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


Monday, March 05, 2007  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 Monday, March 05, 2007 and it’s 7:30 in the morning.

Current Conditions:

We have high thin clouds blanketing the mountains and light west to southwesterly winds.  Overnight lows remained balmy with temperatures rarely below 25 degrees above 9000’.  Highs yesterday reached into the upper thirties even at 11,000’ and all but high north will have something of a zipper to full blown crust this morning. 


Snow and Avalanche Discussion:

The steep sun-exposed slopes went through an expansive, though not necessarily long running wet loose ‘cycle’ yesterday and you’ll definitely need to keep tabs on the wet activity today, particularly with the continued warm temps and thin clouds.   Steep sunny exits could pose some issues today.


On the other side of the compass, large explosive triggered slides continue in the ski areas and in the backcountry, with the most notable a reported 12’ monster to the ground in upper Little Cottonwood at 10,500’ to 11,000’.  It’s similar to the monsters already crow-barred out earlier in the week by control teams at Snowbasin.  Disconcerting to the backcountry traveler through extrapolation is that these were the result of single or double shots in areas that had previous hammering.  We’re not done.  It’s possible that a sizeable hard slab naturalled in upper Soldier Fork 2.5-3’ deep and 100’ wide yesterday, though I’m currently on the phone with parties who’ve been near the crime scene to nail down a general time frame.  More later.


It’s becoming more the exception and not the rule, but collapsing of the weak underlying structure caught a couple independent parties attention in high terrain of Big Cottonwood Canyon.   Structure alone with damning evidence from pit data still warrants caution on the steeper slopes on the shady end of the dial.  We’re still only three days past a cycle that rang the bell of our snowpack.  Continued warming may accelerate yesterday’s increasing creep rates in the snowpack, so a natural hard slab in steep northwest through southeast terrain wouldn’t be out of the question.


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

We’ll have pockets of CONSIDERABLE danger on slopes approaching 35 degrees and steeper on the west through north through southeast aspects.  The danger of wet avalanche activity will again rise to CONSIDERABLE on all steep sun-exposed slopes, and may be more pronounced in the Provo area mountains.  Cornices remain sensitive.


Mountain Weather: 

High thin clouds will blanket the mountains for much of the day with generally light southwesterly winds.  8000’ and 10,000’ highs will reach into the mid 40’s and mid-30’s today.  A weak disturbance moves through tomorrow with gradually cooling temps and a decent cold front for late Thursday.



The Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew in the Bountiful Sessions and American Fork, and will use a previous trade-out to fly in Silver, Cardiff, and Grizzly today.  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).

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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.

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