Wasatch-Cache National Forest  In partnership with:  Utah State Parks and Recreation, Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center-Logan, and Utah State University College of Natural Resources.


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Logan area Avalanche advisory


 Thursday December 15, 2005           

Hello, this is Toby Weed of the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center in Logan.  Itís Thursday, December 15th at 8:00 pm.   This advisory is brought to you in part by the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center in Logan with help from avalanchetools.com, your local on-line avalanche safety equipment retailer.

Current Conditions:

We felt like we had thousands of untracked acres all to ourselves today and, in the Logan backcountry, we did. With wind-fowled snow on exposed upper elevation slopes and sun-crusts on lower sunny slopes the only exceptions, we found great snow conditions all over today and saw very few tracks.  On Friday you'll find supportable snow that allows you to ride almost anywhere, fine re-crystallized powder on sheltered slopes (even on sunny slopes at high elevations), and easy traveling conditions most everywhere.  It got up to 15 degrees at the summit of Logan Peak today, and a northwesterly wind blew steadily, with 15-20 mph hourly averages. 

Avalanche Conditions:

Recently formed wind-drifts will continue to be your biggest concern in the backcountry.  You might find stiff wind-drifts along the highest ridges and in terrain features we call fetch areas.  Although fairly small, you might trigger thin wind-slab avalanches on very steep slopes.  Some of these wind-drifts formed on top of sugary re-crystallized surface snow and could be sensitive to your weight.  Otherwise, avalanches are unlikely in the backcountry.

I've noticed a huge variation in snow depths across the forecast zone.  Today at upper elevations, I was digging test pits deeper than the length of my skis.  Where-as yesterday on the front-side, I could hardly find any snow deeper than 3'.  The very cold temperatures and clear nights of the past few days are weakening the snow on the ground through a process called temperature gradient metamorphism. It's turning the snow grains into sugary facets, and it's much worse where the snow is shallow.  The snow in my pits feels crumbly, it falls apart just like Mom's cornbread when I try to put on the butter.

Bottom Line:

There's a LOW  avalanche danger in the backcountry.  Avalanches are unlikely, with isolated exceptions on very steep slopes with recent deposits of wind-drifted snow.

Mountain Weather:

It'll be mostly cloudy tomorrow as a system glances by to our north and east, and we could see a snowflake of two.  There's a better chance of something we can measure on Saturday.  Temperatures are forecast to stay seasonably cold, with highs in the mountains in the mid-teens and lows in the low single digits.

General Information: 

 For a list of our upcoming classes and awareness talks, go to our education page

Snow nerds, check out the new Snow Profiles page.

Please send backcountry observations to [email protected], especially if you see or trigger an avalanche in the backcountry.

This advisory will expire on Friday night.  I will update it again on Saturday morning.

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.