Talty, Coyne, Gill
Salt Lake » Big Cottonwood Canyon » Brighton Perimeter
Location Name or Route
Today we went for a tour up the Dog Lake / Lake Martha divide to see how the strong winds were impacting avalanche conditions. Winds were strong and predominantly from the S, however, with winds this strong snow was being transported in all directions. Gusts were strong enough to warrant holding down our gear during transitions. On South faces, new snow from 11/28 was nearly gone and the wind was transporting faceted snow. Snow surfaces varied every few steps and every turn. We found soft wind-blown drifts up to a foot deep, wind crusts, and hard wind-blown snow. We stopped to dig a quick snowpit on an E facing slope at 9500' (see photo), and found a 10cm wind slab (4F) atop a brittle crust (most likely MF crust from 11/26 before the storm), which was all sitting above 20cm of weak facets (F). An ECT resulted in ECTN-7 on the facets below the 10cm wind slab.
We went out today expecting to see avalanches due to the strong winds and plenty of recent snow to transport. However, we did not see any new avalanche activity. Cracking was observed in soft pockets of wind-drifted snow (see photo), albeit less widespread than expected. Ski cuts and walking on test slopes showed no signs of collapsing and minimal cracking. These very strong winds seemed to deposit and strip snow without rhyme or reason, creating small pockets of instability rather than large, connected wind slabs. However, weak faceted snow still lingers beneath the surface on many slopes. With more of a load, this dragon is bound to wake up at some point.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating