ridgetop winds will be in the 20 to 30 mph range from the west and decreasing as the day goes on.Ridgetop temperatures will continue to drop and will bottom out in the upper teens to low twenties.Another small storm is now scheduled for tonight and into Wednesday which will push the short period of high pressure off for a day.This next storm wonít bring significant snowfall.


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

Click here for Seasonal Weather History Charts.

Yesterday, Wasatch Powderbird Guides were grounded due to bad weather.If they can get out today, theyíll be in Cardiff, Days, Silver, Grizzly and American Fork. For more info, call 742-2800.

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.

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