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.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008 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, March 26, 2008 and its about 7:30 am.


Current Conditions:

Its the third night in a row with above freezing temperatures at some elevations. Currently, temperatures are in the low 30s at 10,000 to near 40 at some of the 7,500 elevations. A weak disturbance brought a band of clouds across the area overnight, but skies are trying to clear this morning. The southwesterly winds are averaging 15 mph, with gusts in the 20s to near 40 at the highest elevations. It will be another sloppy snow day, with any surface refreeze shallow and short lived. Even the surface snow on northerly facing slopes got damp to around 10,000 yesterday.


Snow and Avalanche Discussion:

The most interesting avalanche activity yesterday was on mid to upper elevation northerly facing slopes where the surface snow is heating for the first time. A party triggered a small sluff in the Crows Feet, a NW facing slope at approximately 9,500 that widened to full width, ran full vertical of a couple thousand feet and filled up the gully. I also found it easy to trigger damp sluffs on steep northerly aspects above 9,000'. In addition, there was a report of low elevation wet sluffs in the Ogden mountains.


Its been a multi-day warm spell, and there is one final hot day to deal with before a cool down. Any surface refreeze is shallow, and the avalanche danger will increase rapidly with sun and daytime heating. Wet sluffs will become easy to trigger on steep slopes on most aspects and elevations. So where ever you are, if the snow is getting wet and sloppy, its time to head to low angle terrain or to an aspect with cooler snow. Terrain is the key to safe travel these damp sluffs are dangerous if they push you off a cliff, take you for a long ride, or shove you into a terrain trap such as a gully and then bury you under 6 feet of cement like snow. Also keep tabs on the thickness of the refrozen crust this morning, and investigate the snow beneath. It is possible to trigger the frozen crusts often called corn slabs - if there is wet snow beneath.


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

The avalanche danger is generally LOW early this morning, but will rapidly increase to MODERATE with daytime heating and sun. Damp and wet sluffs will be easily triggered on steep slopes of all aspects and elevations, and their danger will depend on the terrain. Avoid terrain traps such as gullies and continuously steep slopes where a sluff can build up speed and volume.

Mountain Weather:

A westerly flow over the area is bringing a series of weak disturbances across northern Utah. This morning, periods of sun will alternate with bands of clouds. Temperatures will warm into the low 40s at 8,000 and remain near 30 at 10,000. The southwesterly winds will increase into the 15 to 25 mph range, with gusts at the highest elevations reaching into the 50s intermittently. Skies will become overcast by late afternoon, with a few snow showers possible. A cold front will reach the area early this evening, bringing an end to the heat wave and the potential for 4 to 10 of snow by Thursday afternoon. Another small storm could affect the area this weekend.

The Wasatch Powderbird Guides did not fly yesterday. If they can fly today, theyll try for Mineral, Cardiff, Days, and Silver, with a second ship in Cascade. For more detailed information please call (801) 742-2800 or go to their daily blog.

If you want to get this avalanche advisory e-mailed to you daily click HERE.
UDOT highway avalanche control work info can be found by calling
(801) 975-4838.
Our statewide tollfree line is 1-888-999-4019 (early morning, option 8).

Watch video tututorials and fieldwork from UAC staff at our YouTube channel.

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If you see any avalanches or interesting snow conditions, please leave us a message 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.