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

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Hello, this is Toby Weed of the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center in Logan.  It's Tuesday January 3rd at 9:30 pm.  This advisory is brought to you in part by the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center in Logan with help from

Current Conditions:

We've picked up an amazing amount of heavy snow since Christmas in the high country.   The 8400' Snotel site up at Tony Grove peaked at 102 inches on the total snow stake this morning.  It started raining in Logan the day after Christmas.  But up at higher elevations it came in mostly as snow and a lot of it.  Since then the site recorded 11.2 inches of accumulated water equivalency weight, and the total snow on the ground climbed dramatically from around 55 inches on Christmas day to its current reading of 100 inches.  Needless to say, the new snow is very deep at upper elevations. Its not what I would call fine Utah powder though.  Today the snow was more like what I would expect to find in costal climates; "Sierra cement" as apposed to "the greatest snow on Earth." Today we found dense wind-blasted snow everywhere up high, and it was inverted or heavier near the surface.  This made for difficult traveling conditions.  We found trail breaking a tedious slog and tricky riding conditions, with a real possibility of bogging down and getting horrendously stuck, even on small hills.  At least most of the rocks are deeply covered.

Avalanche Conditions:

Backcountry avalanches have been active across the West in the past few days, with recent fatalities reported from Wyoming, Colorado and Utah.   Yesterday and last night, heavy snowfall and very strong southwesterly winds drifted tons of snow into steep slopes and  avalanche starting zones in the Logan area.  Today, I noticed evidence of many large natural avalanches on the huge east facing bowls in the Wellsville Range. With crown faces visible from across Cache Valley and deposition cones stacking up on the benches, some of these avalanches were really quite impressive.

I'm a bit dismayed however, by the apparent lack of natural activity in the central Bear River Range.  Granted, much avalanche terrain is hidden from view, and much of it stayed shrouded by cloud-cover and hidden from me today.  But I did scan a lot of acreage near Tony Grove Lake, and I only saw evidence of a few small recent natural wind-drift avalanches on very steep slopes.  By this afternoon the wind-slabs had stabilized significantly.  Our test pits showed little sign of instability and very deep, solid-feeling snow.  I am still concerned by the potential for deep and dangerous avalanches breaking on weak sugary or faceted snow near the ground, but these are likely only a possibility on slopes where the snowpack was weak and shallow before Christmas.  Slopes on the Wellsville Range top this list, but other areas of concern include but are not limited to; the windward slopes in the Mount Naomi Wilderness, the Logan Peak Area and the mountains near Mantua.  I plan to let the snowpack adjust to this tremendous new load for a while before ticking off any big lines in the backcountry.

Bottom Line:

On Wednesday we'll see a lingering CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger on wind-drifted slopes steeper than about 35 degrees in the Logan backcountry. Dangerous avalanches are still possible on numerous slopes in the region. You'll find  less dangerous conditions and a MODERATE danger in the Central Bear River Range, on slopes with deep solid underlying snow, and in sheltered lower angled or lower elevation terrain.

Mountain Weather:

A weakening storm will affect the region tonight and tomorrow, bringing with it a few more inches of snow and comparatively light winds.  A ridge of high pressure will set up over the area on Thursday, and mild, fair weather is a good bet for the mountains through Friday.  We could see periods of modest snowfall over the upcoming weekend.

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 Wednesday night, but I will update it again on Thursday night.

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. 


National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Snow.