Observation: Geyser Pass

Observation Date
Observer Name
Trenbeath, Kelly
Moab » Geyser Pass
Location Name or Route
Geyser Pass- Gold Basin-Dark Canyon
Wind Direction
Wind Speed
Weather Comments
Cold Temperatures. Clear Skies. Calm winds. Great day to explore the central La Sal's. Temperatures never rose above the high teens ˚F.
Snow Characteristics
Snow Surface Conditions
Melt-Freeze Crust
Snow Characteristics Comments
Any aspect that received sun (south or west) had a 2-3" crust that was supportable for travel with small grained near surface facets above the crust. North facing slopes and shaded areas under trees still had dry loose surface snow.
Supportable melt freeze crust made for good skiing in Gold Basin. HS in this zone was 240cm on a southwest facing aspect at 10,100'
Avalanche Problem #1
Normal Caution
Problem #1 Comments
We saw one avalanche most likely from Wednesday March 15 on north-facing Mounte Peale. Areas above treeline had small dry loose avalanches on steep north facing terrain most likely from a few days ago.
Avalanche Problem #2
Wind Drifted Snow
Increasing Danger
Problem #2 Comments
As winds fluctuate there is snow available for transport. This trend will match wind speed. We looked for signs of flagging or drifting snow and did not see any today.
We stuck to terrain under 30 degrees and used lower elevation and lower angle slopes to travel between basins. One of the things I like to do when exploring new terrain is to take a look around and make terrain selections that allow me to get a feel for the area before committing to any terrain over 30 degrees. Even if an area is familiar (meaning I've been there seasons before) it isn't the same. When travelling to other ranges and snow climates I have to remind myself that this isn't like the snowpack at home.
I like to see how this season compares to others, check the avalanche forecast if available and get a feel for the terrain and snowpack prior to committing to steep terrain. This season the La Sal range is at 228% of normal for SWE (snow water equivalent) which means there is a possibility of unusual conditions. Traditionally the La Sal range settles into a spring snowpack earlier than the Central Wasatch and this year it isn't the case. With all the snow things are not the same this year.
It was nice to see the terrain from the Geyser Pass area. The La Sal's are big mountains and we were able to cover a lot of distance on skis and snowmobiles. We looked at the site of the tragic Dark Canyon avalanche accident from January of 2019. The east face of Laurel Peak is big terrain with multiple aspects.
Photo of Dark Canyon
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating