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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 » Thu Feb 24, 2011 2:15 am

Whew...now that was a storm!

Been all over recently, but wanted to post a few observations before the next freight train hits Utah starting tomorrow. The new snow came in with a density change about 5" into the new snow. It was easily found probing, and people with skinnier skis seemed to have a bit more difficulty dealing with it. I never really felt it skiing. I've been thinking about the shallower snowpack + the MLK rain crust/hoar interface in Millcreek/Lambs/Parleys lately, and my concerns were validated with a really nasty slide in Lambs: http://utahavalanchecenter.org/avalanch ... on_2212011. Read the details: it would have likely killed someone caught or at least they would have wished they were dead.

Powder!
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby marauders » Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:55 am

Deep! Sluffs were moving a long way above 30 degrees.
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby Ed F » Thu Feb 24, 2011 6:29 pm

marauders wrote:Deep! Sluffs were moving a long way above 30 degrees.
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Great shot, that's an awesome capture.

This next storm is looking mighty big. Models showing 20"-60", probably going to be around 45" in most places if it comes in the center of the model. This is almost making up for January...

Collins stake holding at 137" settled snow depth going into this storm: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/slc/snow/getob.php?sid=cln
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby jackstraw0083 » Tue Mar 01, 2011 7:49 pm

Bear River Mountains Observation, Temple Peak

Went out early this morning to ski the west aspect of Temple Peak. We ascended a 31 degree west-facing subridge, which was highly wind affected and had several areas of obvious wind loading. After feeling and hearing a significant collapse we decided to turn around about 1,000 ft vert from the top, before getting into steeper terrain. On the way down, death crust was everywhere on south aspects, but nice snow could be found in sheltered areas. Things were a bit too unstable for me to venture into serious avy terrain, and from what I saw, I'd say the "considerable" rating is accurate for today.
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby WhitePine » Sun Mar 06, 2011 6:00 am

It was a nice day to be out today. I dug a snow pit 37° north facing and it took a drop kick to get a Q3 shear with no propagation about 40 cm down. I kept it mellow today since I was flying solo but I was able to admire a few people drop their lines from a distance. Made me real jealous. Everything rode really nice above about 8000 ft. Below that it began to get a little heat affected. The sun even made an appearance just in time for my descent to the car.
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby Ed F » Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:36 pm

First off, everyone should read this accident report from Canada. Very detailed stuff, lots to learn: viewtopic.php?t=57823

Well, I've been all over since I last posted here, and we're about to get hit by another storm system, so most previous observations will be moot at this point. In general, other than normal caution and travel techniques, the only thing that's really on my mind lately is that buried weak layer from back in Jan that's been rearing up every so often. It seems like triggering such a slide is difficult from my own pit observations, but the slides recently in Bunnels and in Lambs Canyon give me pause. I've suspected that the snowpack in the periphery of the "northern powder circuit" is much weaker than the snow in the NPC. I think this is largely due to those weird storms in early November and December that loaded up the central Wasatch and nowhere else. The PC ridgeline has spooked me a couple of times this year. Lambs, I think, is going to be highly suspect with more snow. Kind of a weird year so far.

Anyway, still lots of powder...

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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby Ed F » Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:36 pm

3/8-3/9: Central Wasatch yesterday and then Summit Park today. Whatever didn't get sloppy yesterday with the sun, warm temps, and a thermal inversion got it today. Very warm today, very humid, and low clouds to trap it in. Especially with the wind last night, I'd say sheltered due north might still be creamy tomorrow. Sunny aspects will all have a crust.

Both yesterday and today, I found the new snow running on a density inversion that occurred early in the storm. Sluffs were easy to initiate, but relatively manageable. I got a really large one going yesterday that became difficult to ride, but I was able to get off without losing my balance. I also noticed that wind-loaded terrain didn't have nearly as much sluff initiation as more sheltered stuff.

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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby Dan Shorb » Wed Mar 16, 2011 4:16 am

Skied Davenport to Hideaway to Main Days on Sunday with good conditions. Gods Lawnmower on Monday, also stellar on the upper section. Warming weather had roller balls as high as 10k, thogh it seems things will continue to hold on in higher elevation, northern aspects. Very good to ski the Wasatch this week.
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby TyeDyeTwins » Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:10 am

Observation March 12th
I have been getting out and around the Wasatch Range over the last month and I am ashamed to say that I have not been reporting lately. Got out to Mount Aire on Friday and wow were the temps HOT. The east facing had plenty of small point release avalanches and the snow was SATURATED by noon on the east, south and west aspects. Of intrest we could still see the old crown line on the north ridge from the avalanche accident a couple of weeks ago. We decided to ski the north facing bowl. Before doing so I dug a snowpit all the way to the ground. I found a 5 and a half foot stable snowpack and surprizingly NO MLK RAIN CRUST.....however depth hoar was found at the line where one would expect to see the rain crust (approx 2 feet down). Closer inspection of the depth hoar crystals showed that they were gaining strength. By 3pm the exit lap back to Lambs Canyon was as crusted as could be. On saturday afternoon I was driving by and I hate to say it...but it was raining a good distance up the peak. Must be spring already.
Ron skinning up Mt Aire
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Ron splitboarding the North Bowl
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby TyeDyeTwins » Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:48 am

Observation March 14th 2011
Went up to Little Water Peak via Mill D North. Started early and found the place mostly empty during the usually busy 9pm (thanks time change). About 2 miles in the snow started to get wet and sticky. While putting on the skin wax a tele skier skied past us. Moments later I heard what sounded like a lumber jack trying to harvest an aspen tree. Suddely we could hear a faint, "hello, hello, hello". We said hello back and then he asked for some help, so I skied back down the trail down to him. When I got there his neck and chest was covered in blood. Under his chin and just to the right (where he could not see) there was a nasty Silver Dollar sized gash that was deep and messy. He had a bandana already on his wound and it was not bleeding out of control by that point. I told him that he is definately gonna have to see an insta care and get the gash stiched back up. I asked him if he needed any help getting down and he said no....so after a brief lecture by me on 1st aid for bleeding, we went our seperate ways. An accident like that can happen to anyone. Just a few weeks ago my buddy Dan sliced his hand with a ski while climbing Millvue Peak and it required us to immeadiately turn around, visit the insta care and get Dan 6 stiches. Thinking back to it I should have helped the stanger on Sunday get back down ok....like I did with my buddy Dan.

After busting trail up to Little Water Peak we found the entire North Face corniced and windloaded. We opted for the steep and powdery North Facing Upper Millcreek Canyon Trees just east of the peak. Skinning back up to the BCC/Millcreek Canyon divide was a bitch in the wet snow areas. At the end of the day we summited Little Water Peak and skied the steep South Face back to the car. Overall it would have been nice to ski the steep North Face...but sometimes self preservation comes to mind.
Ron splitboarding Upper Millcreek Canyon
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Ron skinning up Little Water Peak
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Ron splitboarding the South Face of Little Water Peak
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby Dan Shorb » Thu Mar 17, 2011 11:05 pm

Upper Days, Hallway, and the Directissimo were all goood and deeeep today. seems like every aspect is good, had to manage some sluffs, but the new snow last night bonded well. Buried sun crusts on the expected places, and buried roller balss are some things to watch out for. The midday and afternoon temps up high stayed cold so tomorrow will have similar conditions it seems...
very epic...
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby Ed F » Fri Mar 18, 2011 8:55 pm

3/18: White Pine. Very warm today (48 degrees at White Pine TH at 11:45 when we left). Pretty much everywhere was sloppy today with almost no freeze last night. Detected snow/rain line from last storm to be around 8000' as evidenced by a slight buried rain crust and also ice on the evergreens. New snow was really easy to get moving today, at one point it looked like a slope I just skied got shelled with rollerballs and cinnamon rolls. Felt much more like May than March.

Really windy up high today:
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Still found a good turn or two:
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby marauders » Sat Mar 19, 2011 4:10 am

Skied E and SE, 10,000 ft. and below. Stiff winds up high, loading west aspects. The first 500 feet off the ridgeline was scoured ice and wind pillows. Below that it was 4 inches of soft 'n creamy. Perfect in late morning. A bit manky in the afternoon down low.

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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby Ed F » Fri Mar 25, 2011 2:38 pm

3/23: White Pine: New snow was bonding to the old stuff pretty well, although things got really sluffy with mid-day heat. Lots of wind damage all over, but by the middle of the day, winds were only strong on higher ridgetops. Gorgeous bluebird day.

Winter's back!

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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2010-11

Postby Dan Shorb » Sun Mar 27, 2011 7:57 pm

A 10minute collection of vids from our March 12-20th Spring Break in the Wasatch:
Lines include Davenport, Hideaway, Main Days, God's Lawnmower, Hallway, Directissimo, and some Pink Pine and White pine lines.

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