Avalanche: Mt. Raymond

Observer Name
I Johnson, B Mead
Observation Date
Wednesday, March 27, 2024
Avalanche Date
Wednesday, March 27, 2024
Salt Lake » Mill Creek Canyon » Mt. Raymond
Location Name or Route
Murphy's Headplant
Trigger: additional info
Unintentionally Triggered
Avalanche Type
Soft Slab
Avalanche Problem
Wind Drifted Snow
Weak Layer
Density Change
Skied 3 runs, Main Raymond, Bob Sled on Gobblers, and Paradise without any major red flags. Triggered a small, isolated 8 inch wind slab on Main Raymond east face which for us wasn't surprising because it was pretty windy up there and we saw some old small crowns from either small windslabs or storm slab.
To clarify, we triggered a big avalanche on Murphy's Headplant, our fourth and final run.
Rider 1 dropped in on Murphy's, hitting a solid air into the run and immediately triggered the slab. He was carried 500 ft at high speeds, through the trees, breaking his arm and split board in the process by hitting one of said trees. The entire slope collapsed like a pane of glass and there was no escape. Rider one called avalanche over the radio and miraculously was able to stay on top.
Rider 2 frantically skied down the bed surface, triggering a little bit of hangfire which he quickly moved away from to let pass to get down to rider 1. Rider 1 was in communication over the radio which allowed rider 2 to find rider 1 quickly. Rider 2 was stunned at how far the avalanche carried rider 1, we estimate 500 feet.
We slung rider 1s broken arm and he was barley able to ride out on his own.
This was familiar terrain for us and are completely shocked that this avalanche went as big as it did on this slope. As stated above, the entire slope avalanched.
We are both very rattled, frightened and glad that this just seems to be a broken arm and some bruises as we write this from the ER. We are both fully aware that this could have been much much worse.
Red flags
- 1 shooting crack while skinning up murphys
- we knew from the report there were issues with the new snow bonding to the old snow surface
- feeling the old snow to new snow interface and how easy snow was sliding off it while skinning up Murphys Headplant
[Forecaster Comment: UAC forecasters visited the site on Thursday, March 28, and added the photos. The weak layer was a density change in the recent storm snow.]
#1 - The flank of the avalanche down approximately 500' from the starting zone.
#2 - Looking across the bed surface to the flank of the avalanche.
#3 - Looking down the avalanche path.
#4 - Looking up the avalanche path in a large debris zone