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.



Friday, March 24, 2006  7:30 am
Good morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Friday, March 24, 2006, and it’s about 7:30 am. 


Current Conditions:

High pressure continues to dominate the weather, and temperatures are a solid 10 degrees warmer this morning than 24 hours ago.  Under mostly cloudy skies, current readings are in the 20’s to low 30’s.  The winds remain light, less than 15 mph from the southwest.  Yesterday’s sun and warm temperatures baked the snow on most slopes, and any last remnants of dense powder will be on upper elevation, very shady northerly facing slopes.  All other slopes are crusted, but will rapidly soften with daytime heating.


Recent Avalanche Activity & Snowpack Discussion:

Yesterday was a noisy day in the backcountry, with numerous wet loose sluffs and a few shallow slabs running, many initiating off of rock bands.  Natural slides in the south facing paths of Little Cottonwood were long running and produced significant debris piles.  One slide was out of the ordinary pattern – a very large natural occurred in the Wellsville’s sometime in the past few days that was over 1,000’ wide and 4 to 6’ deep.  So if you’re heading up north, the danger is a bit different. 


The weather is creating a predictable spring time avalanche pattern.  The avalanche danger is low very early in the morning, and rapidly rises with daytime heating.  So if you’re heading into the backcountry today, expect the same widespread wet loose sluffs and shallow slabs on steep slopes as the snow warms.  With the significantly warmer overnight temperatures, the snow may heat up faster today.  If we get just the right combination of thin, high clouds, warmer temperatures and light winds, the snow on the northerly facing slopes will also heat up today, with natural and human triggered avalanches possible.  Cornices are getting sensitive, and may break back further than expected. 


Bottom Line:

The avalanche danger will rapidly increase to MODERATE with daytime heating, and may reach CONSIDERABLE, with human triggered avalanches probable and natural avalanches possible on steep slopes of most aspects and elevations.  Cornices are sensitive, and may break back further than expected.  So, as the snow heats up, avoid travel on and below steep slopes.


Mountain Weather:

The high pressure ridge will slowly shift to the east today, with a cold front crossing the area Saturday night.  For today, mostly cloudy skies this morning, with thinning clouds and partial clearing this afternoon.  Temperatures will rapidly warm into the upper 40’s at 8,000’ and the mid to upper 30’s at 10,000’.  The southwesterly winds will gradually increase today, into the 15 to 20 mph range across the higher peaks by late this afternoon.  Mostly cloudy skies and strong winds forecast for Saturday, with a vigorous spring cold front blasting through Saturday night. 


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.

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 Mineral, Cardiff, Days and Cascade on Thursday and today they’ll be in Mineral, Cardiff, Days, Silver, White Pine, American Fork and Cascade.  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 Saturday morning.  Thanks for calling.