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 8, 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 April 8th 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:

The last few inches of snowfall with Thursday's storm was a bit heavier and wetter than the rest, and   rime capped the new snow on Friday (photo).  You could ride almost anywhere, and you'd only sink a couple inches into the new snow.  And you wouldn't bog down or start spinning your track into deeper snow until you got onto fairly steep hills.  We found easy trail-breaking but somewhat challenging turning conditions, and the heavy wind-drifted and rime-glued new snow certainly could not be considered powder by any stretch of the imagination.  Mountain temperatures are hovering near freezing this morning, with the Campbell Scientific weather station on Logan Peak reading 32 degrees.  A familiar southwesterly wind is averaging over 30 mph along the ridge-tops.  Although it appears to be clear this morning, clouds should roll in, and mostly cloudy skies are forecast for the day.  9500' temperatures may climb above 40 degrees, and green-housing is likely to heat things up in sheltered areas.

 Snow and Avalanche Conditions:

Clearing yesterday revealed a few large natural avalanches that occurred during Thursday's blizzard.  We found a very broad natural avalanche in upper White Pine Canyon under Naomi Peak's east ridge.  The 1 to 2' deep and 800'+ wide crown was somewhat drifted in, indicating that the avalanche occurred during the storm.  Also, a trusted observer reported seeing evidence of a large natural in the Wellsville Range above Maple Bench and the town of Mendon. The reported and observed natural wind-slab avalanches from the storm seemed confined to north and east facing slopes.  The rime-crust apparently glued most remaining slabs in place, and weak layer instabilities largely settled out with yesterday's seasonal warmth.  You guys bravely tested lots of suspect steep upper elevation slopes yesterday, and I didn't notice that you triggered any significant avalanches.  In the Tony Grove area things appeared pretty stable, but you still might trigger lingering wind slabs on some steep slopes in the region.  The Wellsville Range and the mountains above Mantua picked up more snowfall with this week's storm, and with a shallower overall snowpack, buried weak layers are more prevalent in these areas.

Our biggest concern today will be wet avalanches, spawned by spring warming.  Lingering cloud-cover kept a lid on solar warming at upper elevations until early afternoon yesterday, and then lots of natural wet point-releases occurred on sunny slopes.  Today, with possible green-housing and warm temperatures at upper elevations, I expect a possibility of wet avalanches on shady slopes as well.  Avalanches may start small and then entrain lots of snow as they descend, piling up deeply in deposition zones.  If you notice the surface snow getting slushy and sticky or you start kicking off snails or roller-balls, it's probably time to head for low angled terrain or back to the spring cleaning. And, you should not be on any steep slope where you are sinking deeply into mushy snow.

Bottom Line:

There's a MODERATE danger and avalanches are possible on upper elevation wind-drifted slopes steeper than about 35 degrees.  Warmth will also cause a MODERATE danger of wet avalanches on any steep slope with saturated surface snow.

Mountain Weather:

We should see clouds today and warm temperatures.  A snowflake or two is possible as well.  Tomorrow could be a few degrees warmer, with cloudiness again.  A storm will bring a moderate shot of snowfall to the mountains on Monday, and unsettled weather will continue through the upcoming work-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...

  I will update this advisory again 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.