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 February 25, 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 February 25th 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 Simmons Flexi-ski of Providence.

Current Conditions:

Well, you better get out and enjoy today's blue-bird weather.  You'll still be able to find good powder conditions on sheltered shady slopes, and you better enjoy it while you can, since winter is rapidly waning.  Conditions are more variable on slopes exposed to the affects of incessant westerly winds or solar warming and subsequent refreezing. You definitely don't want to forget the sunscreen.... It will be mostly sunny today and a bit warmer than yesterday in the mountains.  Hopefully, a westerly breeze will help keep things cool up high, but the snow is likely to get moist and sloppy in sheltered areas and on lots of sunny slopes.  It's 24 degrees at 8400' at Tony Grove and still under 20 at the Campbell Scientific weather station on top of Logan Peak, with average westerly wind speeds in the 15 to 20 mph range.

Snow and Avalanche Conditions:

 Most steep slopes in the region show good stability, and avalanches are unlikely in most places.  But I still have a couple nagging concerns.  First, a warming trend will continue today, and in the heat of the day, this will cause a danger of wet avalanches on steep slopes with saturated surface snow.  The warming may start to affect snow at higher elevations this weekend, and significant heat-induced cornice-falls are possible.  Other heat-related avalanche possibilities include wet-slab and glide avalanches on especially steep slopes.

Second; wind-slabs formed by the strong northwest and west winds of earlier in the week appear to be sticking in place, but you still might trigger a wind-drift avalanche on some very steep slopes in the region.  Some of these wind-drifts are resting on buried weak layers made up of sugary grains called faceted snow.  Weak faceted layers can lead to persistent or longer-lasting instability.  So, although most of the slabs formed by recently wind-drifted snow settled out, some may still be sensitive to your weight.  Most likely, you'll only encounter this problem on isolated and exposed upper elevation slopes near ridge-tops.  Yesterday, I noticed drifts on north through southeast facing slopes above around 8500' in elevation.  You would probably have to get out on a 40 degree or steeper slope to trigger a slab avalanche today.

Bottom Line:

There's a LOW danger on most slopes in the backcountry and avalanches are generally unlikely, especially in sheltered shady terrain.  There's a MODERATE danger, with wind-slab avalanches possible on some very steep upper elevation slopes.  The danger of loose wet avalanches will rise to MODERATE  with daytime heating on any steep slope with saturated surface snow.

Mountain Weather:

It will be much warmer at high elevations on Sunday, and southwest winds will start to crank up significantly.  9500' temperatures are forecast to approach 45 degrees.  Clouds and high winds are in store for Monday ahead of a weakening storm, which will speed over the region on Tuesday.  A more significant storm is possible later in the week

General Information: 

If you're confused by some of this avalanche terminology check out the new Glossary.  For a list of recent avalanches in  the regional backcountry go to Avalanche List.  Snow nerds, check out the new Snow Profiles page.  Check out our Images Page for pictures of recent local avalanches.

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...

   Dave Kikkert will update this advisory by 7:00 Sunday 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. 


National Weather Service - Salt Lake City - Snow.