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Wasatch Avalanche Conditions

Regional discussion and conditions reports for the great state of Utah, from the alpine peaks to the desert slots. Please post partners requests and trip plans here or in the Utah Climbing Partners section.
 

Postby powskier » Wed May 12, 2010 11:47 pm

May 12
LCC 8500'-9500' 9:30-11:00am
Winds gusting mod-strong out of the east making easy to initiate and easy to manage wind slabs.
Slabs of 2"-12" on N aspects running @ 38+ degrees. furthest runners 3-400'.
West aspect on lee of ridge, drifts to 16" easy to trigger.

Also witnessed long running cold sluffs in the am on Superior s face, and wet sluffs by late skiers (4pm) running 2k' with decent debris piles.
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Postby TyeDyeTwins » Sat May 15, 2010 5:10 am

Observation May 14 Went up to Tanners Slide Path early this morning with some local SP'ers. Made it all the way up to the upper apron and had to turn around due to chest deep boot packin hell. Dug a snowpit at the apron and found the refreeze to be pretty solid about 4-7 inches down. Below that the snow was slightly damp but not in the concerning catagory (un-reactive with compression tests). Got my 132 turns, drove back down to the valley, picked up my twin and drove up Big Cottonwood Canyon to ski Clayton Peak. Skinned up Brighton and the weather turned from sunny to snowing hardcore. Made it to the summit and skied into Hidden Canyon's steep northerly chutes. For most of the run it was dust on crust however on the steep section it was waist deep, soft powder in the protected trees.

The avalanche danger in the areas skied today was in the LOW catagory.......for now. After Sunday night the overnight temps are not going to be low enough for decent refreezes meaning we will likely get our spring wet cycle. The avalanche danger is going to get into the CONSIDERIBLE catagory by Monday/Tuesday if the current weather forecast pans out. Keep your angles low, wear your helmet and wasatch your back Mon/Tues.

The 1st picture is of the early morning headlamping up Tanners this moring.
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The 2nd picture is of Troy skiing into Clayton Peak's Hidden Canyon.
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Postby seanpeckham » Sun May 16, 2010 1:12 am

I climbed Little Pine Chute this morning (May 15) and skied down Mill B South Fork. We had intended to ski Little Pine, but it was clogged with avalanche debris. We hauled our skis up anyway hoping the upper part would be good skiing, or at least because Why Not, and then just changed our minds and decided it'd be fun to do a bicanyon trip. The very upper part indeed would at least have been skiable. It was the only part with soft snow (below was all very hard icy snow that we usually couldn't penetrate with our ice axes), but we didn't sink to our chests (just our knees, maybe), or else we would have bailed too.
We saw a huge recent crown on the Coalpit Headwall, watched a sizeable wet slab come down the northeast face of Dromedary, collapsed the wet snowpack (which was a much more high-pitched sound than a whumpf) on numerous lower-angled areas in Mill B, and triggered a minor wet sluff or two on easterly aspects below about 9000'. Rollerballs on steep, especially rocky, sunny slopes were ubiquitous on all aspects. Things were very manageable as long as you got off the steep slopes in time.

Edited to add: I looked at my photos and the avalanche we saw on Dromedary was actually a glide avalanche (I had a 'before' pic showing the large glide crack).
Last edited by seanpeckham on Mon May 17, 2010 5:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby TyeDyeTwins » Sun May 16, 2010 3:00 am

Observation May 15 Got an early start this morning and headed up to Mount Baldy. Skied the "Little Chute" at 10:30 which was just in time warming wise and it actually skied quite well for this time of year. There was evidence of some wet activity just about everywhere from the warm temps the day before but all slides seen today were in the class 1 catagory. By 11 the lower north facing hills of Alta were wet, hard to move, mush.

The avalanche danger today was totally in the LOW catagory. By mid afternoon it reached the MODERATE catagory. Tonight will be the last good refreeze, so get out early tomorrow and GO BIG OR GO HOME. After Sunday night the overnight temps are not going to be low enough for decent refreezes, meaning we might just get our spring wet cycle. The avalanche danger is going to get into the CONSIDERIBLE catagory by Monday/Tuesday afternoon/s if the current weather forecast pans out. Places such as Gobblers Knob (Cabin Run), Mineral Fork (Room of Doom), Park City (Scotts Bowl) and other mid elevation northerly facing slopes (between 8,000 and 10,000 feet) are places to be on the look out for huge/wet spring avalanches this time of year. In the mean time keep your fingers/skis crossed for cooler temps.
The 1st picture is of the Little Chute off of Mount Baldy
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Last edited by TyeDyeTwins on Thu May 20, 2010 5:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby TyeDyeTwins » Mon May 17, 2010 4:02 am

Observation May 16 Went up to Mount Wolverine today and skied the west facing Patsy Marely around noon, which skied like butter on toast. Decided to skin up to Point Supreme and ski the Northwest facing around 3pm. Lots of roller balls were seen on just about every slide path. The biggest avalanches were on the south facing Mount Superior and The Toleto Chute.

The avalanche danger was in the LOW catagory today on North-West facing slopes that were skied today. Maybe crossing my fingers (and my skis) worked because the over night temps are going to be somewhat cooler than previously forecasted, (34F) for Sun/Mon nights. By this friday the over night temps are going to be in the high 20's and Saturday night will be around 20F......meaning next Sunday/Monday will be excellent climbing days for the bigger lines of the Wasatch Range.
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Postby marauders » Mon May 17, 2010 6:28 am

May 15th Skied Upper Pole Couloir on west facing Cascade Mountain. The day's warming surprised us with the snow surface becoming saturated about noon. We pressed on until 2pm and then skied it. One-third of the way down the couloir, a moderate wet sluff drained into the right fork of the couloir (about 200 feet from us). It was a bit tense. Fortunately we all got down okay and it was a blast overall. Our timeframe for climbing/skiing was planned for typical melt-freeze hard pack in the spring. Instead, the snow was still very loose and unconsolidated from the mid-week snows. Dumb idea on our part. We should have been out of there long before. Something to keep in mind.

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Last edited by marauders on Mon May 17, 2010 5:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby vanman798 » Mon May 17, 2010 4:08 pm

Matt, that guy in the middle picture looks pregnant, what's up with him?
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Postby marauders » Mon May 17, 2010 5:47 pm

Must be the air blast from the oncoming wet sluff! :) Go baby, go!
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Postby WhitePine » Tue May 18, 2010 6:50 am

Skins stuffed in his coat for the descent?
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Postby builttospill » Wed May 19, 2010 3:57 pm

Matt, that first picture is amazing. Makes that part of the Wasatch look really, really nice.
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Postby vanman798 » Wed May 19, 2010 8:51 pm

builttospill wrote:Matt, that first picture is amazing. Makes that part of the Wasatch look really, really nice.


Sssssssh, that part is a secret. Plus you have to be very careful of the Mormons, they might convert you.
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Postby TyeDyeTwins » Thu May 20, 2010 5:01 am

Observation May 18 Went up to Sunset Peak in search of the mighty 3 inches that fell overnight. We found the 3 inches.....above 9,000 feet. Below that elevation you could most definately tell that it rained. At about 8,800 feet (just below the rain/snow line) we got several large whoomphs, cracks and collapses on a steep west facing roll over while breaking trail. Just above this hill there was a point release avalanche that came off of some cliffs and was likely caused by all the rain. Skied the steep North Face of Sunset Peak with no incident. We skinned back up to Catherines Pass and continued up to Point Supreme. We skied one of the steeper Northwest chutes of Point Supreme with no incident as well.

The avalanche danger was textbook LOW above the rain line today. Below and at the rain line the avalanche danger was a SOLID MODERATE for a class 1 avalanche (not enough to burry you but could take you for a long ride over a cliff or into a tree). Of intrest, through the fog we could make out a crown line in Culpps (the south facing slide path that drains into the Grizzly Parking lot). It appeared to be a slab avalanche that had run on the dust layer. The same thing was observed in Hellgate just a few days ago.....something to watch for in the future?

The 1st picture is of Troy skiing making some of the 1st turns into the North Face of Sunset Peak today.
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Postby TyeDyeTwins » Fri May 21, 2010 5:03 am

Observation May 20 With an overnight low of 30F we went up to the Upper Big Cottonwood Canyon/Park City Area today. While driving up Big Cottonwood it was raining. By the time we were at Guardsmans Pass the weather had improved quite a bit. We skied the steep east facing chute off of Jupiter Peak (Machete) around 11am, setting off a tiny sluff. Skinned back up and out and skied the west facing Tri County Peak. Skinned back up to Guardsmans Pass and up to Peak 10,420. Skied the steep Northwest Trees in what a like to call pure sloppy May afternoon conditions. We heard several whooomphs today. Most were while breaking trail up the steep north ridge up to Peak 10,420 and while skiing the west face of Tri County Peak.

For the most part the avalanche danger was in the LOW catagory all day today. Although I would hate to hear a whoomph like the ones we heard today on a hanging snowfeild above a big cliff. The low should be around 34F tonight so any refreeze tomorrow should be short lived, meaning get an early start and GO BIG or GO HOME.

The 1st picture is of Troy skiing into Machete off of Jupiter Peak.
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Postby TyeDyeTwins » Sun May 23, 2010 1:29 am

Observation May 21 Went for Mount Baldys Main Chute early in the morning. Skied down it at 8:30am. It was icy and difficult to ski due to cement barriers (the days previous tracks). With the snow falling we went for East Greely. By 10am the snow was becoming wet on East Greely. Decided to skin up Patsy Marley and we skied a very wet west facing shot off of the peak and had to call it a day.

From the top of East Greely we could make out a wet slab on the West Facing Point Supreme that had run to the ground. The trigger could have been some snow falling off of the above cliff band or a rock fall....too far and too snowy to tell but it definately ran on the afternoon of May 19 or 20 (we skied by there around 3pm and did not see it on the 18th). While skiing the West Face of Patsy Marley we were getting plenty of collapsing and shallow wet slabs to run on the steepest sections. Overall the danger was LOW yesterday but at the lower elevations I bet there was a hint of MODERATE for shallow wet slabs by the end of the days warm temps.
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Postby builttospill » Sun May 23, 2010 10:56 pm

vanman798 wrote:
builttospill wrote:Matt, that first picture is amazing. Makes that part of the Wasatch look really, really nice.


Sssssssh, that part is a secret. Plus you have to be very careful of the Mormons, they might convert you.


It's mostly how green everything is......I'm used to looking up there and seeing parched hillsides for 5 months out of the year.
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