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 Post subject: Re: UTAH 2013/2014 Conditions
PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 6:05 pm 
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Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Overall Im against it. But I will do it now and again. Ill kick a cornice if I plan on riding a slope but Im concerned that Ill trigger a small storm slough-thin wind slab type slide. If Im confident in the overall(deep) stability of a slope but Im weary of a manageable hazard, Ill try to mitigate that hazard so I don't have to look over my shoulder.

The destructive 12 year old inside me (I just spent an hour watching the wrecking ball tear down what was left of that 4 alarm fire from last night in downtown) wants to drop every cornice just to see what would happen. I would have LOVED to see W. Monitor go but I personally wouldn't trigger it myself. That slope would have (maybe?) eventually stabilized and it had a nice base going. Now that slope is now back to square one. Some might argue that now after triggering a deep slide like that, it can refill without any of the persistent weak layers that have plagued our snowpack all season, now that winter is starting to do its thing more consistently. Or it can reload in the same shitty way that it has for the first half of the season. Regardless, its going to be a shallow(weak) snowpack there for the rest of the season.

Another reason Im against the practice is because with the Wasatch being as crowded as it is, you never know if you might catch someone below you or to the side if it goes wide or even farther away with a sympathetic release.

So to sum it up, Im against kicking cornices unless you plan on riding the slope and dropping a cornice if a final stability test. IMO A cornice drop isn't exactly a conclusive test and shouldn't be relied on for go/no go decisions anyway.

NOTE: Im not criticizing whoever kicked the cornice on W monitor. Its just a good example.

I also got out to Mill D N today. Last nights snow did a good job of covering up tracks and was lighter and faster that when I was last out on Sat. But less face shotty.

Reynolds summit looks about 10 ft higher.
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Steven King warned us about this kind of thing didn't he?
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AND some spooned mash potatoes..
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 Post subject: Re: UTAH 2013/2014 Conditions
PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 6:21 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2008 11:55 am
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Location: Wasatch
i'll bite.

I kick a few here and there, but usually smaller ones with the intention of getting new surface and wind transport snow to go. I rarely expect the entire snowpack to rip out. but if it does good riddance(with some caveats i.e the taylor mountain incident in WY), chances are if it's this time of year or later it won't heal until spring anyway, and if the whole slope rips out now there is a good chance it will fill back in as our biggest snows and best riding are usually march-april. also I rarely kick a cornice over large terrain usually it's an entrance to a chute or a smaller feature that will have less consequence. The monitors have been so hair trigger the past few years that it seems like getting them to slide is just as much recreation as skiing them. To hell with the whole park city ridgeline some fun riding but I don't trust it. people can clean out all those slide paths as much as they want.

with an increased user presence and the possibility of impacting roads and other structures in the Wasatch some careful thought should be given before stomping around.

from a test perspective I generally like kicking cornices and slope cutting much more than digging pits. For testing wind slab sensitivity and new snow instability I think it is a super useful test when used in an appropriate spot.

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 Post subject: Re: UTAH 2013/2014 Conditions
PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 7:14 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2008 9:10 pm
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Location: UT
Great thoughts guys. I can appreciate kicking off a cornice to clear storm snow, on an otherwise safe run. That makes a lot of sense in terms of sluff management. Personally I wouldn't substitute a cornice drop for historical, or up to date snowpack knowledge, but no doubt a good tactic in the right circumstance.

As far as West Monitor goes I don't know the circumstances, it just got me questioning what I choose to do. But to be honest the thought of toppling boulders in Goblin Valley, or harassing wildlife for no good reason did come to mind.

Actually the report of the natural in West Deso is what really made me think of the consequences of dropping a cornice. So many connected lines completely out of view, and ear shot of the others; several adjacent (not connected) low angle lines with a common approach that could easily be overrun with the recent snow.

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 Post subject: Re: UTAH 2013/2014 Conditions
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 7:54 am 
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I'll play a little devils advocate with you Doug. Should you be skinning lines with larger features above them with the current snow pack structure and load on them? I know Sunday I was getting some nice collapsing while skinning across flat ground. That always helps me reevaluate what I want to ride.

I have to agree with SwitchBack about wanting to have seen the monitors slide. I would have loved to have seen it, as long as no one was on or near the run out of the slope.

Cant wait to have a few beers with everyone Thursday night! :guinness:

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 Post subject: Re: UTAH 2013/2014 Conditions
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:03 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2007 5:58 pm
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Location: slc
Pleased to announce the Speaker Information for the Saturday night, February 15th 2014, Wasatch Splitfest event at Canyon Inn:

Utah Avalanche Center forecaster (and splitboard inventor) Brett Kobernik will be giving a talk on the current state of the Wasatch snowpack. We are in the midst of a significantly touchy snowpack at present. Brett will recap our season history and share his insights. Come educate yourself about what we are dealing with out there.

Snowboard Ambassador Kyle Miller will be giving a talk on his remarkable American Alps Traverse. During the first half of June 2013, Kyle completed this 120-mile splitboard traverse of the crest of the North and Central Cascades with partner Jason Hummel. Come hear Mr. Miller regale us with tales of this unprecedented linkup of several classic traverses.

Splitboarding meteorology student and powder aficionado Matt Jeglum will present "What Makes a Place Get a Lot of Snow?" Matt will provide his thoughts on why locations like Japan, British Columbia, and our beloved Wasatch tend to be particularly favored by the white nectar. He'll also share some observations on the relationship between avalanche activity and the last snowfall.

We will get the presentations started at 7 PM, and wrap them up by a bit after 8PM. By 8:30 we will get into our Raffle/Auction, and be finished up around 9PM with the ceremonies.

The Raffle/Auction will consist of a couple splitboards from Voile and Chimera, outerwear from Arc'teryx and Eddie Bauer, layers from Patagonia, a set of custom Afterburners by Spark R&D, gloves from local outfit Hand Out Gloves, rope from Imlay Canyon Gear, and more! Attendance is free. The Canyon Inn is a bar with drinks and cheap eats. You can buy raffle tickets and bid on the Silent Auction starting at 7PM. All raffle and auction proceeds go to the Utah Avalanche Center. Come check it out, the Canyon Inn presentation/raffle night was a blast last year and we're looking forward to it again this time around!

You can check out the 2014 Wasatch Splitfest facebook site for more info: https://www.facebook.com/WasatchSplitfest


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 Post subject: Re: UTAH 2013/2014 Conditions
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:34 pm 
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Posts: 873
The powder turds used to go around triggering class 5 avalanches with bombs all in the name of "safety". This would make sense if the slopes were a danger to the road or town but were talking Red Baldy and N side of Superior, etc. At the time Bob Athey made the point that with the added weight and a bit of time the slopes were likely to heal faster and there was no need to be taking 100+ year old trees and dawn patrollers out. A deeper snowpack tends to be a more stable snowpack.
Red Baldy
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I triggered W. Monitor once. My partner was slow and I was bored up at the top. I was walking the ridge no where close to the edge and decided to jump as I walked and popped a bus size cornice that triggered this monster. Almost the exact same conditions that we have now (shallow weak snowpack, big wet coastal storm on top).
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Kobernik remotely triggered this one off the Deso ridgeline the same day.
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Some very eloquent answers so far. Good to know I'm in good company in this small range. Take care.


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 Post subject: Re: UTAH 2013/2014 Conditions
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 6:13 pm 
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^^looking forward to the splitfest!

some good turns today, nice low density snow sitting on firm spongy base. Wasn't riding deep but it rode very nice.
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looking back upper bowl, heading over to another shot
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exit out, some cool looking trees
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 Post subject: Re: UTAH 2013/2014 Conditions
PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 7:48 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2007 5:58 pm
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Location: slc
This just in - LCC road is scheduled to be closed until 8:30 AM tomorrow (Thursday Feb 13th) for avy control, so our scheduled meet-up at the Town of Alta at 8:30AM tomorrow morning, well, that likely won't be doable! So, some of us will be waiting at the LCC Park n Ride till the road opens, we'll be there by 8AM, and we'll assess the situation from there. Look for our splitfest banner, and we'll do our best to get together! Most likely, we'll be heading into the lower angle slopes of Grizzly Gulch for touring tomorrow, as we've got hazardous conditions and increasing avy danger forecasted.


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 Post subject: Re: UTAH 2013/2014 Conditions
PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:08 pm 
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not sure if I should dump these in a splitfest thread??

2014 Wasatch Splitfest Kicks off today...Todays crew...Buckchow, Switchback, Mar123, Brad, Jon, Mike
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twin lakes...Switchback
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black bess...Buckchow
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east bowl, Silver...Jon
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Michigan Gully...Buckchow
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Dense Powder, good hero turns today. Strong winds gusting out of the W/NW. No instabilities on routes traveled.

Fun shredding with you all today!! Looking forward to the speaker series tonight!

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 Post subject: Re: UTAH 2013/2014 Conditions
PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:12 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2008 9:10 pm
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Location: UT
BCC - took big bird (195 Swally) out for some early morning long boarding
Had to be at work by 9:30, only made it to 9200' E/NE aspects, 30°
Shallow snowpack remains GRABBY, PUNCHY and MOIST, thats all
Passed a few of you split festivants headed up canyon, hope you found some dry turns :)

[edit]BTW health update for those I'd like to be touring with. PT said I could go skinning today, but anything pain inducing was off limits.
As of this mornings short tour that translates to a route that I normally summit in 40 minutes taking over two hours,
max skinning angle limited to around 10° :shock:
I know ya'll can't wait to tour with me huh? :wink:

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Experts tell me I'm not a serious rider; riding boards that are too long with the incorrect boot and binding setup and I'm not having fun...


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 Post subject: Re: UTAH 2013/2014 Conditions
PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 1:17 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 15, 2010 12:19 pm
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Snurfer wrote:
[edit]BTW health update for those I'd like to be touring with. PT said I could go skinning today, but anything pain inducing was off limits.
As of this mornings short tour that translates to a route that I normally summit in 40 minutes taking over two hours,
max skinning angle limited to around 10° :shock:
I know ya'll can't wait to tour with me huh? :wink:


Doug, I am always up for a tour! :guinness: As long as beers are drank afterwards!

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 Post subject: Re: UTAH 2013/2014 Conditions
PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 1:37 pm 
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some more stoke here on the facebook page: :headbang:

https://www.facebook.com/WasatchSplitfest?fref=ts

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 Post subject: Re: UTAH 2013/2014 Conditions
PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:06 pm 
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Location: UT
Got out for short walk this morning.
Conditions at the trailhead consisted of isothermic rain paste persisting up to 8K'. Encountered about every snow condition imaginable, sans pow.
Lapped a 500' glade on due south facing, 35° above 8500'. Turns were super fast on supportable windboard.
Exit was interesting due to abundant sage brush, cheat grass and mountain mahogany.
Saw some familiar vehicles up the road from where I parked, hope ya'll had some good turns.

Careful stepping off yer boards, almost lost a pole to this stuff! 135cm zero resistance!
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Yesterday's frozen turns
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Take what you get when ya can't get far
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