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Utah Avalanche Conditions 2011-2012

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.
 

Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2011-2012

Postby Ed F » Sat Jan 28, 2012 2:28 pm

1/27: Mill D North. Nice skiing on the new snow in shady aspects. Our snowpack seems to be slowly healing, but I still haven't played on anything steep. South got a lot of sun yesterday, there's surely going to be a crust this morning. Talked to another group who took a look at Reynolds, but wound up coming back down the ridge instead due to instability.

Last year in January when I skinned up to the Cardiac Divide and booted 10,820 up there I was descending a nice somewhat exposed portion of the ridge and had one of those guys literally flyover probably about 100 feet above. The downdraft was disconcerting...


Just wait until they actually land on top of you. I was skinning back to Cardiff Pass a few years ago when they landed 100 feet away. I was below a ridge and skinning in an avalanche-prone spot. The PowderTurds are the worst guiding service in North America.

According to the UAC they were "explosive triggered" by the Wasatch Powder Pigs....oh wait I must have meant powder birds :lol: . Each slide ran damn near to the end of thier paths and personally they piss me off when they feel the need to throw bombs out there. Guess there is no hope for a "bridging of the gap" for the snowpack up there. The Wizard of the Wasatch called it....guessing we are gonna see a lot more "stability testing" here in the near future :evil: .


Let the snowpack heal on its own? Bridging? Hey, the PowderTurds have a lot of boom-boom toys that they need to drop all over the Wasatch like a bunch of six-year olds with a box of firecrackers.

Beautiful day in the Wasatch. Cool rime on aspens near the top of Short Swing.
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2011-2012

Postby TyeDyeTwins » Sun Jan 29, 2012 1:42 am

AVALANCHE FATALITY.....this is the 2nd one this year for the Wasatch Range. It happened on the West facing Kessler Peak. Sounds like the snowboarder died of his injuries. I have stood at the bottom of that face before....lots of trees, confined chutes and rocks...a very BAD place for even a small avalanche.

Here is a link to the UAC write up.....
http://utahavalanchecenter.org/accident ... ir_1282012
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2011-2012

Postby byates » Sun Jan 29, 2012 4:05 am

Did the UAFC advanced refresher course today, My group went to the Twin Lakes pass area we dug pits in three areas, By the lakes, Patsy Marley trees and Silver lake Chutes, the deeper snow pack appears to be bridging some of the deep facets but above Silver lake the columns were easier to shear in a shallower snow pack. The depth hoar is very nasty looking about 15 inches thick on average, if you can trigger the 3 foot slab on top the slide will likely be unsurvivable. The mid level shallower snow packs seem to be the most dangerous.
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2011-2012

Postby Ed F » Sun Jan 29, 2012 2:09 pm

AVALANCHE FATALITY.....this is the 2nd one this year for the Wasatch Range. It happened on the West facing Kessler Peak. Sounds like the snowboarder died of his injuries. I have stood at the bottom of that face before....lots of trees, confined chutes and rocks...a very BAD place for even a small avalanche.

Here is a link to the UAC write up.....
http://utahavalanchecenter.org/accident ... ir_1282012


So I was in Mill D North again yesterday, and we were coming out while the emergency vehicles were headed up the canyon. I was checking out Kessler all day with my telephoto. Found out about this one on Facebook (friend of a friend). Didn't know him, but this is the second friend of a friend fatality this year: 2 for 2.

1000' crown, 2500' ride through that meat grinder. Unreal.
Last edited by Ed F on Sun Jan 29, 2012 4:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2011-2012

Postby byates » Sun Jan 29, 2012 4:48 pm

I saw two cars parked at Argenta yesterday I thought what the hell are they thinking? The party involved climbed the Argenta slide path and then attempted to ski the west couloir of Kessler, with the currant conditions insanity or plain stupidity.
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2011-2012

Postby TyeDyeTwins » Mon Jan 30, 2012 6:40 pm

Reynolds Peak 1/29

Wanted to ski Silver Fork or Gobblers Knob. However considering that avalanches are being triggered after 4 to 11 people have already skied it we decided Reynolds was a much safer option. Since we got a late start we headed up Butler Fork. We were curious where the reported (several weeks ago) avalanche that burried the gully 8 feet deep was located. Only found 1 place that slid into the gully and it was more like 1 foot deep and 8 feet wide :roll: Guess lots of settlement and storms have occured since then?

Encountered a party of 4 heading down Butler Fork. They claimed they skied the north trees of Reynolds. We asked if they built a skin track and they said, "yes but we kinda took the long way". They should have said we took the long, long, long, completely WRONG way. Their skin track went up, down, up, down, up, down, side to side. Got so sick of the lack of elevation being gained I started "correcting" their track. In the end we probley skinned an extra mile or 2. That is the last time I ever trust in someone else's skin track.

Skiing the North trees of Reynolds was more like skiing butter rather than "The Greatest Snow on Earth". No collasping or whoomphing occured today. We did see some "old and odd" avalanches in the upper butler fork trees. Also got a view through the telephoto lens of the Cardiff Fork Wasatch Powder Pig triggered avalanche on the north face of Cardiff Peak. Saw lots of groups heading up to Millcreek Canyon's Wilson Fork and Solider Fork. Most of them bailed back into Butler Fork. Guess self perservation came to mind?

Troy skinning up Reynolds Peak
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Troy showing that safe route travel can be scenic
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Troy meadow skipping the North Trees of Reynolds Peak
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An odd and old avalanche in the trees of Upper Butler Fork
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The Wasatch Powder Pig triggered avalanche on the north face of Cardiff Peak
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2011-2012

Postby TyeDyeTwins » Sat Feb 04, 2012 6:30 am

Bear Trap Fork

Started at the bottom of the Willow Hights trail. Skinned up .75 of mile and met up with some new partners. The 5 of us broke trail up the Willow Hights ridge. No collasping/whoomphing however we could see the old blown in evidence of avalanche activity on the steep East through North facing chutes/bowl. Must have gone weeks ago. The wind was blowing quite hard from the east on the way up the ridge. Basically any exposed skin was instantly frozen. Got up to Bear Trap and skied the West facing slopes all the way down the fork. There was a bit of crowd skiing the same place....must be why we locals call it "wasangeles". Saw that the Wasatch Powder Pigs were skiing the West Bowl of Silver Fork and Main Days. There were also several groups out on the Meadow Chutes (football field). All of the following hills were skied without "considerble" concequences.

The group marching in with the goal in sight
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Troy making some great turns on his new knee...mean while I am taking pictures (and skiing) with my new knee.
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Lindsey the splitboarder making a turn
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Lindsey's boyfriend making some turns
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2011-2012

Postby TyeDyeTwins » Tue Feb 07, 2012 7:54 am

Here we go again...another avalanche fatality. Here is a link......

http://utahavalanchecenter.org/accident ... k_2-5-2012

Wonder why they had so much trouble searching with their beacons? They said the cell phone messed with it...but then they turned those off. Wonder what brand and model they were using? Same question about the victims beacon.

When practicing with my Barryvox pulse I noticed that the cell phone messed with it so I always have phones, ipods (which are not allowed in my touring group), ect....off in the backcountry. The beacon will actually beep an annoying tone if something is interferring with the signal. I have a DTS Tracker too and that thing is way to difficult to find victims quickly, that is why it is my spare. Personally I believe that ALL beacons should be like the Barryvox pulse (triple antenna, increasing cadence as you get closer to the victim, easy multi burrial search mode, ect...) or better. When it comes to life and death equipment....pay the extra buck.
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2011-2012

Postby TyeDyeTwins » Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:20 am

Silver Fork Feb. 10th (Friday)

Started up Grizzly Gulch. Got up to the steep north chutes of Silver Fork and saw plenty of large avalanche crowns that had been filled back in. No one in our group felt like skiing into them due to the lingering threat of 4-5 foot hard slabs. There were plenty of flagged trees in the run outs, as well as trees that were plastered with snow from old avalalanches almost 10 feet high. Tucked in a mellow way and skied the lower avalanche track with no incident. One member in the group hit a death cookie and took a nice fall. Skinned up to the West Bowl area. While digging a snowpit in the large flat before the hill we triggered a MONSTER whoomph/collapse. It shook the pine trees and made us aware that there still is some lingering avalanche danger. Skied the mellow ridge on the skiers left to avoid any avalanches. While hitch hiking down BCC we spotted a fairly recent avalanche in Greens Basins.

Troy skiing below some major avalanche paths
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Dan the East Coaster getting a face shot the way the people back east do
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One of the rare times you can ski all together in the backcountry
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We spreaded out once it got steeper
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The avalanche in Greens Basins. This path goes straight into a confined and very steep gully.
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2011-2012

Postby TyeDyeTwins » Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:26 am

Cardiff Pass Feb 12 (Sunday)

Saw that the snowbird snowcam was getting burried this morning so around 1pm Troy and I made our way up to Cardiff Pass above the town of Alta. Skinning was in whiteout conditions with snow falling consistantly. Got up to just below the pass and skied back down the south facing. The snow was EPIC. Only got one little sluff of the new storm snow on a SE facing slope that was over 35 degrees. No cracking, whoomphing, or collapsing was encountered today.

Troy skiing off of Cardiff Pass
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We found a deeper pocket of powder that can only be descibed as "The Greatest Snow on Earth".
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2011-2012

Postby Phenom » Fri Feb 17, 2012 2:24 am

Decided on a short ski tour up on the Brighton Ridge run this morning. Up to Twin Lakes Pass, Pasty Marley, Wolverine, Tuscarora, Sunset, and Pioneer Peaks. Glided back down from the base of Preston Peak. Snow conditions were great early on, then while up on the ridge on the south facing aspects the snow got wet and heavy, sticking to my skins and skis. Gorgeous day up there, clear blue skies, then around noon the clouds started rolling in a bit. The Heber Valley and most of the area on the east side of the Wasatch had a low cloud cover most of the morning. Cool to see the Provo Peak massif above this layer.

Managed to knock a slab loose near the summit of Pioneer Peak which broke away without warning, which went cascading down the cliff bands on Pioneers south east aspect. Also heard a few whumps under the heavy moist snowpack while traversing the south aspect on Sunset Peak's west ridge. Other than that it was perfect up there.

The west ridge of Wolverine:

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Provo Peak area above the clouds from the top of Wolverine:

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Looking south near Tuscarora:

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Pioneer Peak's south east aspect:

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Wolverine and Tuscarora from the saddle between Sunset and Pioneer:

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Majestic from Pioneer:

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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2011-2012

Postby TyeDyeTwins » Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:15 am

Feb. 17 (Friday)

Went to ski the line (Holy Toleto) that took Troy's Miniscus and ACL last year. Just before Dan, Ron, Troy and our newest member of the group DJ, got to the run the Wasatch Heli operation took it! The run down could only be described as picking peanuts out of poop. Dan dropped in right behind Troy (strike 1 Dan, 2 more and your out for the year)...had to airbush him out of the shots. Skinned up and skied Hawkeye Ridge down to the base of Cardiff Fork's infamous Cardiac Ridge. Skinned up Cardiac Ridge and skied down it. The weather got worse as the day went on...always drops the quality of the shots...and makes them harder to take too. Still got a lovely fall sequence of DJ on Cardiac Ridge...Congrats DJ...you are now famous. All in all the goal of the day was achived...Troy skied the line that bit him last year. Coming soon...The Oqurrih Range...no crowds, no helis, amazing lines and great times. Avalanche activity was limited to just some sluffing...most pronounced on the north facing of Hawkeye Ridge. Deep slab danger is finally becoming none exsistant. I'd imagine that the north facing areas with surface hoar will be quite touchy tomorrow with all the new snow.

Troy getting the hair of the dog that bit him on Holy Toleto
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Troy skiing off Hawkeye Ridge
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Dan skiing Cardiac Ridge
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The famous DJ falling sequence
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2011-2012

Postby lcarreau » Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:10 am

Excuse me, Twins ...

I was just wondering what you thought about THESE ..

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A professional skier caught up in a deadly avalanche (last weekend) in Washington State credits it for saving her life.
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2011-2012

Postby TyeDyeTwins » Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:19 am

lcarreau wrote:Excuse me, Twins ...

I was just wondering what you thought about THESE ..

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A professional skier caught up in a deadly avalanche (last weekend) in Washington State credits it for saving her life.


They are a great idea. Saw a video from Colorado of a chick who was wearing one end up on top of an avalanche back in January. Only drawback.....TOO DAMN EXPENSIVE for now. Best wait a couple of years.
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2011-2012

Postby lcarreau » Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:00 pm

TyeDyeTwins wrote:
They are a great idea. Saw a video from Colorado of a chick who was wearing one end up on top of an avalanche back in January. Only drawback.....TOO DAMN EXPENSIVE for now. Best wait a couple of years.


Yeah, Mammut has a new line of backpacks with "interchangeable airbag devices" for over $700.00 a pop. I can think of a lotta other things to do with $700.00 right now ...
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