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

Saturday January 21, 2006

Hello and good morning, this is Toby Weed of the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your Logan area backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  It's Saturday January 21st at 7:00 am.  This advisory is brought to you in part by the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center in Logan with help from Import Auto at 502 W 1400 N.

Current Conditions:

Snow is falling this morning in the mountains, and we could pick up another 3 or 4 inches today.  The Snotel site at Tony Grove reports around .5 inches of water in the last 24 hrs, with a total of 111 inches of snow on the ground.  That puts us at 170 % of normal for this time of year.  A westerly wind picked up early last night, and the Campbell Scientific weather station on Logan Peak recorded sustained average wind-speeds in the twenties overnight.  It's 9 degrees this morning up at 9500' and 19 degrees at 7400' in Temple Fork.  We picked up a couple feet of nice snow with Wednesday's storm, and you couldn't ask for better powder conditions in the backcountry.  The powder has settled out nicely, and trail breaking is pretty easy.  Powder riding conditions are still fantastic on most slopes.  Many of you got out yesterday, but there's still plenty of fine untracked powder to be found. 

Avalanche Conditions:

With the exception of a few pockets of wind-drifted snow on some upper elevation slopes, avalanches are generally unlikely in the backcountry today.  I noticed only a couple natural avalanches after Wednesday's heavy snowfall, and by yesterday the new snow instabilities had healed nicely.  Some slopes have mid-pack weak layers, but overall we have a pretty stable snowpack.  The west wind last night found lots of soft snow to build into drifts and pockety wind-slabs on steep slopes, and this is my biggest concern today. You might easily trigger soft, freshly formed wind-drifts on some steep slopes today.  Most potential avalanches will be relatively small and manageable, but they might be able to take you for a ride over a cliff or into a tree.  If you decide to test a steep wind-drifted slope today, be sure there are no obstacles or terrain traps in the fall-line below you.  You also might find sensitive cornices, which could break further back than expected.  With care, you might be able to use a cornice-drop to test a steep slope that you want to ride. 

Please send or call-in backcountry observations from this weekend even if you don't trigger an avalanche.  I'd love to find out what you're seeing out there.  Even in fairly stable conditions you should practice safe backcountry travel techniques like only exposing one person in your party at a time to avalanche danger.  Also, continue to practice with your beacons.  Make your partners try more advanced problems.  Try deeper burials and hide a couple pretty close together.  Although things are looking good avalanche-wise now, we still have lots of this season ahead.

Bottom Line:

There is generally a LOW avalanche danger and avalanches are unlikely on most slopes in the backcountry. Avalanches are possible however, and there's a MODERATE danger on some wind-drifted slopes steeper than about 35 degrees.  Upper elevation slopes facing north through southeast are the most suspect.

Mountain Weather:

Today will be cloudy, and a few additional inches of snowfall are likely. The moderate winds will stay westerly for much of the day before switching around and diminishing from the northwest tonight.  A high pressure system will build in over the region tomorrow, and a northerly breeze will keep the temperatures cool under sunny skies.  The high will dominate through much of the upcoming work-week, with fair weather in the mountains and a hazy inversion likely in Cache Valley.

General Information: 

 We will be helping the USU Outdoor Recreation Center present a Level 1 Avalanche Class for snowmobilers January 27-29.  Please pre-register for this class with the ORC.

For a list of our upcoming classes and awareness talks, go to our Education page . For a list of recent avalanches in  the regional backcountry go to Avalanche List.  Snow nerds, check out the new Snow Profiles page.  You may enjoy our Images Page.

Please send backcountry observations to [email protected] or leave a message at 755-3638, especially if you see or trigger an avalanche in the backcountry. We really want to hear from you, even if you think your observation is unimportant.    The information you provide may save lives...

  I will update this advisory Sunday morning by about 7:00.

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.