Avalanche: Moab

Observer Name
Trenbeath
Observation Date
Sunday, January 18, 2015
Avalanche Date
Saturday, January 17, 2015
Region
Moab
Location Name or Route
TuKno NE Face - Gravel Pit Lanes
Elevation
12100
Aspect
Northeast
Slope Angle
42
Trigger
Skier
Avalanche Type
Hard Slab
Avalanche Problem
Persistent Weak Layer
Weak Layer
Ground Interface
Depth
4'
Width
70
Vertical
1750
Comments

Initial report came in on the evening of 17th. I went in to investigate on the 18th and concluded that it was a skier triggered, soft slab avalanche triggered in a steep rocky chute near the summit though details are unclear. The slide ran like a sluff in loose snow for approximately 900' before reaching a steep convexity at the top of a gully where it propagated into a hard persistent slab, fracturing to the ground at a depth of 4'.

Distance and shade prevented seeing actual ski tracks in the starting zone, but a pair of tracks were observed high on the observers right of the broad open face. These tracks eventually made their way down through complex terrain to the observers right of the slide path eventually exiting the area near the debris at the bottom. 

Weather conditions were calm and sunny at the time with NE winds blowing in the single digits. Temperatures at 10,000' were in the low 30's.

Two local skiers were skiing in Tele Gold just prior to the slide and they exited via the observers left side of Tele Heaven sometime between 2:30 and 3:00 p.m. The slide was first observed right around 3:00 and the skiers tracks in Tele Heaven were partially covered by the debris. 

This slope is rarely skied in mid winter and access is difficult. The presence of ski tracks on the slope and the lack of avalanche producing weather conditions lead me to conclude that it was a skier triggered avalanche.

Coordinates

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