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, February 06, 2006  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, February 06, 2006, and it’s about 7:30 am.


Current Conditions:

Skies are clear and winds, thankfully, have become light except for the most exposed ridgelines, where they’re blowing 20mph from the northwest.  With the ridge building, temperatures are on the upswing, as some stations show an 8-13F degree gain since midnight.  Wind affected snow seems spotty and exclusive to the highest ridgelines, but otherwise with today’s bluebird, you’ll be riding into the mystic.


Avalanche Conditions:

Ski area control teams pulled out a few localized soft slabs up to 12” deep on the steep north through east lee slopes.  Other than some minor sluffing in the light density new snow, folks in the backcountry couldn’t buy an avalanche.  In the Logan mountains on Saturday, a ski party heard a loud whoomph as they remotely triggered a slide into faceted snow 1-2’ deep and 200’ wide on a mid-elevation south to southeast slope.


Today’s wild card will be the rapid rise in temperatures combined with the first day of intense solar radiation in over a week.  A rapid rise in temperatures, especially on the first day, has a two-pronged effect on the mechanics of the snowpack.  First, it starts to make the honey flow a bit faster by decreasing its viscosity, allowing the snow to ‘creep’ downhill a bit faster.  This can unduly strain the bonds between different layers of snow, particularly if a persistent weak layer is present.  Secondly, a warmer slab softens up, effectively turning what used to be a cold sheet of plywood into a warm floppy mattress.  We’re able to impact buried weak layers through this softening, which may lead to increased probability of human triggering.  Cornices, the welded-in wind slabs from the past couple of days, and a few isolated pockets of buried faceted snow may all be more sensitive today. 


Just like clockwork, watch for wet point release avalanches on the sun exposed slopes with daytime heating.


Bottom Line:

The avalanche danger for wet avalanches will rise to CONSIDERABLE today on the steep east, south, and west facing slopes with daytime heating.  Natural and human triggered avalanches in the wet snow will leave decent debris piles in the steep confined terrain.  While much of the terrain will have a mostly LOW danger, pockets of MODERATE exist due to the rapid warming accentuating the sensitivity for triggering cornices, the welded-in wind slabs from the past couple days, and a few isolated pockets of buried faceted snow.


Mountain Weather:

About as good as it gets.  Sunny skies, light winds, and moderate temperatures.  8000’ highs will reach into the mid-thirties while 10,000’ temps rise into the mid-twenties.  High pressure builds for most of the week with a possible storm next weekend.

Click here for the National Weather Service graphic Forecast. 



Click here to check out our new online avalanche encyclopedia.


Early birds and snow geeks can catch our 6AM report at 364-1591.


You can find our mountain weather forecast here by about noon each day.

Click HERE for a text only version of the avalanche advisory.

To have this advisory automatically e-mailed to you each day, click HERE. 

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

The Wasatch Powderbird Guides didn’t get out yesterday, but will head to AF, White Pine, the Sessions, and Cascade today.   For more info, call 742-2800.

Please report any backcountry snow and avalanche conditions.  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.

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