Wasatch Mts, UT Report: Blower Powder In Spots + Sun-Cooked South Faces

Miles Clark | BackcountryBackcountry | Conditions ReportConditions Report

Report from December 17th, 2019

Brought to you by Alpenglow Expeditions

Today we had a bit more confidence in the avalanche conditions and we pushed it bit further, a bit higher.

Conditions were not what they were the past few days.

South-facing aspects were sun-cooked.

Gnarled. image: snowbrains

West-facing as well.

East-facing aspects still skied great.

We are still too scared to ski north-facing slopes due to a Persistent Weak Layer that currently exists and is still dangerous.

Avalanche Problem #1

Persistent Weak Layer

Large and deadly avalanches 3-5′ deep may still be triggered on steep northwest, north, northeast, and east facing slopes at the mid and upper elevations. Collapsing and cracking may or may not be evident but now that the structure exists – terrain that faces the north half of the compass that is greater than 30° in steepness should be avoided for now.

Utah Avalanche Center, 12/17/19

Looking down. image: snowbrains

Today we skied a south-facing aspect, as we have the past 3 days but today you had to find pockets of east-facing aspect to get good snow.

On those pockets of east-facing the snow was deep, blower, superb.

Once we got lower down, the snow really turned bad.

Ridge-walking. image: snowbrains

Snow was sticking and clumping to the bottom of our skis down low.

The going was challenging down low and the snow wanted to rip off your ACLs.

We were surprised by how much the sun affected the snow today.

The high was only forecast to be 22ºF at Alta today, but it felt a lot hotter than that as we were hiking in only our base-layers.

Big Cotton. image: snowbrains

Moving forward this week, let’s all be wary of the Big Red Flag of rapidly rising temperatures and what that will do to the snowpack and avalanche conditions as well as staying away from steep, north-facing terrain.

Tomorrow is forecast to be hotter than today…

Friday and Saturday will be cookin’.

The Wasatch. image: snowbrains


image: noaa, 12/17/19


image: Utah Avalanche Center, 12/17/19

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