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Utah Avalanche Center in Logan

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 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, February 3, 2007:

  Hello and good morning, this is Toby Weed of the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your Logan Area backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Itís Saturday February 3rd, and itís 7:30 am.  This advisory is brought to you in part by the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center in Logan with help from Backcountry.com

Current Conditions:

Strong northwest winds battered the high country yesterday and, according to the wind sensor at the Campbell Scientific weather station on Logan Peak, things picked up in intensity overnight.   An angry inch of two of new snow is all that fell in the Central Bear River Range during the week, and by the moonscape look of things at high elevations yesterday, most of that ended up in Ogden.  Snow conditions are pretty boney in most popular backcountry riding areas.  I can identify my-own ancient tracks on wind-raked ridge tops and even a few snow pits dating back into  December.  Smooth-looking slopes are more often than not plagued by inconsistent and somewhat crusty snow.  At times yesterday, I felt like I really needed an ice-axe and crampons.  The snow on many steep upper elevation slopes is bullet-proof, and a few times when we could barely hold an edge on big exposed slopes, we became concerned about uncontrolled, slide-for-life type falls. 

Avalanche Conditions:

Problem # 1:    North and west winds built sensitive drifts with the skimpy new snow along high ridgelines and in other exposed upper elevation terrain.  You might trigger stiff wind slab avalanches today on steep drifted slopes.  The chalky-looking new drifts should be fairly easy to spot and avoid.  But once set into motion, some could pick up steam and run far and fast on an existing slick surface crust.  I easily triggered a handful of small wind slabs traversing an exposed southwest facing slope yesterday.  The drifts were easy to identify but were also more sensitive than I expected.  The small avalanches ranged from a couple inches to a foot deep and 10 to 30 feet wide.  No problem yesterday, although we thought about the negative consequences of a possible magic-carpet-ride down the long slope we were crossing.  With continued and even increased winds overnight, I'd expect both stiffer and larger drifts today.  The problem is that they also could be less sensitive today and allow you to get out on them before breaking loose.

Problem #2:    Youíre still likely to trigger significant dry loose avalanches or sluffs on very steep and shady mid and snow baring lower elevation slopes.  The shallow snow in these areas has completely rotted out, and on a steep slope it doesnít take much to get all the cohesionless sugary gains to move downhill, like sand pouring off a cliff.  

Bottom Line:

There is a MODERATE danger and wind slab avalanches are possible on steep upper elevation and wind exposed slopes in the backcountry.  Significant sluffs or loose dry avalanches are also possible on very steep north facing or shady slopes at mid and lower elevations.  The danger remains LOW on the majority of steep slopes in the region.  You should continue to use normal caution and practice safe travel protocols.

Weather:

Weíll be under a northwesterly flow through the weekend, with some continuing strong northwest wind possible this morning.  We may see a little snowfall tonight and tomorrow, but don't get your hopes up for anything significant.  Mountain temperatures will rebound and the inversion will build again for the early part of next week.  A moist westerly pattern will hopefully set up and bring some threat of snow to the region beginning around Thursday.

General Information:

 I will update this advisory on Sunday morning by about 7:30.

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.

 

 

Thursday,