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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 » Thu Feb 04, 2010 1:25 am

Butler Fork this afternoon. Skinned near the top of Gobblers Knob when the weather started coming in. Skied NE facing trees, the snow is still pretty nice. Pretty creamy with the high temps. East through southwest is going to be pretty crusty tomorrow.
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Postby TyeDyeTwins » Thu Feb 04, 2010 5:26 pm

Observation (Tuesday). Went back to Little Water Peak. It was sunny, it was warm, the powder was deep and we observed a large avalanche in the Wilson Glade area from the summit of Little Water Peak. Things still look touchy out there, especially out on the main/east bowl of Reynolds Peak.
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Postby Ed F » Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:49 am

Skinned from Reynolds Flat to George's Bowl (east-facing from 10000') in Cardiff. Dug a pit near 9500' and found conditions pretty consistent with the UAC report-things are slowly getting better. Visibility was pretty bad with the storm blowing in, so I couldn't really see anything in Mineral. I think the Powderturds skied Holy Toledo, it got about twelve signatures today. Other than that, I couldn't see anything. There was a lot of greenhousing going on today with warm and humid weather, and the beginning of the storm at 3:30pm was graupel. It rained on the drive home at elevations below 6000'. George's still had a foot of new snow on top of the settled snow from the previous storm, and it skied great today.
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Postby TyeDyeTwins » Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:38 am

OBSERVATION (Saturday). Skied 2 laps on Reynolds Peak today. Dug a snowpit before thinking about charging down the main northeast/east bowl. We found 4 and 1/2 feet of snow piled on top of some of the weakest depth hoar we have encountered all season. However this pit was not reactive to stress testing so the main bowl was skied without incident. Skied another lap on the north facing trees that drop into Butler Fork. Felt only 1 collapse while skiing down a very steep roll over. Overall things are finally starting to stabilize out there.
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Postby Matthew Van Horn » Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:01 pm

So who is the well-known, very experienced skier who took a ride on Gobblers and dislocated a shoulder yesterday? Is it the WOW?
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Postby Ed F » Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:27 pm

Matthew Van Horn wrote:So who is the well-known, very experienced skier who took a ride on Gobblers and dislocated a shoulder yesterday? Is it the WOW?



Yup

Mother Nature just grabbed everyone by the collar yesterday and screamed in our faces. Bob Athey taken in one slide and the other one in Alexander involved more thirty-year Wasatch vets who ski with Bruce Tremper. If these guys are getting thrown around, it's bad out there folks. I've resigned myself to meadow-skipping this year. It's just not the normal Wasatch snowpack out there.
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Postby Ed F » Thu Feb 11, 2010 1:56 am

Lambs Canyon today. Skied from about 6600 to 9000. There was a significant amount of hoar feathers, and more the higher we went. Still good snow on N and NE aspects, and the recrystallized surface skied fast. Dug a pit at 8600, and found weak layers near the ground and under the big storm from two weeks ago. The snowpack was only about a meter and a half, so things are even touchier in Lambs than some of the deeper parts of the Wasatch. All in all, I still feel lucky to ski untracked hero snow 10 days after the last significant storm.

I saw a slide on the northern ridge of Mt Aire. It ran on a NE aspect from about 6500-7000 feet. I couldn't see what caused it. It's in the lower right area of the larger photo.

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Postby TyeDyeTwins » Thu Feb 11, 2010 6:10 am

Observation Feb 10 Wed. Went to Circle Awl Peak today. Noticed widespread surface hoar development in Butler Fork. Dug a snow pit at Circle Awl on the WNW Mill A Basin side. The total snowpack depth was 3 to 4 feet with depth hoar at 6 inches down from the surface. Pit testing was uneventful.
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Postby TyeDyeTwins » Sat Feb 13, 2010 5:39 am

Observation Feb 12th (Friday). Went from Mill D North, to Butler Fork, to Mill A Basin. Noticed a fresh windslab in the main bowl of Reynolds Peak. The other small windslab observed was on Circle Awl Peak. Although the sluff was small, the depth hoar was clearly visible in the crown. Luckily there was only 4 inches of fresh snow on top (for now). Shelterd trees are still holding chest deep powder out there.
The 1st picture is of the windslab on Reynolds Peak.
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The 2nd picture is of the small windslab on Circle Awl Peak.
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Postby TyeDyeTwins » Mon Feb 15, 2010 3:07 am

Observation Feb. 14 (Sunday) Went from Reynolds Peak to Circle Awl Peak for one of the best powder days of the year today. Just about everything with an easterly component had a recent avalanche on it. They were extensive but fairly shallow in depth. We saw this avalanche activity on the main bowl of Reynolds, the Reynolds Promince, several of the South Facing Gobblers Knob gullies, Big Water Gulch, Cirlce Awl Peak and in Upper Butler Fork. The only sign of instability we encountered was a collapse followed by a large (15-20 feet) crack on a northerly facing 30 degree slope in Upper Butler Fork.
The 1st picture is of the avalanche on the Reynolds Promince.
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The 2nd picture is of the avalanche on one of the Gobblers Knob Gullies in Butler Fork.
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The 3rd picture is of the avalanche in one of the Gobblers Knob Gullies (Mill A Basin)
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Last edited by TyeDyeTwins on Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Ed F » Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:18 pm

2/14: Skied Summit Park area. I noticed the other day in Lambs Cyn that the surface hoar got much deeper and more faceted the higher we got. I confirmed this by digging on some lower elevation slopes in Summit Park. The top layer slid off much easier the higher in elevation we got. I guess you might be able to manage the surface hoar layer by staying lower, but the snow is also pretty manky down low due to the high temps. I spoke to a guy who got a crack to shoot on some less than thirty degree terrain near where we skied, pretty much confirming the conditions people saw all over the Wasatch.

I saw this slide in Lambs Canyon. Grant from the UAC triggered it.

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Postby marauders » Tue Feb 16, 2010 1:58 am

The day started rather bleak with very low visibility up to the top at 10,100 ft. in the Timpanogos Area. But, as luck would have it, the skies cleared for the descent! Ah yeah. Magical descent with fantastic snow. Skied N and NE. Snow pits revealed 3"-4" of facets at the ground. An average of CT 22, Q2/3 failing on the facets. Dropping two cornices yielded no effect. Below 9,200 ft., there was a sensitive soft slab breaking 4" down on a light wind crust on 35+ slope angle. The slabs were moderately cohesive and were well managed until a ski partner above me released a slab/sluff that hit me, knocked me off my feet and took me for a steep 50' ride when I grabbed a pocket of willows before getting raked through an small aspen grove. The debris ran the length of the slope. We cut the corners of safe ski travel and nearly paid for it. I definitely have my tail between my legs and I'm lucky to have walked away with only a missing ski pole.

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Postby seanpeckham » Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:57 am

Glad you're all right, Matt!
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Postby Ed F » Tue Feb 16, 2010 1:37 pm

The slabs were moderately cohesive and were well managed until a ski partner above me released a slab/sluff that hit me, knocked me off my feet and took me for a steep 50' ride when I grabbed a pocket of willows before getting raked through an small aspen grove. The debris ran the length of the slope. We cut the corners of safe ski travel and nearly paid for it. I definitely have my tail between my legs and I'm lucky to have walked away with only a missing ski pole.


Looks like Mother Nature was kind this time. Glad to hear you're OK. The topsheet out there is pretty tricky right now.
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Postby TyeDyeTwins » Tue Feb 16, 2010 5:04 pm

Observation Feb 15 (Monday). Went up to Reynolds Peak again. While skinning back up for another lap we came across a natural avalanche just off the north facing Butler Fork ridgeline. The slope was 30 degrees, the crown was about 2 feet deep, 30 feet across, running only 15 feet or so. The slab consisted of new snow from this weekends storms on top of depth hoar.
The 1st picture is what the small avalanche looked like from the skin track.
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The 2nd picture is of me checking out the crown
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