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 17, 2006

Hello, this is Toby Weed of the Utah Avalanche Center in Logan with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  It's Sunday  December 17th, 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 help from

Current Conditions:

This morning, a very strong east wind is ripping across the high country,  raking yesterday's light powder into the trees and building stiff drifts in unfamiliar places. In places there's a very solid ice-crust under a few inches of light snow at elevations below about 8400'.  Other areas, like on the east side of the range, the crust is absent, and observers report triggering audible collapses and cracking into buried sugary layers at lower elevations.  At higher elevations yesterday, half-a-foot of Utah smoke rested on last week's thick layer of supportable snow.  The wind is from the east, sustaining 50 mph with frequent higher gusts.  It's 1 degree at the Campbell Scientific weather station on Logan Peak. 

Mountain Weather:

The National Weather Service has continued a Winter Storm Warning for Utah's Northern Mountains through 10 pm tonight.  Even though little snow fell last night in the region, several inches are possible during periods of heavy snowfall today.  In addition, strong winds from the east are forecast.  The storm should move off to the northeast, leaving us under a building ridge of high pressure on Monday, which will continue well into the upcoming work week. 

Avalanche Conditions:

 I'm not very familiar with a strong easterly flow accompanied by heavy snowfall, but I expect you'll find drifts rapidly building up in strange places, and well down off ridge-lines.  Widespread loading is possible on the huge west and northwest facing slopes in the region.  Shallow, normally wind-raked slopes facing the prevailing winds will become leeward fetch areas today.  So everything will be mixed-up and different.  Wind slab avalanches on west and north facing slopes will present the most obvious danger today.  On steep slopes free of Thursday's rain-crust, you might trigger a significant and dangerous hard slab avalanche failing on one of a few existing persistent buried weak layers. (pictures from Friday) Pay attention to obvious signs of instability like whoomphing and slope cracking, and recent natural avalanches.  Remember, wind loading and heavy snowfall are also obvious indications of a rising avalanche danger.

Bottom Line:

The avalanche danger will rise back up to  CONSIDERABLE at upper elevations in the backcountry today. Triggered wind slab avalanches are probable on west through northeast facing slopes steeper than around 35 degrees with recent deposits of wind-drifted snow.   Dangerous, triggered deep hard slab avalanches are also possible on some steep slopes above about 7000'.   On south and east facing slopes and at lower elevations,  the danger will rise to MODERATE on steep wind-drifted slopes, with triggered avalanches a possibility.

General Information:

 The Tony Grove Road is not maintained in the winter, and the heavy wet snow in the last couple days probably shut down wheeled access to the area near the lake.  You should be prepared to get stuck in a couple feet of snow if you try to head up this weekend.  Turning around may be difficult.    Rumor has it that Beaver Mountain will be able open up this week.

  The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center-Logan will present the 3rd annual fundraiser on Friday, January 19th at the Bullen Center in downtown Logan.

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

  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.