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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.
 

Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby Ed F » Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:30 am

12/16
Sorry I haven't been posting here at all. I'm really going to try to post whenever I ski from now on. Skied several laps on several aspects in Cardiff today, exited back to 210 from Cardiff Pass. I haven't had a such a worry-free day in the mountains in a long time. Green light, all aspects, all angles that are holding enough snow to ski. Minor sluff danger on the new snow on angles steeper than 35 degrees, but I didn't see anything today that would even knock a skier off their balance. People were skiing damn near everything today. The biggest challenge was finding fresh lines.

Very sunny today, but temps stayed very cold. But, we're less than a week from the solstice, so the sun is as weak as it's ever going to be. South and some west-facing stuff sustained some damage today, but our south exit was still even a pleasant ski in the late afternoon. I'd expect maybe a zipper on south tomorrow morning.

Great day to be alive, folks. Tomorrow should be just as good if you stick to north-ish stuff.
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby Ed F » Fri Dec 17, 2010 2:24 am

and also used Troys skins to splint the leg.


TyeDyeTwins: Hey guys, how did this work? I was just re-reading your accident report and noticed this. I always planned on using poles to splint stuff, and skins to keep the business together. How did it work out over the 5 miles? Keep together pretty well?
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby marauders » Fri Dec 17, 2010 6:48 pm

12/16
Morning runs on east facing Reynolds Peak. Super stable snowpack. The only report is "fun powder and big smiles" (finally!). Still waiting for the south wasatch to fill in better...a few more storms...
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby jackstraw0083 » Fri Dec 17, 2010 11:29 pm

I really enjoy this forum, it's nice to see what conditions are like (other than from the avy report) in the Wasatch and around UT.

Bear River Mountains Observation, Northern Utah, 12/15/10

Skiied Beaver's Envy (aka Wanderland) early Wednesday morning, a sheltered western aspect peaking at 9,000 ft (up Beaver Creek, across from Beaver Mtn) . Dug a pit to the ground, showing a 4.5 foot deep snowpack. Noticed a couple very thin ice layers deep in the snowpack but they appear to be very stable and did not fracture from shoulder taps during the compression test. Eight inches of superlight snow from Tuesday night/Wednesday morning was on top of the snowpack, with a thin, brittle ice layer that had formed from melting earlier in the week directly beneath it. It made for some excellent cold smoke skiing, and the ice layer didn't do too much ski grabbing. Too cold to get the camera batteries to work. Overall the snowpack was very stable.
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby Ed F » Sat Dec 18, 2010 1:36 am

12/17

Skied high northeast-facing Mineral Fork today. Everything was still welded in place, and the new snow was tougher to sluff today. There was a lot of wet snow activity late afternoon yesterday and early this morning on west and east-facing, but nothing really too concerning. There was some surface recrystallization on lower (below 8K) aspects last night.

The weather today was cold and damp with little sun. The snow was still great on sheltered north-ish.

But, who cares? Things are going to change pretty rapidly starting later on tonight...this storm should be interesting.
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby TyeDyeTwins » Sat Dec 18, 2010 5:49 pm

Ed F wrote:
and also used Troys skins to splint the leg.


TyeDyeTwins: Hey guys, how did this work? I was just re-reading your accident report and noticed this. I always planned on using poles to splint stuff, and skins to keep the business together. How did it work out over the 5 miles? Keep together pretty well?


To keep Troy's leg imobile it worked extreamly well. Using the rat tail (the back clip) and the head loop to keep it together we never had any problems with it falling off, even the ER Doc had trouble getting it loose. Although the skins worked....it was the back brace that worked the best. Luckily Troy had his own skins because I had to keep mine on my skis to keep my speed down while carrying Troy out. As for using poles for a splint, its good as long as you do not have to use them. In my backpack I now carry some pieces of an old broken probe for future splint use.....just another way to recycle old gear. Troy's surgery was on the Dec 15....The tally was an "exploded" ACL, and 3 tears in his miniscus. Amazing how just a regular day in the backcountry can turn into the worst day ever in just a matter of minutes.
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby Ed F » Tue Dec 21, 2010 1:54 am

Skied Short Swing in Mill D North today. We kept things pretty easy as far as angle goes, but I didn't have any shooting cracks or whoomphs or anything that you normally find on a high danger day. We dug a pit on the northern side of one of the points between Mill D North and Beartrap, after I kicked down a bunch of little cornices. The snow was extremely deep here (new snow 6'+) because of windloading. The hoar layer was not a player here, but the rime deeply buried was responsive. Another party dug a pit around the corner from us in an area with less windloading, and they told us that they got easy propagation on the buried rime layer with taps. There's a hell of a lot of heavy snow sitting on that weak layer, especially in places where the wind threw the snow last night.

The weather today was cold and damp, with constant snow all day and nearly full sky cover. Skiing was excellent on the newer snow, which began to fall much drier this morning and throughout the day. The new stellars were being rimed as they fell. The top layer was loose, fast, and sitting on the spongy wet snow that fell this weekend. Pretty good stuff.

Hard to beat this:
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby Ed F » Thu Dec 23, 2010 1:14 pm

Out of town for the holidays, but wanted to post about Tuesday, 12/21. Didn't find anything much different avy-wise than 12/20, but the new snow was much worse to ski than 12/20. It came in upside-down that night, and it was really tough to break trail and ski through. Skiing on lower-angled slopes resembled tunneling more than skiing. The temps were also much higher. There are now many, many different layers in the snowpack with varying density with this new storm.

The sky cover broke on 12/21 for about 30 min, but I was pretty low in the trees at that point, so I couldn't see too much. Couldn't see anything across BCC, but I could see a bunch of natural slides in the Dry Fork area of Willow Fork, mostly in the NE and N-facing terrain. There was still too much fog to get photos or even see the crown in most cases, but a few of the slides looked rather large for that area. No guess on the depth, no guess on actual size. I'm really curious what came down naturally over the last week once the skies finally clear for good.

Happy holidays and happy skiing!

Edit: This must be one of the slides I saw through the clouds: http://utahavalanchecenter.org/avalanch ... w_12222010
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby Ed F » Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:04 pm

Are you ****ing kidding me?

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=13776865
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby Ed F » Sun Jan 02, 2011 7:16 pm

12/30/2010: Summit Park area. This area got as much snow out of the storm as the central Wasatch, so everything is filled in, especially on the wind-loaded northern aspects. I've never seen it this deep in Summit Park.

12/31/2010: Beartrap Fork. One of the coldest days I've ever toured. We stayed low in the trees to avoid the ridgetop winds, which were dangerously cold to exposed skin. We kept our angles pretty low and in the trees. The snow was epic coldsmoke on a bottomless base.

Image

1/1/2011: Patsy Marley. Wanted to ski higher off the summit into the north bowl, but high altitude winds created a four-inch windslab on top of the lighter snow. I kicked a few cornices, and the windslab shattered very easily. Some of the snow on the summit ridge was knife hard, so the wind must have been cranking above 10,500 or so. Everything was getting skied yesterday with few issues. Only saw one sluff set off by a skier on sun-affected southern exposure off of Emma Ridge. Photo:
Image

Snow was still fantastic in lower protected areas:
Image
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby Ed F » Tue Jan 04, 2011 4:52 pm

1/3: White Pine > Pink Pine ridge: Didn't see any signs of instability except for pockety areas of windloaded snow and wet snow releases on sun-baked slopes. Skied angles over 35 with no issues at all. Still plenty of great settled powder on NW-NE aspects in lower, protected areas. The snowpack is looking really nice right now for early Jan.

Pretty clouds today:
Image

Image
Last edited by Ed F on Sat Jan 08, 2011 10:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby Ed F » Fri Jan 07, 2011 12:22 am

1/6: White Pine>Upper Red Pine>Pink Pine>White Pine. No instabilities, but it was cool to see the giant slides from last natural cycle in upper Red Pine. Still plenty of great snow out there on protected NW-NE below 9500 or so. There was considerable surface recrystallization on protected slopes, and even on some open aspects at elevation. The hoar skied really nicely, but it could be an issue if it gets buried.
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby Ed F » Sat Jan 08, 2011 2:38 am

1/7: Lamb's Canyon: Skied NW facing terrain from 9000 down to 6500. Sun crusts on E-S-W, still some decent snow in the protected NW to NE areas. Snow is getting pretty damp down low, lots of wet snow activity. The snowpack in this part of the Wasatch is still sort of thin, but I skied pretty steep stuff today with no issues at all. Significant hoar growth on many aspects and elevations, up to half an inch or more deep in some places. Big feathers...like skiing on broken glass. Skiing hoar is always fun, but it's very likely going to get buried soon. Bad, bad news...

Slicing the frost feathers:
Image

This inversion is as bad as I've seen it:
Image
Last edited by Ed F on Sat Jan 08, 2011 10:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby Ed F » Sat Jan 08, 2011 4:15 am

http://utahavalanchecenter.org/observat ... ral_172011

Lots to take in. Crazy at the end...
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