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.

keeping you on top


Wednesday, February 28, 2007  7:30 am
Good morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Wednesday, February 28, 2007 and it’s 7:30 in the morning.


Current Conditions:

The February snow machine is taking a short breather this morning, before clouds increase again this afternoon and initiate another round of snow.  Temperatures are in the single digits to just below zero this morning.  Winds are very light, generally 5 mph, with gusts to 10.  Even the highest peaks only have gusts to 20 mph.  Snow totals from yesterday’s short, intense storm came in just under a foot at most locations.  Adding up numbers, 30 to 50 inches of snow have fallen in the past week, making trail breaking tough.


Snow and Avalanche Discussion:

Today will be good for sightseeing.  With a window of late afternoon visibility, reports included: 100% of South Monitor avalanched naturally, 1/3 to ½ a mile wide, up to 10’ deep.  A 900’ wide section of West Monitor went out to the ground, and a “pocket” 8’ deep and 60’ wide avalanched in No Name.  Another natural 2-3’ deep by 100’ wide was observed in Thomas Fork.  In the Ogden area mountains, there was a very close call in Hells Canyon, when a person triggered a new snow slide about a foot deep on a steep, northeast facing slope at about 8,700’.  He went for the ride of his life, 1,300’ vertical, was buried up to his eyeballs with a hand sticking out, and walked away uninjured.  The new snow was very sensitive, reactive to ski cuts and explosives, with some natural activity observed.   


Today the new snow will still be sensitive on steep slopes, with easily triggered sluffs and soft slabs, especially where wind drifted.  The drifts will be most widespread on east and northeast facing slopes, but yesterday’s strong southwesterly winds will have also drifted snow well off the ridgelines and cross loaded it onto other aspects. Any slide initiating in the new snow has the potential to break down into deeper weak layers, taking out several storms worth of snow or even to the ground.


Yesterday’s natural activity indicates that once again the weak facets near the ground have been overloaded to the point of failing.  A person can trigger an unsurvivable slide to the ground in a shallow spot.  Slides breaking into the old snow can be triggered remotely from a distance, from below, and are most likely on slopes facing northwest through northeast through southeast.  Deep avalanches could occur at lower elevations, below 8,500’. 


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

The avalanche warning has expired.  However, a CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger remains on slopes of about 35 degrees or steeper, especially those facing northwest through northeast through southeast above about 8,000’.  CONSIDERABLE means human triggered slides are probable.  Both new snow slides and deep, unsurvivable slides breaking to the ground can be triggered by people.  People without excellent route finding and avalanche skills should avoid backcountry travel today.  If you want to hit the steep slopes, go to a resort.  High marking is not recommended. 


Mountain Weather: 

A broad upper trough will keep cold and unstable air over the area today. Skies will be partly clear this morning, with clouds increasing this afternoon and light snow showers developing.  The northerly winds will be light, in the 5 to 10 mph range.  Even the most exposed locations will only have gusts to only 25 mph.  Temperatures will be in the teens at 8,000’ and the single digits at 10,000’.  The next disturbance will bring periods of snow through Friday, with total accumulations of up to 2’ of low density fluff.



The Wasatch Powderbird Guides didn’t get out yesterday and today will be in Cardiff, Days, Silver, Grizzly and American Fork.  With questions regarding their areas of operation call 742-2800.


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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 we’ve 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.

Bruce Tremper will
update this advisory by 7:30 on Thursday morning, and thanks for calling.