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

Friday January 25, 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 Friday January 25th, 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 the Trailhead.

Current Conditions:

Temperatures climbed above zero overnight and are in the high single digits or teens in most locations. Upper elevation winds are from the southwest with gusts near 30 mph recorded on Logan Peak this morning.  You’ll find overcast skies in the mountains, with a good chance for a few inches of snowfall during the day.  We’ve been able to find nice re-crystallized or loud powder conditions in  the backcountry lately, but the choices are becoming a bit more limited to sheltered and shady terrain.  You can find wind, rime, and sun crusts on various slopes, and large grained suface hoar or frost is everywhere uneffected by wind or direct sun.     

Avalanche Conditions:

I was a little surprised, but it was not completely unexpected when I tickled out a wind slab avalanche yesterday near the summit of Big Baldy in upper First Waterfall Hollow.  The 50-60’ wide by 1’ deep avalanche involved stiff freshly drifted snow deposited overnight on small grained sugary snow called near surface facets.  We’ve received numerous reports of similar activity from the Central Wasatch Range and the mountains around Ogden and Park City.  Weak, re-crystallized surface snow and large grained surface hoar or frost crystals are widespread across the region.  You are likely to continue to encounter significant loose snow avalanches or sluffs on steep slopes, and conditions are ripe for serious avalanche danger when a slab layer, consisting of new snow, forms.

Today you could find some of the same type of wind slab action on many drifted slopes steeper than about 35 degrees.  The problem is most likely to be found at upper elevations, near ridge tops, and on slopes facing the northern half of the compass.  Slabs will be around 1’ deep and may be quite sensitive, as many formed on weak surface snow.  Watch for smooth chalky looking or hollow sounding drifts on steep exposed slopes and cross-loading in and around terrain features like gully walls, roll-offs, sub-ridges, and cliff bands.

 Bottom Line:

  There’s a MODERATE danger and you could trigger avalanches on steep wind drifted slopes in the backcountry, especially in exposed upper elevation terrain.  A LOW danger exists in sheltered terrain, and significant avalanches are generally unlikely on most slopes.  Use good snow assessment and safe travel techniques to minimize your risks.  Expect the danger to rise significantly this weekend with heavy snowfall and strong winds in the forecast.

Mountain Weather:

 Brace yourselves for a large winter storm tapping into tropical moisture, which will bring lots of snow to the region beginning late this weekend.  Expect a good chance for a few inches of snowfall in the mountains today and a moderate southwesterly wind.  Should have a break on Saturday as temperatures warm a bit and winds pick up from the south.  Snow will start to fly in a prefrontal environment Saturday night.  Sunday looks downright stormy, with heavy snowfall and strong winds a good possibility.  The avalanche danger will rise drastically in such an event.

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/

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.