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Avalanche: Upper Red Pine

Observer Name
JT
Observation Date
Thursday, November 17, 2022
Avalanche Date
Wednesday, November 16, 2022
Region
Salt Lake » Little Cottonwood Canyon » Red Pine Gulch » Upper Red Pine
Location Name or Route
Upper Red Pine
Elevation
10,600'
Aspect
Northeast
Trigger
Skier
Avalanche Type
Hard Slab
Avalanche Problem
Wind Drifted Snow
Depth
8"
Width
70'
Vertical
500'
Carried
1
Caught
1
Comments
At around 16:30 I entered the gully just east and parallel to the Red Pine Lake summer trail and skin track used to access Lake Shot. Noted both hard wind crust and soft snow. This is not a particularly steep area, maybe 30 degrees where I transitioned so was somewhat surprise to have the slope fracture on my second turn and sweep me off balance. Fortunately, the avalanche was not deep but I did go for an unwanted ride. Managed to lose a pole as I kept a handle on my airbag trigger but did not have to deploy. As has been noted by others the crust is not well bonded to underlying snow and is reason for concern.
The spot where I entered the chute was approximately 15 feet in width and my transition here could possible have created weakness in the snowpack. As I initiated my second turn on some firm wind crust the slope fractured and swept me off my feet. I was carried for 350 feet and total length of avalanche was 550 ft with a maximum width of 70 feet. Fortunately, the depth was not great and I was able to maintain a feet first position and avoid being consumed by debris nor did I have to deploy my airbag. It was difficult to determine the initial fracturing layer depth at the crown but some of the blocks towards the toe were in excess of 12". This is heavily wind impacted area with rock outcroppings that could have been a contributing factor.
Crown location 40.53527, -111.69549 elev. 10600, Toe 40.53597, -111.69372
Coordinates