Bear River Mountains Observation, Steam Mill Peak, January 8-10
Spent the weekend at the Steam Mill yurt, in Hell's Kitchen Canyon, at the base of Steam Mill Peak. Skied the northeast bowl off of Steam Mill Peak's summit, a chute on the east face of Point 9,061 (north of Steam Mill, on the same ridgeline), and a chute on the southeast face of Point 8,761 (north of Point 9,061, on the same ridgeline as Steam Mill). The slope angles of these lines ranged between approximately 38-42 degrees.
Snow conditions were very stable on all of the lines that we skied. We dropped a refrigerator-sized cornice onto the southeast face of Point 8,761 without any effect, and we dropped a car-sized cornice on the northeast bowl of Steam Mill Peak without any effect. Points 9,061 and 8,761 are very exposed, but we did not see any evidence of wind loading on either of the peaks. Sluffing occurred when skiing both chutes, but it was manageable.
There was great snow on all of the lines that we skied! There was a crust on the sun-exposed southern through western aspects, but the northern through southeastern aspects still held fantastic, deep powder, even in areas exposed to the sun. We found prevalent surface hoar in sheltered areas on all aspects, most of which was buried by the 3 inches of snow that we received on the night of January 8th.