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.

ďkeeping you on topĒ

AVALANCHE ADVISORY

Tuesday, February 20, 20077:30 am
Good morning, this is Brett Kobernik with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.Today is Tuesday, February 20, 2007 and itís 7:30 in the morning.

 

Current Conditions:

Yesterday was the tenth day in a row with human triggered avalanches and my money is on today being the eleventh.Temperatures cooled into the single digits and low teens in many mountain locations and winds are less then 10 mph except at the more exposed locations where there are gusts into the 30s.A few more inches of snow fell yesterday morning before the storm cleared mid day.

 

Snow and Avalanche Discussion:

Human triggered avalanches continued on Monday.One was remotely triggered from skiers on a ridge in Mill D North.It was around 75 feet wide, 2 feet deep and ran around 500 feet vertical.It was on a north facing aspect with a slope angle of around 35 degrees.The weak layer was very fragile faceted snow along with surface hoar.(PHOTOS)

 

The second avalanche was a solo skier near Cardiac bowl who triggered an avalanche and was caught, carried and at least partially buried.Landowners with permitted snowmobiles watched the incident and dug out the skier who lost all of his gear.They gave him a ride out.Weíll have more details on this soon.

 

I donít really care that cracking and collapsing are not happening as much as a few days ago, just the bad snowpack structure alone is enough to keep me of off steep north through east facing slopes.Continued avalanching is proof.Those of you who donít have much experience in backcountry travel should continue to avoid steep slopes.Those with experience, keep this in mind.The faceted snow thatís buried deep in the pack is much weaker then we are used to.We also have buried surface hoar scattered throughout the range which we are also not used to.Surface hoar is responsible for killing many people in areas where it is more common such as in Canada.Both of these are persistent weak layers and may persist longer then we anticipate.There are some other layers that are shearing within the top two feet of snow but these problems are only secondary to the deeper weakness.

 

Bottom Line for the Salt Lake, Park City, Provo and Ogden area mountains:

The avalanche danger remains CONSIDERABLE on slopes over 35 degrees on north through east facing aspects.Avalanches on these aspects can be quite large.

The danger is less on other aspects and lower angle slopes but if you are getting onto steep slopes you still need to evaluate the snow pack carefully.

 

Mountain Weather:

Today weíll see partly cloudy skies with temperatures rebounding into the mid 20s.Westerly winds will increase slightly into the 10 to 15 mph range along the mid elevation ridges with stronger gusts in the 30s and 40s at the more exposed locations.Wednesday looks similar then winds shift more south and increase on Thursday ahead of what looks like a pretty good snow storm for us.

 

Announcements:

The Banff Mountain Film Festival will be held at Kingsbury Hall tonight and Wednesday.Tickets are $7.50 per show and available at Kingsbury Hall, Art-Tix, the Salt Lake and Sandy REI stores, and the Outdoor Recreation Program at the U of U.Shows start at 7pm each night.(CLICK FOR DETAILS)

 

Yesterday, the Wasatch Powderbird Guides didnít get out and today will be in Cardiff, Days, Silver, Grizzly, American Fork, Snake Creek and possibly White Pine.With questions regarding their areas of operation call 742-2800.

 

Listen to the advisory.Try our new streaming audio or podcasts

UDOT highway avalanche control work info can be found HERE or by calling (801) 975-4838.

Our statewide tollfree line is 1-888-999-4019 (early morning, option 8).

For a list of avalanche classes, click HERE
For our classic text advisory click HERE.
To sign up for automated e-mails of our graphical advisory click HERE

We appreciate all the great snowpack and avalanche observations weíve been getting, so keep leaving us messages at (801) 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140, or email us at [email protected]. (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.

Evelyn Lees will
update this advisory by 7:30 on Tuesday morning, and thanks for calling.