Welcome to SP!  -
Areas & RangesMountains & RocksRoutesImagesArticlesTrip ReportsGearOtherPeoplePlans & PartnersWhat's NewForum

Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

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.
 

Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby TyeDyeTwins » Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:40 am

CALLING ALL UTAHN'S.........
Last year Ed F created a wonderful and very useful thread entitled "Wasatch Avalanche Conditions". This new thread is much like last years thread. Anyone should feel free to contribute, regardless of the depth of their avalanche knowledge. More information is better than less information. Also this thread should be avalanche and snow conditions oriented, not for trip reports and trip planning ect.....

The new change to this thread is that field observations do not have to be confined to the Wasatch Range only. The Uintas, La Sals, Tushars, Oquirrhs, Wasatch Ranges ect.... are all fair game. These mountain ranges have limited avalanche forecast information (if any) and see only a handful of visitors a year. However there are a select few who go and venture out to these remote places, so any information of what the snowpack/conditions are like would be more than useful.

THIS THREAD IS A WORK IN PROGESS. IF YOU HAVE ANY IDEA'S OR SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO IMPROVE THIS THREAD PLEASE LET ME KNOW.
User Avatar
TyeDyeTwins

 
Posts: 208
Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2009 2:40 am
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Thanked: 24 times in 17 posts

The following user would like to thank TyeDyeTwins for this post
Ed F, jackstraw0083, PellucidWombat

Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby TyeDyeTwins » Fri Oct 29, 2010 8:32 am

Observation Oct. 28th 2010

Went up to Sugarloaf Peak at Alta today. There was anywhere from 6-20 inches of snow at 8,500 feet. At 10,000 and above we encountered about 2 to 4 feet worth of snow along with blowing winds that were in the 40mph range. We were able to skin up Sugarloaf Peak and ski most of the way back down on a Northwest facing, windloaded chute. We dug a snowpit before attempting to ski the chute and found everything in the snowpack stable so far.....but in the future months this wonderful snow that we have now, will turn into a future nightmare avalanche layer. Till then...keep praying for snow

The 1st picture is of Troy skiing the Northwest Chute of Sugarloaf Peak.
Image
The 2nd picture is of view off of Sugarloaf Peak....looks more like mid winter out there rather than October.
Image
Last edited by TyeDyeTwins on Mon Nov 01, 2010 4:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User Avatar
TyeDyeTwins

 
Posts: 208
Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2009 2:40 am
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Thanked: 24 times in 17 posts

The following user would like to thank TyeDyeTwins for this post
John Duffield

Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby WhitePine » Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:16 pm

I was wondering when this thread would appear again.

What would you say the likelihood is of most of this snow melting before winter really begins? If it gets warm but doesn't fully melt its going to be a super crappy foundation for future avalanches.
WhitePine

 
Posts: 20
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 4:15 pm
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby Ed F » Sun Oct 31, 2010 2:49 pm

Thanks, TyeDye, I was just thinking about starting this again. I thought it worked great last year, and I really hope more people participate this year. Like TyeDye said, nobody should be worried about posting here if they don't think they are as knowledgeable as other backcountry travelers. Let's try to learn together and not be assholes to people asking serious questions or adding more information.

I just added an album for everyone to use for posting photos to this thread. I also figured it might be nice to have all the avy photos in one place like last year. It should be set up as public attach. Let me know if anyone has issues adding photos to the album or this thread.

Avy Photos Album
User Avatar
Ed F

 
Posts: 993
Joined: Sat Sep 07, 2002 8:15 pm
Location: High, Low, and in Between, Utah, United States
Thanked: 16 times in 13 posts

The following user would like to thank Ed F for this post
TyeDyeTwins

Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby TyeDyeTwins » Mon Nov 01, 2010 4:00 pm

Observation October 31st 2010
Went up to Alta on Sunday. Found about 1 inch of new but heavy wet snow at the base. By the time we reached the top of Collins Gulch there was about 3 inches of new wet snow. Decided that because of the wet/foggy condtions that a run off of Sugarloaf Peak would have to wait for another day (hate skiing sticky snow). At Germainia Pass we climbed up the east ridge of Mt Baldy and made it to the summit. From the top we skied down to the Main Chute. It was fat, foggy and completely worth skiing on Halloween. The chute itself had a narrow choke and a few loose rocks. For those planning on making the Main Chute this week be sure to slow down once you reach the apron.....there are plenty of 100 inch rocks to hit down there.

The snowpack out there is still not deep enough to warrent any avalanche concerns. There were some small cornices on the ridge up to Baldy, but they were easily avioded. There were also pleny of roller balls on just about every aspect....the largest being the size of a car tire. Pray for snow.

The 1st picture is of Troy skiing out of the choke of the Main ChuteImage
Last edited by TyeDyeTwins on Mon Nov 08, 2010 5:04 am, edited 3 times in total.
User Avatar
TyeDyeTwins

 
Posts: 208
Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2009 2:40 am
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Thanked: 24 times in 17 posts

Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby TyeDyeTwins » Mon Nov 01, 2010 6:46 pm

WhitePine wrote:What would you say the likelihood is of most of this snow melting before winter really begins?

This week is supposed to be above average temp wise so the southerly and westerly facing slopes might just loose all their snow before the next storm cycle. The NOAA discussion is currently hinting at a stormy pattern developing next week. The yearly outlook is calling for above average precipitation this winter.....hopefully they are right. Here is a link to the seasonal outlooks http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/long_range/seasonal.php?lead=1
User Avatar
TyeDyeTwins

 
Posts: 208
Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2009 2:40 am
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Thanked: 24 times in 17 posts

Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby marauders » Thu Nov 04, 2010 5:47 pm

I'm stoked to add my 2 cents this year as well. This year ought to be especially fine because I found a good deal on a snowmobile. This will allow me to cut off the horrendously long approaches in the South Wasatch, and get to skiin' powdah all day! I'm excited to explore in the South Wasatch and Uintas. I'll post trip ideas as they arise so that we can get out as a group at least a few times. I've got about 4-5 guys I know that like to get out quite a bit, but it's always enjoyable to get out with new people that you know have trustworthy experience.
User Avatar
marauders

 
Posts: 653
Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2004 1:25 am
Location: Orem, Utah, United States
Thanked: 13 times in 7 posts

The following user would like to thank marauders for this post
PellucidWombat, TyeDyeTwins

Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby TyeDyeTwins » Thu Nov 04, 2010 6:00 pm

Observation November 2, 2010
Went and skied the Main Chute off of Mount Baldy on Tuesday. Started at Snowbird's Peruvian Gulch, where there was 6 inches of snow or less outside of the snow makers. At about 9,000 feet the snow amount increased and we started to notice the 1st surface hoar of the season. This surface hoar was widespread on North to East facing slopes. By 1pm the snow became sticky on the skins where ever the sun was. By 2pm we skied the Main Chute. About half way down the couloir I dug a quick pole pit and found 3 feet of firm snow that seemed quite stable. No surface/depth hoar was found in the couloir itself.

The next significant storm is supposed to hit the Wasatch Range Monday-Tuesday, and with some scattered surface hoar out there, we might just see the first avalanches of the season. At Atla there is always an avalanche early season in slide paths such as Gunsight, The Baldy Shoulder and High Rustler. These slide paths often see uphill traffic somewhere along their track/deposite zones, so be sure to use safe travel techniques when crossing these paths and next week it might be a good idea to bust out the avalanche gear.

Troy skiing the Main Chute on Nov 2, 2010. Be careful, there are still plenty of rocks out there!Image
User Avatar
TyeDyeTwins

 
Posts: 208
Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2009 2:40 am
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Thanked: 24 times in 17 posts

Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby TyeDyeTwins » Mon Nov 08, 2010 5:03 am

Observation Nov 7th, 2010
Went up to Snowbird today with the idea of skiing something in the cirque. When we got our 1st close up glimps of the place it looked hard as nails due to the sun and hammerd by the recent winds. Decided to ski the Main Chute off of Mount Baldy insted of Snowbird. The winds at the upper elevations were howling (30-45mph), transporting plenty of snow all day. When we got to the top of the Main Chute there was about 4 inches of recent windblown snow throughout the length of the couloir, due to crossloading from high winds. This wind transported snow was quite reactive...but not deep enough to be concerning. Dug a small snowpit near the bottom of the chute and found a stable snowpack. However I decided that too many skiers have been tracking up the Main Chute since/possibly before Oct. 25th, meaning that the lack of layering in this snowpit is the exception and not the rule out in the Wasatch Range right now. With new snow on the way, scattered surface hoar out there, and plenty of wind......be on the lookout for 1st avalanches of the season in the steeper terrain this week.

Troy skiing down a crossloaded but well filled in Main Chute near dark
Image
Skiing into a sunset this colorful can only mean one thing....a storm is on the way.Image
Last edited by TyeDyeTwins on Sun Nov 14, 2010 3:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User Avatar
TyeDyeTwins

 
Posts: 208
Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2009 2:40 am
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Thanked: 24 times in 17 posts

Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby TyeDyeTwins » Wed Nov 10, 2010 7:15 pm

Observation November 9th
Decided because of all the new snow to try to ski something in the Snowbird Area. When we arrived at the parking lot it was CLOSED to uphill traffic. Not to be defeated we drove up to Alta and skinned up to Rocky Point. There was about a foot of new, soft, Utah powder just about everywhere above 9,000 feet. At Rocky Point we decided to ski the Dog Leg Chute all the way to Lake Catherine. Before skiing into the Dog Leg, we stomped a small cornice, and then preformed a ski cut, both had no results. While cutting some turns in the choke a minor sluff let loose, but it only involved the top 2 inches of snow, and did not run very far. After skinning back up and out we went to Point Supreme. By then the sun had come out of the fog so we decided to ski in some trees near (what used to be called) Helicopter Hill. Hit a few rocks in there but we were still able to ski all the way back down to the car.

While at Lake Catherine we dug a small snowpit. The snowpit was about 2 1/2 feet deep and had 3 distinct crusts. These crusts were not overloaded by the new snow, but in the future these crusts might not be able to handle a big load on top....leading to perstant slab conditions whenever we get more snow. Until that time the avalanche conditions out there are in the LOW catagory.

The 1st picture is of Troy skiing the BLOWER powder near Helicopter Hill
Image
User Avatar
TyeDyeTwins

 
Posts: 208
Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2009 2:40 am
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Thanked: 24 times in 17 posts

Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby TyeDyeTwins » Fri Nov 12, 2010 4:04 pm

Observation November 11th
Went and skied Silver Fork yesterday. Started at Alta and used a series of small fire roads in Grizzly Gulch to access Silver Fork. There was enough snow in Grizzly Gulch to skin up, but with every poke with the poles you could hear rocks underneath. Once at Silver Fork we skied North Davenport. Just inside the chute a small natural sluff that came off a cliff was found, but looked like it would have hardly packed a punch. Skied all the way to the main Silver Fork river bed and did not continue to keep skiing due to a lack of enough snow. Decided to skin back up and out of Silver Fork and then ski back down our skin track in Grizzly Gulch. By 3pm the upper west facing was still powder in Grizzly Gulch, however near the bottom of the gulch the snow was already wet.
Because we were on a time limit and in a hurry we only dug one small hand pit in Silver Fork. What concerned us is on this north facing, 35 degree, slope at about 10,000 feet, there was a softer snowcone like snow at the very bottom of the snowpack. This layering may be a set up for future "full depth" avalanches later on this season. When we do finally get our full winter snowpack, slopes like this one will likely have to be avioded.
Troy skiing North Davenport
Image
Last edited by TyeDyeTwins on Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
User Avatar
TyeDyeTwins

 
Posts: 208
Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2009 2:40 am
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Thanked: 24 times in 17 posts

Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby TyeDyeTwins » Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:35 am

Observation Nov 14 (Sunday)
Went up to Cartiff Fork today. At the Mill D South parking lot it was raining. As the rain died down the cold winds froze the uppermost inch of the snowpack into a rain crust. Thinking that the rain did not make it to Cardiac Ridge we continued to skin up Cartiff Fork. When we arrived at the base of Cardiac Ridge we found out that it did not rain.....it RIMED. As we started up the skin track the rime got thicker and thicker. At one point we decided that rime run down Cardiac was not worth the effort so we skinned up to the rocks of the Ivory Tower and skied some very loud powder in the trees.
At the top of our run we dug a snowpit. On this high, Northeast facing aspect we found a rime crust on top, a foot of settled powder and a foot of somewhat wet decomposing snow. Of some concern was the fact that we could see some surface hoar preserved on the bottom of the rime layer. This rime with burried surface hoar is for now harmless.....but it could lead to an avalanche or two when we get some more fresh snow.
The 1st picture is of the snowpit we dug. Notice the pieces of rime crust broken around the snowpit. Image
The 2nd picture is of Ron making the best of the horrible RIME CRUST we encountered today.
Image
User Avatar
TyeDyeTwins

 
Posts: 208
Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2009 2:40 am
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Thanked: 24 times in 17 posts

The following user would like to thank TyeDyeTwins for this post
Sarah Simon

Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby TacoJockey » Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:42 am

Well, if broadcasting my thoughts over the internet could help somebody stay safe:

We went up grizzly gulch this morning, along with everybody else in Salt Lake apparently. Dug a quick pit on a north facing slope and found dense new graupel overlying the last storm's powder. A shovel compression test caused failure near the top with 10 taps. Shear surface was Q2. Be careful out there until this new stuff has some time to settle.
User Avatar
TacoJockey

 
Posts: 40
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 4:26 am
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post

Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby marauders » Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:14 pm

Observation Nov. 16th
Skied a few laps on NW aspect on Point Supreme above Albion Basin. New 6" of heavy snow and graupel failing CT8, Q2 on the same crust that is failing elsewhere. Monday morning the new snow had not formed a cohesive slab yet, so slabs were not sliding and we were able to ski safely. The snow skied quite well; It was a fun morning.
User Avatar
marauders

 
Posts: 653
Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2004 1:25 am
Location: Orem, Utah, United States
Thanked: 13 times in 7 posts

Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby TyeDyeTwins » Mon Nov 22, 2010 4:17 pm

Observation November 21 (Sunday)
Went up to Point Supreme with the idea of skiing something in the Catherines Pass Area. In the Grizzly Gulch parking lot the winds were blowing around 20mph with gusts of 40mph. There was about a foot of new snow on the summer road increasing to about 3 feet at the top of Point Supreme. We dug a snowpit near the Catherines/Dry Fork ridgeline and found the snowpack depth to be over 6 feet deep. All day long the weather pattern was the same...a huge gust of wind, followed by a grauple shower, then a burst of powdery snow, adding another foot of superman snow by 4pm.

While skiing back to the car I skied beyond the summer trail and ended up above some small cliffs, near the homes by the Albion Campground. Seeing how rocky and crossloaded the cliff bands were, I told my partner to go the other way where it was much more safer. Thinking I could find a safe way down of my own, I continued to traverse in the opposite direction. Finally after tons of effort I found a narrow chute that was crossloading. With predictable results I pulled off a ski cut and just as I made it to my safe spot the entire chute released. This avalanche occured on a west facing slope around 9,600 feet. The slide itself averaged 1 foot deep at the crown and 2 feet deep along the crossloaded section of the chute, all running on a burried suncrust. Thankfully I was only on a large test slope and the avalanche traveled less than 80 feet. Had this senario occured on the much larger and avalanche prone West Face of Mt Wolverine the results could have been much more different. Overall I would say that there some pockets of CONSIDERABLE out there on West facing, crossloaded terrain above 9,500 feet.

The 1st picture is of Troy skiing the deepest powder so far this year
Image
User Avatar
TyeDyeTwins

 
Posts: 208
Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2009 2:40 am
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Thanked: 24 times in 17 posts

Next

Return to Utah

 


  • Related topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

cron

© 2006-2013 SummitPost.org. All Rights Reserved.