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

Monday, March 19, 20077:30 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 19, 2007 and itís 7:30 in the morning.

 

RECORD BREAKING WARM TEMPERATURES CONTINUES TO WARRANT A SPECIAL AVALANCHE STATEMENT FOR THE MOUNTAINS OF NORTHERN UTAH. BOTH LARGE NATURAL AND HUMAN TRIGGERED AVALANCHES ARE POSSIBLE.  THOSE WITHOUT EXCELLENT AVALANCHE AND ROUTE FINDING SKILLS SHOULD AVOID BEING ON OR BENEATH STEEP MOUNTAIN SLOPES.

 

Current Conditions:

Skies are clear and winds are light from the west.Few stations dropped below freezing in the mountains overnight after highs yesterday in the mid to upper 50ís.Clear skies will have aided the refreeze, but itíll be another early-bird gets the worm strategy for supportable corn.†† Soft settled powder remains on the high north with good corn on the off aspects.

Snow and Avalanche Discussion:

Explosive testing continues to produce impressive, yet spotty results in upper elevation east to northeast facing slopes.Most of the mountain resorts are managing to crow-bar out a couple wet slabs 2-3í deep, but the most impressive slides came out at Park City in the main Jupiter Bowl and Scott Bowl just to the north.Six pound air blasts pulled out two large wet slab avalanches 3-5í to the ground, running on damp to saturated facets and depth hoar.The Scott Bowl slide broke 6-700í wide, and it was noted that a lost ski from earlier in the season popped out onto the bed surface above the debris.Bruce went to take a look at the slides and his photos can be found here.

 

In my experience, wet slab avalanches can be the most difficult to forecast, particularly with this snow structure.Itís usually more about decreased strength of the snowpack, rather than increased stress through rapid loading as we all know and love for cold snow avalanches.And there are plenty of black holes in the snow.Cornices will continue to be sensitive and glide avalanches in Stairs, Broadís Fork and Mill B South are likely over the next couple of days as well.

 

Donít tarry Ė get out of the house and up in the hills and then home for golf by noon.Work the aspects, start east, then south, then west, and leave the area when youíre starting to move some wet snow down the slope.Be particularly skeptical of areas with a thin snowpack and thin refreeze.It just takes a quick plunge of the ski or probe pole to see the depth of refreeze and depth altogether.Donít be fooled by the superficial refreezes in some areas, which may hide saturated glop underneath.Itís just a wolf in sheepís clothing.

 

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

The avalanche danger will again rise to CONSIDERABLE and perhaps HIGH today on all steep sun-exposed slopes.All aspects are capable of producing large, longer running avalanches.Hedge your bets by getting off the steeper stuff before the intense heat of the day.

 

Mountain Weather:

Weíll have clear skies and light backing winds to the southwest.8000í and 10,000í highs will reach into the 50ís and 40ís yet again.The storm pattern for Tuesday night is up to its old tricks again, as it splits, forming a cut-off Low over Baja.Should still be enough for a few inches of snow in the mountains and a quick return to winter.Temps drop to the upper teens.

 

Announcements:

The Wasatch Powderbird Guides didnít get out yesterday and are unlikely to get out today.For more info, call 742-2800.

 

The UAC and ACE are offering a day long Womenís Avalanche Awareness class at Alta on March 22nd covering beacon use and basic safe travel, terrain and snowpack information, for $30.For more details go to: www.altaarts.org.

 

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.

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