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.



Thursday, April 13, 2006  7:30 am
Good morning, this is Bruce Tremper with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Thursday, April 13, 2006, and it’s about 7:30 am. 


Current Conditions:

In the mountains this morning, hot desert winds feel like someone turned on a giant hair dryer.  This morning’s temperatures are above freezing even on the highest peaks with 8,000’ temperatures in the mid 40’s.  This is 7 degrees warmer than yesterday morning.   Usually, the radiational cooling from a clear sky will freeze the snow surface even with above freezing air temperatures, but the strong, warm wind cancels everything out.  In other words, any refreeze this morning will probably be eggshell thin and short lived.  Ridge top winds are still blowing 35 from the southwest with gusts in the 50’s.  


Recent Avalanche Activity & Snowpack Discussion:

Yesterday, people were able to trigger some localized wind slabs along the upper elevation ridges on north through east facing slopes.  Most of these were 6 inches to a foot deep.  Also, there was some localized wet point-release sluffs yesterday at lower and mid elevations as the snow heated up in the sun.  (See PHOTOS of yesterday’s conditions)


Today, we have two avalanche problems:


Wet avalanches:

With today’s temperatures well above freezing and a full 7 degrees warmer than yesterday, you can expect that the wet avalanche activity to increase and move up in elevation.  You should plan to be off of and out from underneath any steep slopes by noon and you should avoid any slopes where you are sinking into wet snow.  Also, conditions like this often release glide avalanches, so you should avoid crossing under slopes with glide cracks.  For instance today and Friday are definitely not the days to be in places like Stairs Gulch, or under the glide cracks in Broads Fork or Mill B South. 

Wind slabs

Yesterday’s strong winds from the southwest blew the two inches of new snow into localized wind drifts along the upper elevation ridges.  Yesterday, it was easy to crack out these fresh wind slabs.  Luckily, they were easy to see because they are chalky white in contrast to the large-grained, somewhat dust-coated, old corn snow.  As always, you should avoid any steep slope with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.


Bottom Line:

The danger from wet avalanches is MODERATE this morning, and will increase to CONSIDERABLE with day time heating on any slope where you are sinking into wet snow.  There is also a MODERATE danger of wind slabs along the upper elevation ridges, mostly on north through east facing slopes.


Mountain Weather:

It will be warm and windy today and Friday.  Ridge top temperatures will be around 40 degrees with ridge top winds from the southwest decreasing from 30 mph this morning to 20 mph by mid day, then increase again to 30 mph by tonight.  Down at 8,000’ the temperature will rise to a sweltering 55 degrees.  Skies should be clear today and for most of Friday.


Extended forecast:

We have clouds and a few inches of snow this weekend, starting Friday night.  Then, we have a strong cold front with possibly significant snow for Monday and Tuesday, which should plunge our ridge top temperatures down to around 10 degrees.


The second annual “Beacon and Eggs” contests are in full swing, with BIG prizes to the winners.  The next big event is next Saturday at Snowbird.  For more information, go to http://www.snowbird.com/events/events/beaconandeggs.html

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 did not get out yesterday and are unlikely to fly today. If they do, they will be in Cardiff, Days, Silver, White Pine and American Fork.  For more info, call 742-2800.
Special announcement:

The Wasatch-Cache National Forest is authorizing Wasatch Powderbird Guides to operate within established golden eagle mitigation buffers to aid research biologists collecting data to evaluate the effects of heli-skiing operations on nesting golden eagles in the Tri Canyon Area. This authorization is under permit from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in cooperation with Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and will be in effect through 30 April 2006.  For further information please contract Steve Scheid at the Salt Lake Ranger District at 801-733-2689.

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 Friday morning.  Thanks for calling.