31st Annual Backcountry Benefit - September 12th - Tickets Available Here!

Accident: Logan Peak

Observer Name
Toby Weed
Observation Date
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Avalanche Date
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Logan » Providence Canyon » Logan Peak
Location Name or Route
Rodeo Grounds Logan Peak
Slope Angle
Trigger: additional info
Unintentionally Triggered
Avalanche Type
Hard Slab
Weak Layer
Depth Hoar
Buried - Fully
Accident and Rescue Summary
Four experienced local snowmobilers were riding in the “Rodeo Grounds” area on Christmas Eve morning, the first clear day after several consecutive days under stormy weather conditions. The party triggered a huge hard slab avalanche, which buried and killed two close friends, 22-year-old Erik Jorgensen of Paradise and 23-year-old Jesse Johnson of Hyrum.
The avalanche was reported to authorities at around 10:30 am via satellite phone by a member of a separate snowmobiling party. About twenty snowmobilers, who were riding in the area, helped the surviving members of the party with the rescue attempt. From what I could piece together at the scene, one of the victims was very deeply buried in the heavy debris (10-12’ deep). The other was recovered in the vicinity of a grove of large spruce and fir trees. Survival of such a deep burial in avalanche deposition is extremely rare, and trauma due to impacting trees while carried by an avalanche accounts for around 25% of avalanche deaths in North America.
The victims were recovered with the aid of avalanche transceivers, which each wore, and probes and shovels. After previous avalanche incidents in the area, extra probes and shovels are cached at a nearby warming hut by Cache Search and Rescue (Cache County Sheriff) and local snowmobilers…. Members of CSAR and the flight crew of the responding Life Flight medical rescue helicopter were unable to resuscitate the two young men.
Here\'s an aerial shot a large hard slab avalanche on the east side of Logan Peak, which tragically killed 22-year-old Erik Jorgensen of Paradise and and 23-year-old Jesse Ryan Johnson of Hyrum. (photo courtesy of the Cache County Sheriff Department)
I came upon a now riderless sled and a huge pile of avalanche debris as I emerged from the forest at bottom of "South Rodeo Grounds" under the East Face of Logan Peak
Trees at the toe of the avalanche showed evidence of being blasted by a powerful snow and air-blast. Deep piles of snow stacked up on the uphill side of several large trees...
I made my way up to the crown on the southern flank of the massive avalanche.
The huge hard slab avalanche released on weak faceted or sugary snow associated with a rain-crust formed November 12th and 13th.
The crown on the south side of the avalanche ranged from 4 to 6 feet deep, ( and looked deeper up near the center of the crown). By my estimation, it was over 2000' in width.....
The slab pulled out on fairly low angled slopes(<30') both at it's top (near the summit of Logan Peak) and on the south flank (in photo)
The avalanche occurred on a generally east facing slope. The upper reaches of crown are at around 9600'in elevation, and the avalanche ran down to just below the 9000'contour line.
Here's a look at one of the recovery sites (about 30' right of the damaged ski-doo). Just up the path, a very deep excavation hole (~12' deep) marked the site of the other recovery..... Beacons, probes, and shovels all played important rolls in the valiant rescue attempt by the surviving members of riders party and around 20 local snowmobilers. Sadly, resuscitation attempts by members of the Cache County Sheriff's SAR team and medical/rescue helicopter personnel proved unsuccessful.