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 7, 2006

Hello, this is Toby Weed of the Utah Avalanche Center in Logan with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  It's Thursday December 7th, and it's 9:00 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. 

Current Conditions:

The upper elevation snow is suffering from the effects of sustained winds and recent warm temperatures, and you'll find challenging snow conditions on most slopes.  Today we found variable wind-hammered snow on north facing slopes, most everything scoured off west facing slopes, slushy surface conditions on south facing slopes, and a fun radiation crust on east facing slopes.  The snow is getting punchy in shallow areas, and sometimes you sink clear down of to the ground in sugary cohesion-less snow we call facets. Sheltered shady slopes below the highest elevations seem to be the best bet for finding re-crystallized, powder-like snow on Friday.  Today, it was fairly calm in the mountains with high temperatures near 45 degrees at 8500' and 40 degrees at 9000'.   There's a bit less than 27 inches of snow on the ground at the Tony Grove Snotel site with around 84 percent of the average water content for the date.

 Avalanche Conditions:

 Avalanches are generally unlikely throughout the region, but you still might find places in very steep terrain where you could trigger an avalanche.  I'd be most cautious on shallow, upper elevation slopes and around terrain features like gullies and rock outcroppings where wind drifts formed during the early week's somewhat windy weather.  The problem isn't necessarily avalanches this weekend, but the fact that all weaknesses we now see developing in the snow will become persistent buried weak layers later on in the season.  The generally thin snowpack is suffering from last week's cold temperatures and a resulting large temperature gradient.  Shallow areas are rapidly rotting out, and in many places you sink through sugary snow to the ground.  Today we saw many slopes with well developed, two dimensional frost crystals we call surface hoar.  On slopes exposed to direct sun, a radiation crust formed yesterday and got stouter today. Future stability problems are everywhere. 

  Bottom Line:

There's a LOW danger and avalanches are unlikely on most slopes in the mountains around Logan.  You might find isolated exceptions in very steep terrain.   

Mountain Weather:

A weak cold front will move in on Saturday with an increasing southerly flow, which will hopefully mix up the atmosphere and scour some of the smog out of the valleys.  A stronger splitting system cold bring a few inches of snow to the mountains of Northern Utah, with possible snowfall beginning Sunday evening.  Unsettled weather should continue into early next week.

 General Information:

I'll give a free Avalanche Awareness Talk at the Logan Ranger District offices on Thursday, December 14th.

 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 a couple feet of snow if you try.  Turning around may be difficult.  Also remember, with limited access to upper elevation snow elsewhere, there's traffic of all kinds on the Tony Grove Road, and motorized users need to keep their speed down in congested areas, especially in the proximity of pedestrians.   

   I'll update my advisories on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and weekend mornings by about 7:00.  This advisory will expire on Friday evening.  I'll update it 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.