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Observation: Pioneer Peak

Observation Date
Observer Name
Kelly, Meisenheimer
Salt Lake » Big Cottonwood Canyon » Pioneer Peak
Location Name or Route
Twin Lakes- Pioneer Peak
Moderate Snowfall
Wind Direction
Wind Speed
Weather Comments
With the northwest flow it was snowing harder and colder in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Pretty close to rain at 8800' and more snow as we gained elevation. The winds were notably stronger from the west-northwest on ridgetops above 10,000'
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
New Snow Density
Snow Surface Conditions
Snow Characteristics Comments
Snow was medium to high density new snow with more precipitation later in the afternoon and more snow around Lake Catherine than around Dog Lake. Under the new snow was a still visible dirt layer in wind-stripped areas and soft wind-drifts on the leeward side (south-east aspects). I would guess that terrain above treeline was more wind-affected and you might have been able to find a deeper wind drift in higher alpine terrain. Most of our travels were all aspects 8,800-10,200' below and just above treeline. Slope angles ranged from sub 30's to just under 40 degrees. You could still feel the old frozen snow surface on steeper terrain and in places where roller balls existed from last weeks warm up. The best riding was lower angle smooth surfaces.
Avalanche Problem #1
Wind Drifted Snow
Problem #1 Comments
There were isolated pockets of wind-drifted snow on south-east aspects at 10,000'. These were on steep test slopes and were breaking on the dirt layer and then once I pushed down slope were stepping up to a density change 4-5" off the dirt layer and about 4-5" deep. Any location that did not have wind-drifted snow was new soft dry-loose and not going very far. This afternoon it needed a touch wind to create a problem.
Avalanche Problem #2
New Snow
Problem #2 Comments
New snow issues running on the frozen dirt layer were isolated to steep terrain over 38˚ degrees and had to be triggered by a rider.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating