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 February 7, 2006

Hello,  this is Toby Weed of the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your Logan area backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  It's Tuesday February 7th 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 Black Diamond.

Current Conditions:

Solar heating and winds hammered last weekend's fine powder on many slopes, but you can still find the goods in sheltered shady terrain.  Mountain temperatures reach new highs each day as the high pressure system maintains complete control of our weather. It'll be close to 40 degrees at high elevations tomorrow. Crusts which form overnight tonight will soften, and the snow on lots of sunny slopes will get moist and sloppy again.  You'll find easy trail breaking and riding conditions unless you get bogged down in one of the many deep drifts at higher elevations.

Avalanche Conditions:

Although avalanches are becoming more unlikely each day under the current high pressure system, they're still possible on some steep slopes in the region.  This weekend's incessant wind and quick but modest addition of new snow was just the straw needed to break the back of the snowpack on some slopes.  It was an active weekend, with both human triggered and large natural avalanches reported in the region.  The most interesting of these avalanches stepped down into old buried weak layers consisting of small sugary snow grains we call facets.  Faceted weak layers are notoriously persistent; meaning you might trigger an avalanche for quite a while after a storm. On most slopes the weakness is healing well, but on some the instability may be lingering.  I triggered a number of heart-stopping collapses or whumfing noises on mid-elevation west and southwest facing slopes yesterday.  These noises indicated a compressive failure of a weak layer under a slab which I was weighting. Talking snow tells us that avalanches are possible, and any that step down into old snow on Wednesday could be big and dangerous.

Today's fresh wind-drifts will be pretty well welded into place by tomorrow.  Many sunny slopes already got warmed up today and will crust over tonight.  And, some of you guys tested several big lines today without incident.  Despite the diminishing danger, you still might trigger stubborn wind-drift or heat-related wet avalanches on some very steep slopes in the region.

Bottom Line:

There's still a MODERATE danger and avalanches are possible on some slopes steeper than about 35 degrees in the backcountry.  Some avalanches could step down to buried weak layers and be large and dangerous.  Midday solar warming may also cause a MODERATE danger of wet avalanches on steep slopes with saturated surface snow.  Avalanches are unlikely and the danger is LOW on most shady sheltered slopes in the region.

Mountain Weather:

Under the influence of a strong ridge of high pressure, fair weather will last for a while in the mountains, and smoggy haze will start to thicken in Cache Valley. This pattern will continue at least through the week.

General Information: 

We will offer a free avalanche awareness talk open to the public at the Trailhead on Wednesday evening, February 8th at 7:00.

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...

This advisory will expire on Wednesday night.  I will update it on Thursday evening.

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.