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

Sunday January 14, 2007:

Hello and good morning, this is Toby Weed of the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your Logan Area avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  It's Sunday January 14th, and it's 7:10 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:

So cold...I am reminded of time spent at high elevations in Alaska.  Too cold to talk....Too cold to stop...  It's hard to do simple things; to drink cold water or eat frozen sandwiches.  Frigid conditions continue in the area, with Logan Summit taking the low temperature prize, reading 19 degrees below zero this morning. Temperatures across the mountains remain in the negative single digits, with -9 on Logan Peak and -5 at Tony Grove.  Expect continued arctic-like weather today.   A moderate breeze is from the north.  It'll be partly cloudy today, and high temperatures could rise into the single digits.  Bring your best cold weather gear, and keep a watch on your partners' exposed skin for the first signs of frostbite.   With a little imagination and a good attitude you can still find slopes with good powder conditions.  We've had success at mid-elevations, on the western slopes, and in more obscure areas lacking underlying tracks.    A few inches of soft powdery snow covers a widespread rime-crust in the Central Bear River Range.  The crust ranges from ice-rink-hard on top of Naomi Peak, to breakable and translucent near Tony Grove Lake, to thin and zippery in the Steam Mill Area.

Avalanche Conditions:

Avalanches are unlikely this morning on most slopes in the region.  In most areas there's plenty of weak snow, but not a slab necessary for avalanches to occur. There are exceptions to this and Friday, easterly winds whipped up Thursday's light powder, forming stiff drifts in exposed terrain.  Yesterday we triggered isolated shooting cracks by walking over strangely placed ridge top drifts wrought with sastrugi.    Although the drifts are now solidly welded in place on most slopes, there are likely to be a few rouge wind slabs on very steep slopes that you might be able to trigger.  The stiff, chalky, and perhaps hollow sounding drifts should be obvious again today and as usual, you should avoid them on steep slopes.

   You are likely to trigger loose snow sluffs on very steep slopes.  The weak sugary or faceted snow on shallow slopes at mid-elevations is fun to play in now, but it could be a loaded gun if we ever get a real snowstorm or a storm cycle.  The frigid weather is only making the snow weaker, with depth hoar development rampant, especially on slopes with less than 3 feet of total snow (and there are thousands of these this year).  Another potential persistent weak layer made up of frost crystals or surface hoar is also growing like mad in sheltered areas.

Bottom Line:

There is a LOW avalanche danger on most steep slopes in the backcountry. There are exceptions to this and a MODERATE danger on slopes approaching about 40 degrees with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.  Triggered wind slab avalanches are possible in isolated and perhaps unusual terrain due to an easterly loading wind.  Use normal caution and avoid obvious drifts on steep slopes.

 Mountain Weather:

It looks like rather benign weather in the near future with a high pressure developing aloft.  We'll see gradually moderating temperatures at upper elevations in the next few days and mostly clear skies. The next Pacific storm scheduled for late in the work week looks kind of like another let down. 

General Announcements: 

The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center-Logan will present 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.   This advisory will expire on Monday morning,  I will update it again on Tuesday evening.  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.