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.



Sunday, April 16, 2006  7:30 am
Good morning, this is Drew Hardesty with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Sunday, April 16, 2006, and it’s about 7:30 am.  This will be our last scheduled early morning advisory for the year.  We’ll put out intermittent updates on the web and Salt Lake City phone line (364-1581) as conditions warrant.  Thanks for all your support and we’ll look for you at the Black Diamond/Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center fundraiser/party in the fall. 


Current Conditions:

Partly cloudy skies and overnight temperatures in the low thirties support at least a superficial refreeze of the snowpack this morning.  The pre-storm southwesterly winds gained momentum overnight with anemometers reading 25-35mph, gusting to the mid-50’s.   High northerly slopes will still provide a few turns of settled powder while the off aspects will have a blend of breakable and supportable melt freeze crusts.  


Recent Avalanche Activity & Snowpack Discussion:

Up high, at least, a density break 4-6” down in the new snow initially provided action with slope cuts and cornice drops.  This instability settled out quickly with daytime heating, which led to the next issue.  Warming temperatures, direct sun, and greenhousing conspired to elevate the wet sluff danger by midday.  Many long running sluffs ran full track with some gouging into older wet unconsolidated layers. 


For today, be alert for isolated wind drifts on the lee of ridgelines and steep breakovers in the higher elevations.   They’ll be most commonly found on steep northwest through east facing slopes, yet stronger winds will likely have deposited a pocket or two in unlikely spots.  Regarding the wet activity for today, timing will again be everything.  Once the crusts no longer become supportable, you’ll have no business being on the slope.  Move to cooler adjacent aspects or lower angled terrain. 


I heard of some poor travel etiquette in the backcountry yesterday.  Keep things tight by moving through suspect terrain one at a time, don’t descend on top of other parties, and maintain good visual and verbal contact.


Bottom Line:

There is a MODERATE danger for any new wind drifts in steep upper elevation terrain.  The danger for wet activity at the mid and low elevations and all sun-exposed slopes will yet again rise to MODERATE and then CONSIDERABLE with daytime heating. 


Mountain Weather:

We’ll have partly cloudy skies this morning with increasing clouds late afternoon ahead of tonight’s storm.  Winds and temperatures will continue to rise throughout the day with 8000’ highs reaching to the upper 40’s and 10k temps to the upper 30’s.  The southwesterlies will reach a crescendo of 35-40mph this afternoon.  Tonight’s storm looks like a pretty good bet.  Temperatures drop to the low teens post-frontal tomorrow and 12-18” of storm snow is expected in favored locations. 


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

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.

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.

We will update this advisory in the next day or so.  Stay tuned.