May 21st, 2005 - The exit out...

May 21st, 2005 - The exit out of Stairs Gulch. This gulch provides some steep ski mountaineering routes and snow climbs. It is more often climbed to access the Robinson Ridge leading to the Broads Fork Twins, but with some routefinding, one can also climb Storm Mountain from this route.

It is also one of the most dangerous canyons in the Wasatch due to glide avalanches that occur on the huge slabs at the top. In May, 2001, some backcountry skiers were killed during a predawn climb when a thaw the night before caused the snowpack on these slabs to slide, causing an avalanche big enough to reach the Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, some 4,000 ft below.

Note that some large glide avalanches have occurred in the center and left of the photo at the top of the slabs. Left of these slid areas one can see large cracks spreading above the neighboring snow - with the recent heating experienced, these slabs could go at any time.


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