Sunday, December 18, 2011

Wasatch Conditions - Wolverine Cirque

With a limited number of skis that I feel like trashing this "preseason", I haven't really done anything exciting except for race and chase friends up and down Brighton, training for the future.  Also, with a newborn in the home, the longer adventures will have to wait a little while.

But, Saturday, the affable Christopher Cawley offered his company for a relatively short tour through the narrow swath of backcountry terrain sandwiched between Alta and Brighton.  We made short descents from Rocky Point, down three chutes in Wolverine (Granny, Huge, and unknown), and out Patsy Marley (Chris) and Grizzly (me) to the car.

The best snow was in the sheltered Cirque and we were quite pleased as two of the chutes that we deemed skiable had no tracks until ours.  Rocky up high, the lower chutes were a nice blend of dry powder and deep facets that improved throughout the apron.

Chute #2 Photo by CC

Conservative skiing with sharks lurking, photo by CC
CC looking for rocks

Chute #3, photo by CC
So the bottom line is that there is some fun snow out there but caution is still the name of the game given the shallow rotten snowpack.  And, the bummer of the whole deal is that once we finally get snow, all the fun stuff will be off limits until things heal.

From the UAC:
"Our snow pack is so weak, its looking for any excuse to slide – slabs of only a few inches thick can overweight these weak layers of surface hoar, near surface facets and depth hoar. If you are heading into steep terrain, above about 9,500’, realize a “slab” can be the old, fist hardness snow, a small wind drift, or an old buried wind crust. Anything you trigger could be large enough to catch and carry – you will almost certainly hit rocks if you go for a ride, and could go into trees or off cliff in the wrong spot."
To donate to the UAC in appreciation of their fabulous work, click here.

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