Avalanche: Lookout Peak

Observer Name
Chris Eaves
Observation Date
Saturday, January 16, 2016
Avalanche Date
Saturday, January 16, 2016
Salt Lake » Session Mountains » Lookout Peak
Location Name or Route
North Side of Lookout Peak
Slope Angle
Trigger: additional info
Unintentionally Triggered
Avalanche Type
Soft Slab
Avalanche Problem
Persistent Weak Layer
Weak Layer
Ground Interface
Buried - Partly

Forecaster note: Thanks for sharing. This is bull's eye info that helps a lot.. I'm glad no one was hurt. -MS

Forecaster note: It has been reported that this is a repeater, and the slope had slid earlier this season.

Posting this observation as I haven't seen one yet from the party caught -- they may update. Our party of two was skiing north from the west shoulder of Lookout Peak above Pinecrest. We'd spent most of the day skiing further west on the ridgeline. The snowpack that direction was fairly dense, with the new snow having settled significantly. We did not see any significant cracking, sluffs, or collapsing. As the afternoon went on the weather turned worse, with winds from the SE picking up along the ridge line. Heading up the shoulder of Lookout Peak we encountered a party of 4 and could see the skin track of another party of two ahead of us. A short distance west of the summit we transitioned and decided to ski the trees to the north. We did notice some wind slabs that cracked fairly easily on the ridge, but that was not present just below. A little ways down there is a rollover to the left, and a less steep glade to the right. I went right, the skiing was excellent in there, much lighter than farther down the ridge. Upon stopping around 300' down I Iooked back to my skiers left and saw the crown of a soft slab that had broken right down to the ground interface at the point of the rollover. I thought at first that I'd triggered it remotely. My partner arrived shortly after and moving over to the slide path we called out and got a response from a party of two. They said they were OK, but the person caught had lost both skis. They were working on making their way back up with the party behind trying to walk on the tails of the other's skis. We turned around and cut a skin track back to the ridge along a more mellow angle. During this time the party of 4 came upon the scene and they feared we had been caught and buried -- all accounted for and no injuries we continued to the ridge. The party of four attempted to search the debris field for the missing skis, but felt a significant collapse, and exited. From the ridge two of that party had the good idea of taking my skis back down. Two of us stayed on the ridge line, the rest went back down to reach the party of two and guide them back up our skin track. Winds continued to increase, there was definitely snow moving to the leeward north slope, which may have been a contributing factor in the slide. Ultimately, all parties reached the ridge. The party of two caught in the slide decided to go one ski each and make their way down that way. Meanwhile another group was coming up from pinecrest with a pair of skis. We continued with them to a sheltered point just before you head down into the pinecrest gully. That's where we left the group. We met the party headed up with the extra skis on the way down. Just one picture of the slide crown, but you can see it broke down to the facets on the ground. Glad no one was hurt. And, nice to see three different groups of skiers work together to help out.