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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

Tuesday February 13, 2007:

  Hello, this is Toby Weed of the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your Logan Area backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Itís Tuesday February 13th, and itís 10:30 pm.  This advisory is brought to you in part by the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center in Logan with help from Avalanchetools.com.

Current Conditions:

With fast snow, you'll find the best riding and turning conditions on low angled slopes.  It's only dust-on-crust for a normal year in Utah but oh so nice, ankle-deep pow-pow this year.  The higher in elevation and farther south you go in the region, the more new snow you'll find.   Lower elevations are punchy, and you easily break through a moist crust and could spin it into bottomless sugar if you get off the packed trail.

Avalanche Conditions:

 Many areas in the Central Bear River Range and most mid-elevation slopes only picked up a few inches of accumulation from last weekend's storm.  Significant and widespread slabs did not build in these areas, and existing wind drifts are rather small and somewhat pockety in nature.  You could potentially trigger avalanches on steep slopes where drifts built up on buried layers of very weak sugary snow.  A rime-crust from early January will likely be associated with any failure into old snow. 

  Much more snow fell at upper elevations in the Northern Wasatch and the Wellsville Ranges, and very broad, 2 to 3' deep avalanches have been common in the past couple days.  Yesterday morning, I noticed a couple broad crowns from wide natural avalanches on the east faces of the Wellsville Mountains. These, on steep northeast facing slopes are not necessarily a big surprise, but many slopes that didn't avalanche could be hanging in a delicate balance on Wednesday.  In some areas, the notoriously tricky persistent weak layers we've been worrying about are now overloaded by a substantial slab. Snow safety personnel in the Ogden Mountains today continued to produce positive results with explosive and ski testing.  Very experienced backcountry professionals in the Central Wasatch continue to unintentionally trigger avalanches, and a few took unintended rides.  

Here are a few obvious clues to keep an eye out for:

   -Is the snow talking to you?  Audible collapsing (or whoompfing) is now widespread in areas with buried weak snow where a significant slab has built up. 

  -Cracking....Are you causing shooting cracks to propagate through a significant surface slab?

   -Are there recent avalanches on similar slopes in the vicinity?

A yes answer to any of these questions might indicate a higher (or considerable) danger on steep slopes, and you could probably trigger an avalanche.

Checking no to all above questions and less fresh snow might indeed indicate less danger, with the slab still insubstantial.  

Bottom Line:

  Overall, there's a MODERATE danger and human triggered avalanches are possible on steep upper elevation slopes in the Logan Area Backcountry.   The most danger exists above around 8500' on wind-drifted slopes facing north, northeast, and east and in areas with more than a foot of freshly deposited snow from the weekend storm.  The danger remains CONSIDERABLE. on steep upper elevation slopes in areas with significant deposits of wind-drifted snow, and you could still probably trigger dangerous slab avalanches in places.

Mountain Weather:

On Wednesday, it will be mostly cloudy with a chance of a snowflake or two.  A disturbance moving from the Northwest will bring more much needed snowfall to the region on Thursday and Thursday night, with 6 or 7 inches of accumulation in the mountains forecast and a moderate westerly wind for that timeframe...

 General Information:

Check out the recently released Media Page, which shows the current and forecast danger for our coverage areas across the state.

Please send me an e-mail at [email protected] or leave me a message at 755-3638 if you see evidence of recent avalanche activity or avalanches in the backcountry.  The information you provide may save lives...

 This advisory will expire on Wednesday night. I will update it again Thursday evening.

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.

Thursd