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 April 1, 2006

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 April 1st 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.

Mountain Weather:

The National Weather Service has issued a Snow Advisory for the mountains of northern Utah in effect until 10:00 tonight.  It's snowing early this morning in the Bear River Range, but we should see a break later on.  Snowfall will start up again and intensify this afternoon, with 4 to 8 inches of accumulation likely in the mountains before the storm rolls on past tonight.  After a brief break, another storm will roll into the region early next week.  And, it looks like this one might stick around for a while.

Current Conditions:

Today we'll find good powder conditions at higher elevations in select, sheltered areas.  You can ride anywhere on a cake-like crust that generally supports your machine and is now covered by boot-deep powder.  The mountains picked up an inch or two of snowfall overnight.  Sustained southerly winds drifted lots of surface snow in past couple days, and they will have formed fresh drifts overnight.  The winds are diminishing somewhat and are currently 15 mph from the southwest at the Campbell Scientific weather station on Logan Peak, and It's 23 degrees at 9400'.

Snow and Avalanche Conditions:

  This morning, you might  trigger avalanches on steep wind-drifted slopes at upper elevations. Over the past couple days, persistent south winds built wind-slabs on lee slopes and around terrain features like gullies, rock outcroppings, and sub-ridges.  Yesterday I could easily identify these drifts, but they'll be covered up by a few new inches today.  Still, you should poke around and avoid stiff, rounded or hollow sounding deposits on steep slopes.  The already huge cornices built up and out some more during the week, and you might unexpectedly break off school-bus sized blocks.  Seasonal warming will and is also leading to cornice instability.  In some cases, a large cornice-fall or a smaller wind-slab or wet avalanche overrunning a steep slope could cause a deeper release.  This was the case above the town of Mendon in the Wellsville Range on Wednesday, when a small natural avalanche initiated a sizable slab avalanche, which stepped down to an old buried sugary or faceted weak layer.

The sun may come out for a little while today, and it only takes a little while this time of year for the surface snow to get saturated or previously formed crusts to turn to mush.  Wet avalanches are possible on steep slopes with saturated snow.  You should leave an area if you start sinking into bottomless mush or, if you can easily trigger roller-balls or snails or, if you see recent fresh avalanche activity.

Bottom Line:

There's a MODERATE danger and avalanches are possible on upper elevation wind-drifted slopes facing northwest through northeast and steeper than about 35 degrees in the backcountry.  With heavy snowfall in the forecast for this afternoon and evening, the danger of new snow or soft slab avalanches will increase and become more widespread.  The danger might increase to CONSIDERABLE in some exposed areas with significant new snow accumulations.  Seasonal warming and possible green-housing may cause a MODERATE danger of wet avalanches on steep sheltered slopes at lower and mid-elevations.

General Information: 

If you're confused by some of our avalanche terms check out the cool new Avalanche Encyclopedia

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

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.