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

Thursday January 25, 2007:

Hello, this is Toby Weed of the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your Logan Area avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  It's Thursday January 25th, and it's 8:45 in the evening.  This advisory is brought to you in part by the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center in Logan, with help from

Current Conditions:

Despite less than ideal snow conditions, it's nice to escape the murk and ascend up to much nicer weather in the mountains.  Today's high temperatures reached the mid-forties up at Tony Grove for the second straight day, while staying right around freezing on Logan Peak.  It's quite a pleasant shock to drive up canyon for a half hour and exit the car at the trailhead into air that's 25 or 30 degrees warmer than what you left behind in the valley.  You can find fairly nice shallow powder or dust-on-crust conditions on shady slopes at upper elevations.  On upper elevation slopes in the Central Bear River Range, the rime crust which formed two-and-a-half weeks ago is still a prominent factor.  On slopes exposed to northerly winds the solid crust is hard and very slick.  You might ride up a steep hill with nice shallow powder only to find the glossy and unforgiving ice layer at the top or in the steepest part of your climb.  The soft sugary snow in the deep dark trees is fun to play in, but you sink deeply into rotten base layers and in many places clear to the ground.  You have to be very cautious not to stick your ski tip under a branch or tag shallowly buried rocks.  It's also getting pretty easy to spin your track into bottomless sugary snow at mid-elevations or in the dark forests where the snow is shallow and lacks much substance.

Avalanche Conditions:

Avalanches remain unlikely on most slopes in the region, but there are a few exceptions.  On very steep slopes with a shallow and weak overall snowpack you might trigger dry point-release avalanches or sluffs and although these are fairly controllable if you stay on your feet and out of the way, some could entrain enough snow to push you off a ledge or into a rock.   I'm also beginning to think that in some areas mid-pack weak layers have weakened to the point that soft sugary slabs may be possible on a few isolated and very steep slopes in the region. The other obvious problem is caused by solar warming on sheltered sunny slopes at both mid and upper elevations.  Some slopes collect reflected heat like a solar oven, and the surface snow gets moist and sloppy like a flavored snow-cone.  In the heat of midday on steep slopes warmed by the sun, you might trigger slow moving wet point-release avalanches.  These might entrain a significant amount of heavy wet snow as they move down-slope and may well be dangerous to anyone below in the line of fire.  If you start sinking into wet snow, if you see roller balls or snow snails developing, or if you notice wet activity on similar slopes it's time to head for the shade.

Bottom Line:

On the majority of slopes in the backcountry there's still a LOW danger and avalanches are generally unlikely in the region.  However,  you could trigger small soft slab or dry loose point-release avalanches on isolated very steep slopes.  These are possible on shady slopes at mid-elevations and in areas with shallow overall snow cover.  Solar warming will cause a MODERATE danger of wet point-release avalanches on steep, sheltered and sunny slopes in the heat of the day.

Mountain Weather:

We are in for at least a couple more high pressure days, with haze and smog continuing to build in the valley and fine sunny and mild weather in the mountains.  A small storm may affect the region over the coming weekend, with an inch or so of snow possible on Saturday night.  Our next faint hope for a change in the weather pattern comes on Tuesday night or Wednesday, with a trough of low pressure riding over the Pacific ridge into the Great Basin from the Northwest.  I wouldn't bet my paycheck on a big dump, but at least we should keep our fingers crossed.

General Announcements: 

The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center-Logan will present a Level 1 Avalanche Class which is scheduled to begin on Friday January 26th at 5:30.  It's not too late to sign up.  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 7:30.    This advisory will expire on Friday night. I will update it again on Saturday 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.