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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 byates » Wed Feb 22, 2012 7:46 pm

On the other hand the guy killed outside of Telluride last week deployed one and it got shredded, spend the money on avalanche courses that hopefully will teach you how to not get caught in the first place.

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.[/quote]

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 ...[/quote]
Last edited by byates on Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2011-2012

Postby lcarreau » Wed Feb 22, 2012 11:55 pm

Yeah, I don't think ANYTHING could take the place of educating oneself ...

Was just wondering WHY skiing has to be so damn controversial. I mean, take a gander at THIS THREAD ... :shock:

http://www.summitpost.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?t=61369
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2011-2012

Postby byates » Thu Feb 23, 2012 6:15 am

Slack county avalanches deaths are increasing every year, while true backcountry skiing deaths area actually stable or declining. People who actually spend all of their time in the backcountry generally have more experience evaluating conditions. Those who go in and out of ski resort boundaries generally do not have much training in avalanche risk and conditions. Yes they were skilled skiers, but they had no clue about the condition of the snow pack, being used to the controlled conditions of resort skiing. Also they fell victim to the pack mentality a well known killer in avalanche country. I recommend going to the national avalanche page accidents report, reading everyone of them, look for the errors in judgement, knowing how others died and why is one of the best tools for staying alive.
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2011-2012

Postby jackstraw0083 » Thu Feb 23, 2012 6:10 pm

Bear River Mountains Update:

Things have been quite active up here the past few days. Three separate snowmobile-triggered avalanches since Monday with depths of 3.5', 3', and 6'. Monsters!

The first one, the guy was able to grab on to an aspen while his sled took a tumble into large trees below.

The second one, the guy was able to stay on his sled and ride out of it, avoiding being smashed into the mature trees below. From the sound of it, he was on a 30 degree slope and triggered the avalanche from above him.

The third one was just reported and is still being investigated, but initial reports say that he was knocked off his sled, carried, was able to deploy his airbag pack, and ended up with only his head above the snow. With all the talk on airbag packs lately I thought that was an interesting coincidence.

The first avalanche was caught on tape by his riding partner, and the video is included in this avalanche center link...

http://utahavalanchecenter.org/avalanch ... ea_2212012
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2011-2012

Postby byates » Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:26 pm

Another Side country, slack country fatality yesterday, Canyons side country on a slide path that had a fatality in 2005. An avalanche warning was in effect, major wind loading event just prior to avalanche anyone who paid attention the current conditions would not have ventured out onto such a slope, The Park City Ridgeline east facing bowls are notorious for fatal avalanches after strong post storm west winds.
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2011-2012

Postby TyeDyeTwins » Sun Feb 26, 2012 6:45 am

Feb 24th (Friday)

Went to check on the Oquirrh Range. Drove out there and found below normal snowpack that can only be described as the worst snow on earth. Sharp Mountain was just wind whales...the road up serviceberry canyon was pretty much showing most the way up to the peak. My group members talked me out of touring my favorite mountain range.

We all agreed on Lambs Canyon instead...the road was an ice sheet...found very little snow at the Milluve Peak trailhead. Once again my buddies talked me out of it so we drove up BCC and skied Circle Awl Peak. From the summit we got a look at the UDOT avalanche in Argenta, ran about half track. Two members of the group went down to a saftey ridge and then down. With my safety buddie behind me on the summit I followed their tracks to the saftey point. While doing so I got 2 shit your pants WHOOOMPHS. The rest of the run down was uneventful and somewhat brushy in sections. All in all we did about 205 miles of driving!

The avalanche in Argenta
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Troy skiing Circle Awl Peak
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Ron splitboarding Circle Awl Peak
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2011-2012

Postby highpeakskier » Sun Feb 26, 2012 7:04 pm

Nice to see this thread, a breath of fresh air. Sounds like you had quite a day TDT. I was one of the folk on Circle All on the 24th, was curious about where the settling was felt. I thought I felt some earlier in the day on the skin track, but couldn't be sure.
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2011-2012

Postby byates » Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:28 am

Reynolds woods this morning with a Tom's east exit. Didn't experience any warnings, saw no fresh activity, a few cornice kicks into Reynolds Bowl didn't produce anything, I pushed no boundaries and didn't see anyone doing anything risky either, none of the big lines had any tracks in Cardiff etc. Skied better than expected. Crossed too the dark side today, first time out on my new Dynafits and Voile Chargers.
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2011-2012

Postby TyeDyeTwins » Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:09 am

highpeakskier wrote: I was one of the folk on Circle All on the 24th, was curious about where the settling was felt.


The WHOOMPHING was felt just above that small cliff in the upper right hand corner of the picture below. I not only wiegh more than my 2 partners that had already crossed the slope, but I had an addition on my pack (the kitchen as I call it) and tons of gear in the pack. One of these days I am going to wiegh the pack fully loaded. My buddy picked it up today and said, "there is no way I would ever carry a pack that heavy, how the hell do you do it."

Considering there was no snowpack on the slope before the big storm, I doubt that DEEP depth hoar was responsible for the WHOOMPH. It felt more like that rime crust + grauple combo was the weak layer (aka very shallow). Either way a couple of WHOOMPHS is the last thing you want to hear/feel while traversing a steep slope above a small cliff. The aspect was South East.

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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2011-2012

Postby TyeDyeTwins » Mon Feb 27, 2012 7:14 pm

February 26th (Sunday)

Went up Grizzly Gulch yesterday. Started around 9am. The parking lot was LOUD with Alta's avalanche control work. Got up to Grizzly Gulch. We were amazed that practically no one was up there. Silver Fork, Days Fork, Cardiff Fork, Patsy Marley...all had no tracks. Must have been the previous days 60mph winds and considerable avalanche danger. Skied City Rock's west facing "Queen" in Grizzly Gulch. Pushed angles well over 35 degrees, even 45 degrees in places with no cracks, whooomphs or sluffs. We decided since it was 1pm, to skin up and ski the SW facing Patsy Marley. Once again no cracking, whoomphing or sluffs were triggered. Angles were pushed well over 35 degrees. The avalanche danger in Grizzly Gulch was pockets of moderate....at the most. Overall it was a good day....no crowds, no helicopters, blue skies and face shots every now and then.

Avalanche activity....
There were several large avalanches triggered by Alta on Devils Castle and Mt Baldy. Through the telephoto lens I was able to see 2 avalanches on the Northeast face of Lake Peak. There were also some patrol triggered avalanches in Solitude's Honeycomb Canyon Couloirs. An old blown in crown was observed in Cardiac Ridge as well as Days Fork.

Dan skiing Queen in Grizzly Gulch
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The avalanches on Devils Castle, and Mt Baldy
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Some blown in avalanche crowns in Days Fork and Cardiac Ridge
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Dan skiing SW Patsy Marley
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2011-2012

Postby TyeDyeTwins » Sat Mar 03, 2012 9:37 pm

Willow Fork March 2, 2012 (Friday)

With all the new snow + water wieght I figured the avalanche danger was gonna be through the roof...so I went to Willow Fork. We wanted to ski Wills Hill but while skinning up along side the run we found out that the wind was blowing hard...straight up the face...causing large sections of ice and wind whales. I have skied wills hill in conditions like that before and did not like it so we skied the other side of the ridge. Got 2 laps on the "hourglass" and called it a day. The snow was 5% density so it was blower...but the day would have been EPIC if we coulda got out on to some slopes steeper than 30 degrees. No signs of instablity were encountered all day. No avalanches were spotted due to limited visibility.

Dan skiing Willow Fork's "Hourglass"
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2011-2012

Postby Phenom » Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:58 am

Went up Grizzly, both Honeycomb summits, down to Davenport Hill, along the ridge west to top out of Flagstaff Mountain this morning. Lots of avy debris in the lower portion of Grizzly, looks to be by avy control work. This slide came down off of the south aspect on Davenport Hill, crown looks to be several hundred meters.

The pile:

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Crown along Davenport from near the south Honeycomb Cliffs summit area:

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West along the ridge west of Davenport Hill enroute to Flagstaff:

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Some photos from the summit of Flagstaff, this one is a tele of more slide activity on the east aspect of Kessler near Montreal Hill:

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One of upper Cardiff, Superior and the Cardiac area:

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Looking east back at my route, as you can see the winds were there today though the sun was nice to see finally.

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Snow conditions were pretty icy early on, lots of weak crust. During the early afternoon it got a bit warm and sticky. No whumps or cracking while up there today. Here's another shot of Superior, all in all a decent day sans perfect snow. Easy quick tour up there!

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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2011-2012

Postby TyeDyeTwins » Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:09 am

Thanks for your post Phenom...wondering where to go on the LCC/BCC ridge tomorrow...this post helps on the decision making process.
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2011-2012

Postby TyeDyeTwins » Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:09 am

Friday March 9th and Sunday March 11

Went to Silver Fork on Friday. Saw the massive explosive triggered avalanche in South Davenport and the Grizzly Cup. Biggest one I have seen in Grizzly Gulch in years. Skied the East Bowl of Silver Fork. The bottom started to get a little sticky. Skinned up and hit Flannigans. It was mostly filled in, and very wet on the west facing exit. There were some blown in avy crowns in the upper meadow chutes as well as a big avalanche crown in Dougs Drop. There was also a recent avalanche in Ricardos slide path. Overall it felt like late May rather than mid March.

The South Davenport/Grizzly Cup avalanche
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Dan skiing the East Bowl
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Dougs Drop Avalanche
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Reynolds Avalanche
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Ricardos Slide Path avalanche
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Sunday
Went up Cardiff Pass. Got a nice look at the west facing avalanches in Toleto Bowl as well as Holy Toleto. Skied the south face of Mt Superior via the "Two Trees Slide Path". It was quite rocky in the choke and by 11am it was getting wet. Still a fine ski. Most of Cardiff Fork was trackless. Got a ride up to Grizzly Gulch and skied the steep NE terrain of upper Twin Lakes Pass. Wanted to ski Wolverine Cirque but my $1,200 camera got wet from a new water pack that leaked so I opted for getting it home ASAP. Now the camera unit is fine, however the 2 lenses are in some serious trouble. Anyone got any tips? Inkleys wants $300 to fix them both. Got them sitting in bags of rice....hoping for the best.

The avalanche in Toleto Bowl
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The avalanche in Holy Toleto
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Dan skiing the Two Trees Slide Path
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Re: Utah Avalanche Conditions 2011-2012

Postby TyeDyeTwins » Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:05 pm

March 14th (Wednesday)

Went up to West Monitor yesterday. The snow was quite icy on the Willow Fork side. At around 11am the snow was soft enough for a ski down West Monitor. The upper part of the face sucked...one ski in, one ski out type of snow. The lower angle turns all the way to The Canyons Ski Resort was the best all day...soft settled powder. Skinned back up and wanted to ski Wills Hill. By the time we were back to the PC ridge a few flurries started to fall. Wills Hill was wind blasted and pure ice. Made about 8 turns and aborted over to Hourglass. Luckily Hourglass was still soft. The ski out down Willow Fork can only be described as "soaked" powder. Overall we are luckily that the North and East facing slopes are holding onto their snow...however the west and especially South facing slopes are loosing their snow quickly. Saw a couple of bare spots out there. Only avalanche activity seen was the large avalanche crown in South Monitor and another in North Willow Hights.

West Monitor after we skied it.
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