Avalanche: Bells Canyon

Observer Name
Mark Davenport
Observation Date
Saturday, April 29, 2017
Occurrence Date
Saturday, April 29, 2017
Occurence Time
8:30am

Region:

Location Name or Route
Bells Canyon
Elevation
9600
Aspect
East
Slope Angle
30
Trigger
Skier
Trigger: additional info
Unintentionally Triggered
Avalanche Type
Soft Slab
Avalanche Problem
Wind Slab
Weak Layer
Graupel
Depth
12"
Width
40
Vertical
200
Carried
1
Caught
1
Comments
My partner and I went up Bells Canyon this morning to take a look at Lone Peak, and felt uncomfortable with some of the new wind slabs we were finding on north and east aspects on the approach. So we decided to head to the Crows Feet, and sought out a lower angle ascent route to take us from Bells to the South Fork of Dry Creek. As we neared the ridge the slope angle increased and the terrain grew rocky, and by the time we were within a switchback of the ridge we were gapping out as far as we could on the slope. While I waited in a corner beneath the ridge, my partner made one final switchback toward a break in the rocks. When he was 30 feet away, a soft slab broke out just above him, and carried him a short distance downhill. However, the slab propagated quickly into the corner in which I stood, and carried me about 150-200 feet down the slope, at which point I managed to grab a tree. No injury or burial, fortunately. We skinned back up the bed surface and examined the crown line, which was about 12" deep, and appeared to be wind deposits from Friday night's NW winds that failed on graupel. We encountered similar pockets of wind slab failing on graupel on north-facing aspects in the Crows Feet, though these were much more manageable. Apologies for not taking any photos of the slide.
Coordinates