Wasatch Cache National Forest
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Sunday, November 19, 2006  7:30 am
Good morning, this is Drew Hardesty with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center.  Today is Sunday, November 19, 2006 and it’s 7:30 in the morning. 


Current Conditions:

Under mostly clear skies, the dreaded inversion has temperatures in the high elevations near their yesterday’s maximums in the low to mid 30’s.  Cool air pooling in the drainages and mountain valleys has mid-elevation temps in the mid-teens.  Winds are out of the south and are generally less than 15mph.  Turning conditions are still quite good on the shady slopes with surface hoar and recrystallized snow sitting over a supportable base in the upper elevations.  The sun-exposed slopes are not bad on supportable quasi-corn once defrosted.


Snowpack and Avalanche Conditions:

While my party collapsed and spider-webbed out just about the only remaining snow in the west bowl of Silver Fork, and another party collapsed part of the slope on 10,420’ in upper BCC, the headlines are clearly the 1-2’ deep slabs remotely triggered from the west ridge of 10,420’.  A report indicated two slides released on a northeast facing slope at about 9600’.  It’s the same slope that killed a backcountry skier in the mid-90’s, the same that a touring party released a 6’ deep crown two years ago. 


This evidence plus all the stability tests conducted over the past couple days indicate that it may be a little while before we’re out of the woods.  It’s not pretty, and it’s definitely not last year.  My worry is that last year’s mind-set of skiing the big lines with impunity’ will carry over to this early season with tragic consequences.  We’ve had two very close calls with this tricky snowpack in the past week alone.


What to do?  Remember that these avalanches are mostly confined to northwest through north through east facing slopes over 9000’ and simple ski-pole tests will confirm the snow structure here.  Travel one at a time through suspect terrain.  Carry rescue equipment.  Be patient.


Bottom Line:

The avalanche danger remains MODERATE on northwest, north, northeast, and east facing slopes above about 9,000’ and steeper than about 35 degrees.  Any avalanche triggered will likely release to the ground.  The danger of wet activity on the sun exposed slopes will rise to MODERATE with daytime heating.  


Mountain Weather:

Ho-hum high pressure will bring clear skies, light to moderate southerly winds and mountain temperatures to near 50 degrees at 8000’.  A sad-looking cold front is expected through around Thanksgiving.   



The next FUAC fundraiser will be at Brewvies.  “The Anomaly” by TGR is playing on Dec 7th, with two showings, at 7pm and 9pm.  Advance tickets are available.


We appreciate any snowpack and avalanche observations, so please let us know by calling (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 on Monday and thanks for calling.