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The backcountry, it's getting sketchy...

5101 Views 38 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  snowjab
Things are getting nasty or are about to get nasty for most of us in the West. Check your local avalanche center for conditions. The dreaded black rose is appearing for most areas above 7k in the PNW. Can you say deadly? Other elevations appear to be all red. "High" avalanche danger. No question there will be avalanches if you travel in the wrong terrain.

Utah and Colorado are just starting to get hammered. Both states snow packs are absolute crap. Large propagating avalanches are going to be the norm for the next few days. The facets are probably going to be a persistent problem for weeks if not months in either state. It won't take much to trigger these.

If you don't know your local avalanche centers website, Avalanche.org has them all linked on the map on it's homepage.

If you haven't been paying attention to the daily reports, now would be a good time to do so.

Make good decisions out there.
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That is ugly, no doubt. Not a slope your typical Utah backcountry skier would consider dangerous too.

I'll be getting out Sunday, but terrain selection will be seriously limited. Fortunately, there are a lot of safe options at Bert even on high avy danger days. Of course there are a lot of deadly options too. I'll take the former please.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
A skier died in Aspen in an avalanche not three hours after this thread was started. RIP Not seeing anything on CAIC about it yet but here's the Denver Post article: Pitkin County names snowboarder killed today, skier killed in separate accident to be named later - The Denver Post
Still very little info on this. John Snook from CAIC put a tweet up about it yesterday before I signed off for the day. Not 100% sure, but it sounds like a skier got carried over cliffs and buried. The CAIC should have a preliminary report up later today.

A snowboarder was also killed, though not avalanche related. Sounds like he pinballed off of some trees and was impaled through the chest by a branch. Brutal.

RIP to those souls.

I won't say don't get out, but those who do, it's really time to watch your terrain selection and angles. If you can't dial it back, don't go out. Everything is at the tipping point right now.

*Edit the CAIC Preliminary report*
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Another good video from the UAC and Park City Ski patrol doing avalanche control. Bruce Tremper shows why the snow pack is so crappy this year in Utah and Colorado. If this doesn't set off warning alarms for you, nothing will.

 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It's the price you pay for super light dry powder. That layer is way more pronounced than in years past. In fact I have never seen so much of it. Everyone is freaking out, which is a good thing, since that means they are thinking about it. Once it gets buried deep enough, the facets will turn to rounds and bond. That will take weeks though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well, it's started snowing in the mountains here. 2-4" at most places overnight, but it is still snowing. I am thinking we'll be in the two-three foot zone by Monday morning. The real story is the winds. 90mph gusts were forecasted for yesterday. 60's today. Brutal winds. Hopefully they calm down. I'll check it out on Sunday. My guess is we are going to be doing some very low angle stuff...
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Had to borrow this from TGR.
http://i.imgur.com/0Vxvm.jpg

That is by far the biggest slide I have ever seen in the Current Creek Cirque aka Ten Little Indians. That area is well known as the most dangerous on the pass. It slides frequently, but generally not huge. This is just ridiculous.

*Took the embed out, too freakin' huge. Didn't want to take the photo and resize as it is not my work.*
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
That area is one of just a few spots on the pass I have never put a track down. The frequent slides with the cornice collapse danger make runs down Ten Little Indians generally suicidal. Plus the vert is short and bottom of it kind of sucks to get out of.

There are plenty of places to get great views of that cirque and I have seen a few slides occur there from those spots. Pretty sweet when you actually get to see an avalanche happen from a great view point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
So I take you probably aren't making it this way huh Gary :laugh: I still want to make it there in the corn season.
I would still like to make it out. Seems that there are plenty of safer lines to do around the Wasatch. Sadly enough *sigh* it seems that Ben Lomond is going to have to wait yet another season.

It's just one of "those" years.

Spring corn should be good this year, if we get a good spring. If sunny a spring hit right now, everything would melt out within two weeks. There is enough snow to have fun, in the limited terrain that is safe enough to ride.
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Another round of storms coming through, adding to our fragile snow pack. Please make wise terrain choices out there folks. We've had enough deaths already this season and the snow pack has not gotten any better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
That ECT is about the scariest kind you can get. Generally you can get away with riding it, but if you find the sweet spot it will go big. Normally that would be a yellow flag, but considering the snow pack this season I would classify that as a red flag result.

Ugh...
 
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