Utah Avalanche Center in Logan


 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

 December 3, 2006

Hello and good morning, this is Toby Weed of the Utah Avalanche Center in Logan with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  It's Sunday December 3rd, and it's 7:15 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 Import Auto, located at 502 West 1400 North. 

Current Conditions:

It will be warmer today in the mountains than in the valleys, as we move into a stable weather pattern. Thanks to the arctic weather of the past week you'll be able to find good powder conditions if you can get up high. The problem is, there's not quite enough snow at lower elevations for reasonable access in many areas.  Remember, the Tony Grove Road is not maintained in the winter.  That means, you can't quite drive a wheeled vehicle all the way to the lake, and you should be prepared to get stuck in several feet of snow if you try.  Also, there's all kinds of pedestrian traffic on weekends, so you need to keep the speed down in congested areas.   Most of the snow in the backcountry is still nice and powdery.  In fact, you'll find fine powder conditions on almost all slopes above about 8000' feet in the backcountry.  The snow cover is still pretty thin even up high, and you can easily hit shallowly buried rocks in the soft snow.  I found out the hard way yesterday, that it's pretty easy to damage your machine if you hit one the wrong way. 

There's a 20 mph wind  from the northwest and it's a chilly, 6 degrees at the Campbell Scientific weather station on Logan Peak.  Friday's light snowfall produced about a few  inches in the high country, and there's 30 inches  containing 6.2 inches of water on the total snow stake at the Tony Grove Snotel site.   

 Avalanche Conditions:

 Avalanches are generally unlikely throughout the region, but you still might be able to trigger wind slab avalanches on some very steep slopes in the region.  Although most of the now buried slabs are pretty well bonded by now, a few could be resting on weak sugary snow and be sensitive to your weight.  I'd be most cautious on shallow, upper elevation slopes and around terrain features like gullies and rock outcroppings where wind drifts formed during Thursday's windy weather.  The constant 20 mph northwest winds this morning also may have formed a few small fresh slabs, which should be easy to spot and avoid.

 I've seen a bunch of buried weak snow in the region, but the light new snow from last week isn't enough of a load to cause avalanches to step down into it.  The very cold temperatures are driving a process called temperature gradient metamorphism, where water vapor moves up through the snowpack, transforming the individual snow crystals into sugar-like granules and weakening the bonds between them.  This relieves tension in the slabs but also creates future headaches with buried weak layers.    

  Bottom Line:

Today, there's a LOW danger and avalanches are unlikely on most slopes in the mountains around Logan.  Exceptions are a few very steep wind drifted slopes above an elevation of about 8500' where you might trigger an avalanche and the danger is MODERATE.  

Mountain Weather:

Warm air aloft will cap the cold in the valleys, trapping it. The atmospheric conditions are stable and will only get more so today as a high pressure system gains control of our weather. Mountain temperatures will feel rather balmy, and could reach the mid twenties at 9000'. A dry system could effect the region on Tuesday night, but I don't see much hope for any significant new snow for a while.

 General Information:

This season's  fundraiser will be held on January 19th at the Bullen Center on Main St, so mark your calendars. 

 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.  This advisory will expire on Monday morning.  I'll update it again on Tuesday evening.  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.