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

Thursday April 6, 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 Thursday April 6th 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

The Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center has issued an Avalanche Warning for the mountains of northern Utah.  Heavy snow and strong winds have created a HIGH avalanche danger.  Expected warming on Friday will result in wet avalanches.  Backcountry travelers should avoid and stay out from under steep slopes.

Current Conditions:

Heavy snowfall and high winds blasted the mountains today.   I was all alone and apparently the only person up in the vast Logan Canyon backcountry.  For fear of avalanches in the extremely stormy weather, I stayed low down and in the relative shelter of trees.  Even so, heavy wet snow piled up deeply while I was out, completely filling in and obscuring my ascent tracks in about an hour-and-a-half while I slogged through the blizzard.  This evening, the winds have shifted around from the northwest and diminished drastically.  The snowfall is winding down now in the Logan area, but we picked up a good amount of snow from the storm.  Well over a foot of somewhat heavy and wind-blasted snow fell on the automated weather stations in the Bear River Range, and a solid two feet dumped in the mountains above Ogden.

 Snow and Avalanche Conditions:

Although upper elevation slopes stayed hidden from me in the storm, the roaring westerly winds and rapidly accumulating heavy snow certainly spelled an increasing avalanche danger.  It was an active avalanche day in the Wasatch Range, with ski areas reporting numerous significant natural and intentionally triggered avalanches.  I'm only now just learning that a large natural avalanche hit the road in Little Cottonwood Canyon this evening, knocking a fully loaded vehicle off the highway and into the the steep canyon below.  Thankfully, no one was seriously injured.

Wind-drift and new snow avalanches will present the biggest danger on Friday morning.  Today's new snow fell on a slick, warmed and then re-frozen snow surface, and today it didn't bond very well.  The instabilities should begin to settle out and the fresh slabs will become less sensitive on Friday, but you could still trigger avalanches on lots of steep slopes at mid and upper elevations.  The sun should come out with full force in the morning, and we'll be thrust quickly back into warm spring weather conditions. This drastic temperature change may lead to continued slab avalanche activity as slopes are initially exposed to solar warming.  The windy storm further built up the huge cornices in the region, and the deceitful monsters are likely to be rather sensitive, especially when they're warmed up. Rapid warming will quickly turn the new snow into sticky slush, and wet avalanches will be likely on steep slopes across the region.  You should definitely avoid and stay out from under steep slopes and avalanche paths.

Bottom Line:

There's a CONSIDERABLE danger in the Logan area, with avalanches probable on wind-drifted slopes steeper than about 35 degrees in the backcountry.  With rapid solar warming, the danger of wet avalanches on steep slopes with saturated new snow will quickly rise to CONSIDERABLE across the region.  In some areas, especially in the southern part of the forecast zone and in the Wellsville Range, where more snow fell, the danger could rise to HIGH with drastic warming.

Mountain Weather:

The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City has continued a Winter Storm Warning for the region through Thursday night. It will warm up significantly on Friday with 10,000' temperatures forecast to be near 40 degrees.  Clouds will roll back in over the weekend with mild temperatures, and a weak storm should pass over us on around Monday night.  Another good-sized storm may affect the region later on in the week.

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...

This advisory will expire on Friday night.  I will update it again Saturday 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.