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, April 21, 2006  4pm
Good afternoon, this is Drew Hardesty with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  It’s Friday April 21st and it’s about 4pm.


We are no longer putting out early morning advisories for the rest of the year.  We’ll put out intermittent afternoon 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:

Mountain temperatures are skyrocketing into the red zone.  Mittens and down jackets from Wednesday are now a thing of the past, long since traded in for Hawaiian shirts and flip-flops.  Last night’s overnight low is 20 degrees warmer than Wednesday’s and stands to be up to ten degrees cooler than tonight’s.  With 11,000’ highs reaching 45 degrees, today may have been the last ticket for hitting dry cold settled powder on the north and supportable corn on the south. 


Recent Avalanche Activity & Snowpack Discussion:

Folks have still been able to find a few rogue wind drifts and storm snow soft slabs from Monday’s storm.  A few slope cuts triggered a couple settled pockets 6-8” deep and 40’ wide, running over 1000’.  These were on very steep northerly facing slopes in the higher terrain in the Ogden mountains and are likely indicative of pockety conditions along the high terrain in the central and southern Wasatch.  On the southern end of the dial, it’s been textbook spring conditions. 


With high thin clouds and expected overnight lows tonight in the low 40’s, refreezes of the snow surface will be superficial.  Don’t use the last couple of days as you gauge, as supportable crusts will become unsupportable earlier in the morning than on Thursday and Friday.  The mid and high northerly slopes will start to produce wet activity as they’ve been dampened by today’s heat and tonight’s warm overnight temperatures.  Expected high rain/snow lines for Sunday/Monday’s weakening storm will likely spearhead continued wet activity, particularly on the shady slopes.  Timing will be everything this weekend.  So will knowing when you’ve overstayed your welcome on the steep soggy slopes.  Once things have gone off, take a hint and move to cooler aspects or the back nine for the rest of the day.  As always, be especially careful under suspect glide crack terrain; commonly found in upper Mill B South, Broad’s Fork, and Stairs Gulch. 


Bottom Line:

Get off of, and out from underneath, steep slopes when you start to sink into wet snow, especially in the heat of the afternoon.  Tonight’s poor refreeze will initiate the wet activity earlier in the morning, starting on east, then south, then west facing slopes.  Northerly facing slopes will start to become active with wet activity as the snow surface becomes increasingly damp. 


Mountain Weather:

The current ridge high pressure will start to break down and move off to the east ahead of a weakening Low pressure system currently centered over Las Vegas.  We’ll have increasing high clouds this afternoon and tonight with south to southeasterly winds averaging 15-20mph.  10k temps will be in the upper thirties to low forties.  Rain to 9000’ early Sunday through Monday will translate to 3-5” in the higher terrain.   The next splitty looking system pushes through by mid-week.   


Click here to check out our new online avalanche encyclopedia.

Click HERE for a text only version of the avalanche advisory.

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 again as conditions warrant.