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

Saturday January 13, 2007:

Hello, this is Toby Weed of the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your Logan Area avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  It's Saturday January 13th, 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 who will present their third annual fundraiser this coming  Friday night, January 19th, at the Bullen Center on Main Street in Downtown.

Current Conditions:

Frigid east winds, which blasted exposed terrain yesterday, continue to whip up the frothy snow at upper elevations this morning. The Campbell Scientific weather station atop Logan Peak reports several hours with average easterly wind speeds of over 40 mph and gusts of well over 50 mph.  It's -8 degrees at 9500', and the Tony Grove Snotel reports 1 degree above zero at 8400'.  Even with Thursday's few-inches of snowfall, the station with 51 inches of total snow, reports only 79% of average water content for the date.   Expect continued arctic-like weather today, so don't go too light on the clothing and watch your partners' exposed skin for the first signs of frostbite.   If you look hard enough, you can find good powder conditions in sheltered, previously untracked areas without Monday's widespread rime-crust.  The crust is still a big factor in the Central Bear River Range.  It is so solid at upper elevations that it's difficult to get purchase with your edges, and even with a few inches of powder on top, I found myself in an uncontrolled powder-pushing side slip as I tried to cross a steep slope with my skins on.  The best dust-on-crust conditions will be found in low angled and sheltered terrain. 

Avalanche Conditions:

The relentless easterly winds steal this morning's avalanche headlines in the region.  A couple inches of light snow didn't change avalanche conditions much, but yesterday the flesh freezing wind scoured exposed east facing slopes down to the bony rime-crust.   Stiff drifts built up on lee slopes at the top of the big west facing slopes in the region, and cross-loading formed obvious wind slabs in and around terrain features like gully walls, sub-ridges, and rock outcroppings.  Snow Safety personnel from resorts in the Ogden Area Mountains report easily triggering wind slab avalanches yesterday during the day.  The obvious drifts became stiffer and the slabs harder and more dangerous in the continuing wind during the day.  I suspect they'll find more solid drifts today, since the winds even intensified a bit overnight and remained easterly.

You might trigger wind slab avalanches on steep slopes in exposed terrain today, and these could be 1 to 2 feet deep.  With the strong east wind, (which is opposite of the prevailing winds) you should suspect drifts in rather unexpected and unusual places.  I'm most concerned about stiff drifts and hardening slabs in exposed upper elevation terrain or at the top of the obscure big west facing avalanche paths, like in the Mount Naomi Wilderness.  But cross-loading also formed drifts and slabs on northwest, north, south, and southwest facing slopes, and also in open or exposed terrain at mid and lower elevations.  The stiff, chalky, and perhaps hollow sounding drifts should be obvious today and as usual, you should avoid them on steep slopes.

Bottom Line:

There is a MODERATE danger in the backcountry, and triggered wind slab avalanches are possible on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees with significant and recent deposits of wind drifted snow.  Drifting will be most widespread in upper elevation exposed terrain, with drifts up to about 2 feet deep possible.  I'm most concerned about directly loaded west facing slopes above about 8500', but  southwest, northwest, and north facing slopes and some at lower elevations are also affected.  Use normal caution and avoid obvious drifts on steep slopes.

Mountain Weather:

We may see a few lingering snow showers today, with an inch or two of accumulation possible.  It will be very cold at high elevations with high temperatures at 9000' likely to remain below zero.  It will be partly cloudy and still frigid on Sunday.  Temperatures will gradually warm in the early part of next week.  The next good chance for snow looks to be late in the coming work week

General Announcements: 

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.  And they're offering a Level 1 Avalanche Class which is scheduled to begin on Thursday January 26th.  Please e-mail [email protected] or call 435-753-0372 if you're interested.

For cool pictures of some of 2006's avalanche activity, including last week's avalanches, visit our Images Page.

These advisories are updated on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and weekend mornings by about 7:00.   I will issue an updated advisory on Sunday morning.   Logan Area advisories are accessible through the new statewide toll-free avalanche information line at, 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.  I'm a little starved for information from you these days.  Your observations are necessary, and the information you provide may save lives. 

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.