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

 November 30, 2006

Hello , this is Toby Weed of the Utah Avalanche Center in Logan with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  It's Thursday November 30th, and it's 8:30 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 Trailhead in downtown Logan. 

Current Conditions:

Frigid weather continues, and the snow in sheltered areas is staying nice and powdery.  Constant westerly winds are battering exposed slopes, building cake-like crusts on the surface in some areas and depositing stiff wind slabs in others.  You'll find good powder conditions above about 8000' feet in the backcountry, but you still have to watch for obstacles buried shallowly in the foot or so of this week's fresh snow.  Temperatures at the summit of Logan Peak have been gradually climbing throughout the day and have now reached an almost scorching 10 degrees.  A constant west, northwesterly wind continues on the mountaintops, averaging thirty miles-an-hour as it has for most of the day.  Travel in exposed terrain felt rather difficult today due to the cold and windy conditions, and my party quickly retreated to sheltered terrain.  A few more inches of light snow may fall tonight and tomorrow, and I expect snow conditions to stay winter-like and fluffy in sheltered areas through the weekend.

 Avalanche Conditions:

My biggest concern is the wind, which has certainly built significant slabs on some steep exposed slopes in the region.  Today we kicked off a couple small slabs that had built up overnight in terrain features.  The drifts had formed in gullies and vertically down sub-ridges.  I noticed a few stiff drifts well down off the ridgeline in areas that are generally fairly sheltered.  You'll want to be cautious around any steep slope with recently deposited, wind drifted snow. And remember, a few inches of powder on Friday could bury and obscure these drifts, which were pretty obvious today.  Possible wind slab avalanches, running on Monday's snow, could be more than a foot deep, but probably will not propagate wider than the drift-catching terrain allows.  Avalanches are unlikely on sheltered slopes where only a foot or so of cold light powder (and no slab) sits harmlessly on sugary old snow we call near surface facets.  Buried weak snow can be found in many areas, but the light new snow from this week isn't enough to cause avalanches to step down into it.  With many good views of the high country in the Bear River Range in the past couple days, I've noticed no recent natural avalanches.  

  Bottom Line:

On Friday you'll find a MODERATE avalanche danger in the backcountry, with triggered wind slab avalanches possible on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees with significant deposits of recently wind drifted snow.  You might find these problem areas on slopes facing northeast through southeast and at elevations above about 8500'.   There's a LOW danger on most other slopes and in all sheltered terrain.

Mountain Weather:

A few inches of light snow may fall in the high country overnight and on Friday as a rather weak system moves over far Northern Utah.  The cloudiness and snow showers will move east of the region on Saturday and conditions are in place for the dreaded inversion to set up in Cache Valley for the weekend.  Keep your fingers crossed for more active weather next week, but disagreement and uncertainty in the models will keep me from promising anything at this point.

 General Information:

Click here for information on this season's upcoming fundraiser. 

 I will give a free Avalanche Awareness Talk, open to all and sponsored by the USU Free-riders club, at The Directive on 100 East in Logan on Wednesday, December 6th at 6:30.  Also, the USU Outdoor Recreation Center Basic Avalanche class begins on Thursday, December 7th, so be sure to sign up in advance for that.

   I'll be updating my advisories on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and weekend mornings by about 7:00.  I'll update this advisory again on Saturday morning.  Logan Area advisories will be accessible through the new statewide toll-free avalanche info line; 1-888-999-4019.

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.