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

Current Conditions:

With warm air streaming in ahead of tonight’s storm, overnight lows are in the upper twenties and low thirties, about 10 degrees warmer than the night before.  The winds picked up yesterday out of the south and southwest blowing in the 20’s and have increased to 25 mph out of the southeast.  Cloud cover will build through the day with light rain/snow falling by mid-morning.


Recent Avalanche Activity & Snowpack Discussion:

We have two avalanche problems in the snowpack right now, those that I refer to as “manageable”, and those that go by many other names, but we’ll just call them “unmanageable”.  The localized sensitive soft slabs (another photo) from yesterday’s southerly winds fall under the manageable category, where they are pretty predictable and break just at your skis or board.  The few that were triggered yesterday were just off the ridgelines or below a steep rollover in exposed terrain.  Now for the unmanageable slides.  Two parties remotely triggered two avalanches yesterday, one in mid Little Cottonwood canyon and the other along the Park City ridgeline.  The more significant of the two pulled out 40’ below a party skinning up the apron below the northwest chute of the Pfeifferhorn in upper Hogum Fork of mid Little Cottonwood Canyon.  Shooting cracks ripped across the slope as the entire slope collapsed, releasing the 18” deep and 80’ wide avalanche down below them.  The winds clearly helped to form a more cohesive slab above buried faceted snow formed both prior to, and after, last Tuesday’s rain/graupel event.   They are “unmanageable” because they are much less predictable (though predictable in their own unpredictability), can obviously be triggered from a distance, and vary from slope to slope.  The other remote was a shallow slab remotely triggered from the ridge in South Monitor along the Park City ridgeline.


Winds will continue to whip the snow into sensitive soft slabs today over a wider expanse of terrain.  With more of a load now on the buried weak layers, remotely triggered avalanches may be more prevalent in upper elevation shady terrain. 


Bottom Line:

Areas of CONSIDERABLE danger exist on some mid and upper elevation steep slope with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.  While they may be most prevalent along the upper elevation northwest through northeast facing slopes, terrain channeling can load any aspect.  Human triggered slides are probable with a few naturals possible in the steepest upper elevation terrain. Sheltered terrain unaffected by the wind will have a LOW danger today.


Mountain Weather:

The next Pacific storm is racing in from the west and we’ll initially see light rain up to about 8000’, with the rain/snow line dropping slowly throughout the day.  The southerly winds will continue to the tune of 25-30mph along the high ridgelines, before dropping off after the front moves through overnight.  10,000’ temps will drop to the low twenties tonight.  Favored locations should pick up a foot of snow with light snowfall continuing intermittently Tuesday and Wednesday ahead of a colder, more potent storm on Thursday. 



Here is a great link to a web site on avalanche beacon information, created by a person who did independent research and testing of avalanche beacons.   http://beaconreviews.com/transceivers/index.htm


There are several free automated avalanche beacon practice areas open, including one at Canyons, one on the by-pass road near Snowbird and one in the northwest corner of the lower lot at Solitude.  They are really easy to use, and well worth stopping for a quick practice session.


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


Click here to check out our new online avalanche encyclopedia.

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 flew in the Sessions, American Fork and White Pine yesterday and are unlikely to get out 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.

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