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

Wednesday January 23, 2008

Hello and good morning, this is Toby Weed of the Utah Avalanche Center with your Logan Area backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  It’s Wednesday January 23rd, and it’s 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 Import Auto.

Current Conditions:

Under the grip of a cold temperature inversion this morning, with the local Campbell Scientific weather stations reporting 6 degrees at 9400’ on Logan Peak and -13 down in Logan.  There’s a northwesterly breeze this morning on Logan Peak, with hourly averages in the teens.  Looks like another cold sunny day in the backcountry with high temperatures in the mountains only climbing into the teens.   You’ll be able to find nice powder conditions on most regional slopes, as the cold is preserving the snow quality.  Some sun or radiation crusts probably developed yesterday on south facing slopes.  There’s 68 inches on the ground at the Tony Grove Snotel containing 82% of the average water for the date.

Avalanche Conditions:

From the Central Wasatch yesterday, we’ve received reports of significant dry sluffs on steep slopes, small triggered wind slabs, and one backcountry explosive triggered hard slab that failed on faceted snow near the ground.  The Central Bear River Range only picked up a couple inches out of Monday’s storm, and we’ve seen less avalanche action in the mountains around Logan.  Reports from our region include loose dry sluffs on steep slopes and a few visible old wind slab crowns from last week.  The snow structure in the upper levels of the snowpack is now of interest.  It’s now quite varied and complex.  Right on top, you can find very weak re-crystallized snow or near surface facets and frost crystals or surface hoar, and sun or radiation and rime and wind crusts.  If you dig down a couple feet, a couple other strengthening buried weaknesses become apparent, and in areas with shallow overall snowcover, weak sugary snow or depth hoar continues to grow under an intense temperature gradient.

  In some areas hard wind slabs formed last week on small grained sugary snow called near surface facets.  Other slopes, with generally shallow snowcover, are plagued by faceted snow near the ground and in some cases, a stiff capping slab…

The light density and re-crystallized surface snow sluffs easily on steep slopes.   In some cases, you might be able to get enough flowing to cause a danger in terrain features like gullies or cliffs.  Fresh or forming wind slabs near ridge tops may also present a danger in exposed terrain, but they should be easy to identify and avoid.  Watch for smooth chalky looking or hollow sounding drifts on steep slopes…

Bottom Line:

  There’s a MODERATE danger and you might trigger avalanches on some very steep slopes in the backcountry, especially in previously drifted areas with a shallow overall snowcover.  A LOW danger exists on most steep slopes in the region, and significant avalanches are generally unlikely.  Use good snow assessment and safe travel techniques to minimize your risks.

Mountain Weather:

 Expect mostly clear and cold weather today. The closed low spinning off the California coast will move eastward over the region tomorrow, bringing a good chance for some snow to our mountains.  The flow will be out of the southwest, and the bulk of the precipitation should stay to our south.  Storminess is forecast for the weekend as the kicker low swings through, but a stronger low, this time complete with a tropical tap, will affect the region on around late Sunday into Monday.  Strong winds starting this weekend and lots of new snow by early next week are a good bet.

 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.

The second annual avalanche awareness ride is Saturday Feb. 2nd and we’d love to see all of you there!  Proceeds help to support snowmobile specific avalanche awareness projects. Details can be found at http://www.avarides.com/

- January 24th, 26th and 27th, Avalanche Fundamentals, Level 1 Class (Certification), presented by Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center in Logan. Classroom, Thursday 6:00 at the Logan Ranger District offices at 1500 E. hwy 89… ($90, Please pre-register with the friends at [email protected]) Field Sessions, Saturday and Sunday January 26th and 27th, 8:00

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.