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

Early Season Avalanche Statement

 November 8, 2006

Hello, this is Toby Weed of the Utah Avalanche Center in Logan with a special early season avalanche statement.  It's Wednesday November 8th, and it's 7:30 in the evening.  This advisory is brought to you in part by the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center in Logan with the help of the Cache Valley community.

Mountain Weather:

The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City has issued a Snow Advisory for late tonight through tomorrow morning.   The first of three progressively stronger weather systems will move over the region tonight bringing some significant snow to the high country.  6 to 8 inches of accumulation is possible on upper elevation slopes by Thursday afternoon.  A couple more impulses will bring more winter weather to the region, with Monday's storm looking most impressive.

Current Conditions:

It's pretty bony up there with only a foot of total snow on slopes facing the northern third of the compass and none at all below about 8'000 ft in elevation and even the highest sunny slopes.   In these conditions you have to be extra cautious of barely obscured rocks and other obstacles.  The unseasonably warm temperatures of the past couple days melted a lot of the early season snow, and today I found a warm moist layer of slushy snow on the surface of north facing slopes, even at higher elevations.  This will probably quickly become a supportable crust under colder temperatures as new snow starts stacking up on it. You'll find the best powder turns on smooth, low angled grassy slopes facing the northern third of the compass.  Enough new snow may make it possible to ride on some upper elevation roads, but remember if you leave a road you have to be riding your machine over snow. Resource and vehicle damage may result in these very shallow snow conditions.

Avalanche Conditions: 

The avalanche danger will rise on upper elevation steep slopes in the backcountry as new snow rapidly accumulates over the next few days.  You could trigger avalanches consisting of new snow on slopes with pre-existing snow.  Of primary concern are places where early season snow filled in and smoothed out avalanche prone shady slopes at upper elevations. The winds are forecast to be strong enough to build slabby drifts with the new snow, which might add to a rising danger.   You should dig down to the interface between old and new snow to test the bond between the two layers.  I found a weak layer consisting of large sugary or faceted crystals just below the slushy surface.  We'll have to keep an eye on this as it is buried by a forming slab...

Bottom Line:

Heavy snowfall and moderate winds will cause a MODERATE avalanche danger on steep slopes at upper elevations. Avalanches will be possible on some upper elevation slopes with pre-existing snow and steeper than about 35 degrees.  Heavier than forecast snowfall and/or strong winds will cause a rising danger.

General Information: 

I'm back in the office now, and I'll start producing regular advisories as soon as there's enough snow in the backcountry. Logan Area advisories will be accessible through the new statewide toll-free avalanche info line, call 1-888-999-4019

I will give a free Avalanche Talk, open to all, at the Logan Ranger District offices at 1500 E Hwy 89 in Logan on Tuesday, November 21 at 6:30.  I'm in the process of planning free talks and avalanche classes, so if you or your group would like to schedule me in, you should make arrangements soon.

If you're confused by some of our avalanche terms check out the cool new Avalanche Encyclopedia.  Please  send backcountry observations to [email protected] or leave us a message at 755-3638, especially if you see or trigger an avalanche in the backcountry.

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.