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

Wednesday, February 08, 20067:30am
Good morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.Today is Wednesday, February 08, 2006, and itís about 7:30 am.

 

Current Conditions:

Itís a calm, clear morning in the mountains, with the northerly winds generally less than 15 mph.Temperatures have warmed into the 20ís and 30ís, with slightly cooler air pooled in the drainage bottoms.The sunny, southeast through westerly facing slopes are crusted this morning, but will rapidly soften to slop.The shady, northerly facing slopes retain good powder, with a few patches of wind damage.

 

Avalanche Conditions:

There was a very close call in the backcountry yesterday.Two avalanche workers were examining different crowns in the south facing Monte Cristo slide path in upper Little Cottonwood, when a party above inadvertently released a cornice, hitting the upper worker and triggering a slab avalanche that ran 1500Ď.The upper worker was caught and carried, eventually self arresting to avoid a fatal ride, and the slide missed the lower person.In spite of almost killing two people and wasting $1000 worth of gear, the cornice droppers didnít even offer an apology.Bottom line: Just because you have two strong legs, good lungs and can make turns doesnít mean you belong in the backcountry.You need good avalanche and backcountry travel skills, and before you drop cornices, jump off cliffs, ski cut slopes or drop steep lines, you must be CERTAIN that no one is below you.

 

So, while the snowpack is mostly stable, there are obviously a few problems to watch out for.First, as the day heats up, the snow on steep, sunny slopes will become wet and sloppy, with both natural and human triggered wet sluffs and slabs possible.So when the snow heats up, get off steep slopes and stay out of the runout zones and gullies below.Secondly, there are a few rogue wind slabs that can be triggered on steep slopes, in addition to loose snow sluffs on the very steep shady slopes. And finally, cornices are sensitive.They are breaking back further than expected and can be triggered from a distance.

 

Bottom Line:

This morning, the avalanche danger is generally LOW, but will rise to MODERATE on and below steep, sun exposed slopes with day time heating.Cornices are very sensitive, and there are isolated places where a person could trigger a sluff or wind slab on the shady slopes.

Mountain Weather:

High pressure will be over the area through the remainder of the week.Wednesday and Thursday will be copycat days, with clear skies and light northerly winds.Highs will be in the low forties at 8,000í and near freezing at 10,000í.Temperatures will cool slightly on Friday, but according to the models, no snow is in sight through the weekend.

Click here for the National Weather Service graphic Forecast.

 

Announcements:

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.

Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew in Cardiff, Mineral, Days, Grizzly and the Bountiful Sessions yesterday and today they will be in Cardiff, Mineral, Days, and Silver with a second ship in Cascade and possibly American Fork.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.

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