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 statement

Tuesday April 17, 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.  It’s Tuesday April 17th and it’s 8:00 in the morning.  This advisory is brought to you in part by the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center in Logan with help from Avalanchetools.com.

 We will continue to issue avalanche statements intermittently through the month of April.

Current Conditions:

 You can find nice smooth spring snow conditions in the backcountry, but you might have to ride on paved road or walk over a little dry ground to get up to upper elevations.  Most people have stowed the winter gear and the backcountry is pretty quiet and smooth these days….But, we’re not quite done with the season.  A foot to a foot-and-a-half of accumulation is expected at upper elevations overnight…Westerly winds are expected to be strong with frontal passage but diminish on Wednesday.  Better dust off the goggles…

Avalanche Conditions:

 One party reported sighting a significant recent wet slab avalanche, probably triggered by a cornice fall off a cliff.   With some other observed wet activity from the early April warm spell, this avalanche near High Creek Lake on a northeast facing slope at around 9000’ illustrates a definite exception to the generally stable snowpack this spring.

Although I’ve mostly found solid fern-like conditions in the backcountry recently, you still need to asses the springtime snow in the backcountry and you could encounter avalanche problems.  Wet avalanches are possible when slopes are softened by melt…Loose wet avalanches become likely when fresh snow is initially warmed up.  Deeper, wet slabs, cornice falls, and glide avalanches all become more possible when it doesn’t get cold enough at night to refreeze the snow and melt-water invades existing weak layers or pools on crusts or bedrock.  You can avoid many problems by getting an early start and avoiding steep slopes that are softened by midday heat.

Whenever we get real a spring snowstorm, wind slab and or storm snow avalanches will become a concern.  The stability of the new snow depends on the condition of the sun-crust it falls upon.  The theory is; if the crust is frozen solidly when the snow starts to accumulate it won’t be as stable as it will be if the crust is soft and warm.  Wind drifting might cause a significant danger on lee slopes near ridge-lines and around terrain features like gullies or rock out-croppings and along vertical sub-ridges.  New snow instabilities (and powder snow quality) will only linger for a little while after the storm abates, but loose wet avalanches will likely be an issue as slopes are warmed.

Mountain Weather:

The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Watch for the Mountains of Northern Utah for late tonight through Thursday morning.  Snow and rain showers are possible this evening, but accumulating snowfall is expected with and after frontal passage early Wednesday morning.  A foot to 1.5 feet of accumulation is possible by Thursday morning.

General Information:

Check out photos of avalanches in the Logan Area on our images page.

Go to the Avalanche Encyclopedia if you have any questions about terms I use in the advisory

Please continue to e-mail backcountry observations to me at [email protected] or leave me a message at 755-3638.  I will frequently check my messages throughout the spring.

I will update this statement as conditions change.

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.