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 11, 2006

Hello and happy Veteran's Day, this is Toby Weed of the Utah Avalanche Center in Logan with a special early season avalanche statement.  It's Saturday November 11th, and it's 7:00 in the morning.  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 midday today through Sunday morning. High southerly winds and light snowfall will herald in the next wave in a progressive storm cycle.  6 inches to a foot of new snow accumulation is possible on upper elevation slopes by Sunday.  Another, stronger storm will be on our doorstep on Monday.

Current Conditions:

Under overcast skies at 5:00 this morning, it's 25 degrees at the Campbell Scientific weather station at 9500' on Logan Peak. South winds picked up overnight with hourly averages already close to 40 mph.  Today the south wind will only increase and light snow will fall in advance of a well defined cold front, which should arrive late this afternoon.

Yesterday at high elevations we found good turning conditions in about a foot of new snow.  Under the powder, a crust from last week's warm spell is starting to solidify nicely, and it now generally supports your weight. The solid underlying snow keeps you off the shallowly buried ground if you stay on low angle smooth slopes.  Rocks and other obstacles are everywhere, so you'll have to keep your speed down and your attention level up.

Avalanche Conditions: 

The avalanche danger will rise as strong southerly winds build sensitive drifts and stiff slabs on upper elevation  slopes in the backcountry. You could trigger wind slab avalanches on steep drifted slopes where early season snow filled in and smoothed out avalanche starting zones.  The areas I'm most concerned about will be limited to north and northeast facing slopes above about 8500' in elevation.  Watch out for stiff drifts building up on steep exposed slopes. These may be chalky in appearance and could be kind of hollow sounding.  Remember that shooting cracks are a sure-fire sign of instability.  Before committing to any steep slope you should dig down to the graupel infested interface between old and new snow to test the bond between the two layers. 

Now's a good time to replace the batteries in your transceiver, and force your partners to practice with probes, shovels, and beacons.  That way you'll be able to work out any equipment or technique problems.

Bottom Line:

Strong southerly winds today and fairly heavy snowfall tonight will cause a MODERATE avalanche danger on steep slopes at upper elevations this weekend. Triggered wind slab avalanches will be possible above about 8500' on north and northeast facing slopes steeper than about 35 degrees.

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.