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Wasatch Avalanche Conditions

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.
 

Postby Ed F » Tue Jan 26, 2010 12:34 am

Skinned up Short Swing in Mill D North this afternoon, skied it, then skied out into Beartrap from Pt. 9269. The sun yesterday afternoon created a slight crust on south-facing slopes, and east- and south-facing slopes today started to get moist pretty quickly once the sun started to shine. It's still hair trigger out there on most steep stuff, and it looked like almost everyone has been playing it pretty safe out there.

I got some good photos of the avalanche in Beartrap Fork on 1/24. Here is the UAC link with an explanation from the party that set it off: Beartrap Avy

Image[/url]
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Postby Ed F » Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:27 pm

http://utahavalanchecenter.org/avalanche_yellowjacket_gulch_1272010

Yikes.

Yanked off the ridge today while descending the Yellowjacket/Cabin Run ridgeline. Slope angle 20 degrees or so. Had no time to get off the slab - it broke 20' beyond me. I skiied 40' to the nearest tree to plaster on as the slab and debris washed by. No intention of skiing Yellowjacket - intending to descend west to next subridge and down to trail. Debris pile ran over previous skier tracks from yesterday.
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Postby Ed F » Thu Jan 28, 2010 5:44 pm

Cardiac Bowl. :shock:

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credit to wowsatch.com
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Postby Dow Williams » Thu Jan 28, 2010 5:57 pm

sisyphus wrote:Cardiac Bowl. :shock:

Image
credit to wowsatch.com


I set an event off that large once, Black Prince in the Canadian Rockies.....bc skiing is the most dangerous sport I participate in, hands down. We were lucky hombres to say the least.
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Postby Travis Atwood » Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:41 pm

That's quite the picture!
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Postby TyeDyeTwins » Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:05 am

OBSERVATION - Thursday Jan 28th, 2010
We have been skiing the Oquirrh range for the past week. Came back to the Wasatch to see all the avalanche action that has been taking place. Went up Willow Fork and right from the road you could see the killer avalanche that happened in Silver Forks Meadow Chutes yesturday. Avalanches were also observed in North Willow, West monitor (1/2 mile in length), a chute on the Willow/Mill F Fork ridgeline (repeater) and in McDonalds Draw. Skied a tracked out Wills Hill and it is still face deep out there. Enjoy with extream caution.......human triggered, remotely triggered and exposive triggered avalanches are widespread throughout the Wasatch Range.

The 1st picture is of the killer avalanche in Silver Fork's Meadow Chutes
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The 2nd is of the avalanche on the Mill F/Willow Fork ridge
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The 3rd picture is of the 1/2 mile avalanche in West Monitor (only half of the crown is pictured)
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The 4th picture is of the explosive triggered avalanche on Jupiter Peak's West Face.
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Postby Ed F » Fri Jan 29, 2010 5:23 am

I skinned from the bottom of Beartrap to the PC Ridgeline today and toured from 1pm to sunset (which was epic tonight from 10,000 feet). Beartrap is still holding fun snow, but it's getting tracked out like everywhere else that is safe in the Wasatch. Parts of upper Beartrap are very wind-affected.

Everything that can slide is pulling out right now, and the size of the slides are unsurvivable.

TieDye: I think I saw your tracks on Will's Hill--glad you had a good one! I also got some zoomed photos of the slides in Willow from the ridge. Thanks for the photo of the slide in Meadow Chutes. I've been really curious to see the terrain.

Here is the avalanche in the northeast-facing Dry Fork area.
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Here is the avalanche on the Mill F / Willow Ridgeline.
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Postby Ed F » Fri Jan 29, 2010 10:40 pm

I set an event off that large once, Black Prince in the Canadian Rockies.....bc skiing is the most dangerous sport I participate in, hands down. We were lucky hombres to say the least.


How did you set it off? From a ridge? Did it sweep you or anyone in your party? Not too many people can say they've survived an avy that big.
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Postby Dow Williams » Fri Jan 29, 2010 11:41 pm

http://www.summitpost.org/trip-report/179733/exit-strategy.html

The fact it went all the way down to the Oct rain crust blew my mind....we could not believe how far it propagated either, seemed endless, crossing a deep drainage and continuing....the whole time, we were left on one relatively small patch that had completely fractured from the ridge but did not slide.....there were four of us on the mountain...two guide friends were on their day off but were skiing separately from us and were up on the ridge....they thought we were toast, we thought we were toast...the sounds, the movement...the dense trees waiting directly below in earnest....I lost a friend to an avalanche just two weeks prior on my regular ski run between the Fist and Mount Smuts...I knew better. Sad, but until many of us experience this force up close and personal, I am afraid it is hard to use the self control and discipline necessary for those of us who are adrenaline seekers, even at the ripe old age of 40. It is not the snow that kills you. The majority of the time it is the trees and ice that do the dirty work. Hard to get that across to folks who think they can ski out of it every time.
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Postby Ed F » Sat Jan 30, 2010 12:48 am

It is not the snow that kills you. The majority of the time it is the trees and ice that do the dirty work. Hard to get that across to folks who think they can ski out of it every time.


Exactly. It's pure folly to believe that your partners will be able to dig you out of a slide and revive you. Most people die of trauma. It's interesting how safety devices like beacons and the Avalung give people the false sense of security that you can survive a slide. In most cases, you will die a horrible death, getting slammed by rock-hard debris, trees, and rocks. Beacons are for body recovery--they are a last resort. Avalanches also set up like concrete when they run, and digging a victim out is incredibly difficult.

I'm also amazed at how people misunderstand avalanche forecasting. The danger level is only half of the equation. The other half is the consequences of a slide. Right now in the Wasatch, we're at Considerable with pockets of High, but the consequences of a slide are severe. It is highly unlikely that you will survive a slide right now--slides are breaking down to the weak layer from months ago, and their crowns are up to five feet deep. The bodies are stacking up this week, and I still saw idiots skiing in steep, north-facing terrain near The Canyons ski resort yesterday. I wonder if they even realize that they are literally risking their lives. "Slackcountry" skiing is just going to get more and more people killed as it gets more popular, evidenced by the death outside Snowbasin this week.
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Postby TyeDyeTwins » Sun Jan 31, 2010 3:35 am

SATURDAY JAN 30th..........Went from Willow Fork to Beartrap Fork today. We got a better look at the slides in North Willow. The massive crown line is starting to fill back in....our guess is that the bed surface was not cleared out by the slide. This means the chance of another avalanche is quite strong. Saw some very bold idiot climbing the north facing trees of North Willow. Suprized he did not start an avalanche. Skied Beartrap Fork without incident. What a beautiful day....looks like we are gonna have some powder tomorrow. The picture attatched is of Troy checking out the blown in avalanche crown in North Willow.
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Postby WaltHaas » Sun Jan 31, 2010 3:40 pm

The WMC bought a bunch of beacons in November at a bulk price for resale with no markup, and I still have a few left, no doubt because the economy is bad and the skiing in the Wasatch is worse. So I'm opening up the offer to non-members of the WMC. The beacon is the Pieps DSP Standard, and they are available for $300+tax = $320.55 in the form of a check payable to Wasatch Mountain Club. You need to come by my house in downtown Salt Lake with a check to get a beacon. PM me if you are interested.

-- Walt
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Postby TyeDyeTwins » Tue Feb 02, 2010 1:05 am

OBSERVATION SUNDAY Jan 31. Went up Mill D North to Little Water Peak. The snow was about an inch deep at the trailhead and by the end of the day we found a foot+ at the summit. Saw some natural sluffing of the new snow along the trail (very minor) and of intrest there was definatly a grauple event at 4pm. No one charged the steeper lines (for once) and Reynolds Peak still has not avalanche out yet. The picture posted is of the only avalanche I saw all day inbetween face deep powder shots. It was 6 feet high, 1 foot deep, 1 and a half feet wide, running a few hundered inches. Hope this picture does not violate the rules too much. Happy Trails and stay safe out there.
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Postby Ed F » Tue Feb 02, 2010 1:57 pm

Got out quickly at Summit Park on 1/31 and 2/1 (Sunday and Monday). It's skiing nice up there now, and it's plenty filled in finally. Other than the small, steep spot on the lower summit ridge that slid last week, everything else is pretty safe up there.

It was 6 feet high, 1 foot deep, 1 and a half feet wide, running a few hundered inches.
:lol:
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