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Logan area Avalanche Advisory

Monday January 14, 2008

Hello and good morning, this is Toby Weed of the Utah Avalanche Center with your Logan Area backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Itís Monday January 14th, and itís about 7:30 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

Current Conditions:

The big air specialists are in town, and you guys are pushing amazing new board flight records with big drops off the rocks above Tony Grove Lake and under the East Face of Mt. Magog.I found nice soft powder on upper elevation sunny slopes yesterday, but observers report some crusting and roller balls at mid and lower elevations.A slight density inversion in the upper snowpack made trailbreaking still a bit tedious and turning conditions just a little punchy up high.Today, as mountain temperatures climb under mostly sunny skies, youíll find good to excellent powder riding and flying conditions in the backcountry.Itís 17 degrees this morning at the CSI weather station on Logan Peak and 15 degrees down in Logan, with very light northerly winds.Thereís 76 inches of total snow on the ground at the Tony Grove Snotel with 86% of average water contained in the snow.

Avalanche Conditions:

A snowmobiler survived a complete burial yesterday in the Uinta Range near Strawberry.Luckily his party was well prepared, and it appears that quick thinking and the proper use of the required safety equipment led to a successful rescue.Locally, you adequately tested a number of steep slopes and landing zones in the backcountry over the weekend and produced only a few small surface avalanches.Many of the biggest lines in the region have yet to be tracked however, and itís important that you strictly adhere to safe travel protocols whenever you stick your nose into backcountry steeps.Remember, only expose one person at a time to avalanche danger while the rest of your party watches closely from a safe location, away from and well out from under potential triggered avalanches.

The sun will warm mountain slopes today, and as midday temperatures climb above freezing for the first time in a while Iíd expect to see some loose wet avalanches in steep terrain.This problem may affect sunny slopes at all levels, but I expect the most substantial avalanching at middle elevations.As usual, you should avoid steep sunny slopes when the surface snow gets moist and sloppy.Roller balls or point-release type avalanches on similar slopes should dictate reassessment of your route.

I still must mention the possibility of dangerous and destructive deep slab avalanches.You can still find notoriously weak sugary or faceted snow near the ground on numerous slopes, and in many cases a stout slab rests on top.†† There must be some slopes in the region where the deep slab is not well anchored to underlying smooth terrain and where it is thin enough for the instability to be activated by your weight or that of a smaller overrunning avalanche.††††††††††††††††

Bottom Line:

Thereís a LOW danger on most steep slopes in the backcountry and avalanches are generally unlikely.The danger of loose wet avalanches will climb to MODERATE by midday on sunny slopes with moist surface snow.Although becoming less likely, deadly triggered deep slab avalanches are still possible on slopes with existing weak snow near the ground, mainly in exposed upper elevation terrain.Use good snow assessment and safe travel techniques to minimize your risks.

Mountain Weather:

A high pressure ridge will strenghten its grip over the region today.Mountain temperatures will climb under sunny skies while haze pools in Cache Valley.A rapidly weakening storm, moving north and east of the region will push some cloudiness and perhaps a little snowfall through the area tomorrow night. A dry northerly flow should control the weather for the balance of the week.

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

I'm very interested to know what you're seeing out there.  Please e-mail observations to me at [email protected] or leave me a message at 755-3638, especially if you see or trigger an avalanche in the backcountry. We keep all observations confidential.

This advisory will expire in 24 hours from the posting time.

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.