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Thread: TR: Lake Blanche

  1. #1

    TR: Lake Blanche

    Went up to Lake Blanche today. It was another awesome day up the canyons. I had about 6" of fresh snow covering the old tracks, until we made it to the steep section. Once there, it was pretty much untracked, with a lot of breaking trail. Weather was overcast, with some lite flurries until we were about 300 yards out. Then the wind picked up about 15-20mph, and the temps dropped to about 6 degrees. I had to break out the goggles to see where I was going. We're looking at maybe trying to camp up there next weekend. All in all, a great hike to do.




















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  3. #2
    Love this picture:

    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. ~ Frost

  4. #3

  5. #4
    Nice report with great photos.


  6. #5
    Two wheels from Hell live2ride's Avatar
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    Pics look great! What kind of avalance danger is up there?



    Two wheels are better than four, keep the rubber side down.

  7. #6
    Great TR!
    Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, as vital to our lives and water and good bread
    - Edward Abbey

  8. #7
    That picture of snow prints through 2 feet of powder looks like a lot of work.

    I was thinking about going up there yesterday, and I may go camping here or Southern Utah this weekend. Your pictures have really inspired me. Thanks.
    "My heart shall cry out for Moab..." Isaiah 15:5

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by live2ride
    Pics look great! What kind of avalance danger is up there?

    Slim to none really. The trail is along the bottom of the canyon pretty much the whole way. When it does pull up out of the bottom, it really doesnt cross any danger areas.

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by DiscGo
    That picture of snow prints through 2 feet of powder looks like a lot of work.

    I was thinking about going up there yesterday, and I may go camping here or Southern Utah this weekend. Your pictures have really inspired me. Thanks.

    Oh yeah, I love breaking trail on fresh snow. Such a great workout, and you get such a great high out of it.

    I am waiting for my new coat system from Marmot to show up. As soon as it does, we are looking at either camping up here, or possibly up Lone Peak.

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by kris
    Quote Originally Posted by live2ride
    Pics look great! What kind of avalance danger is up there?
    Slim to none really. The trail is along the bottom of the canyon pretty much the whole way. When it does pull up out of the bottom, it really doesnt cross any danger areas.
    Ugh.

    There's plenty of avalanche terrain up there, especially above the trail to Lake Blanche. A similar trail is Mineral Fork. See below on the type of avalanche folks should be looking for and avoiding when hiking these upper elevation backcountry trails in the central Wasatch.

    -Brian in SLC

    From:

    http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/Accide...2012-11-04.htm

    Accident Report Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center

    Saturday, December 11, 2004

    Mineral Fork - Two Snowshoers killed

    Provisional report by Bruce Tremper - last updated 12-25-2004

    Location:

    Mineral Fork in Big Cottonwood Canyon just east of Salt Lake City, Utah

    Accident Summary:

    Two snowshoers were reported as overdue when they failed to return from a walk up Mineral Fork on Saturday, December 11th. Victim are Bruce Quint, 59, and Melvin Dennis, 37, both from Salt Lake City.

    Rescue Summary:

    Saturday night, two skiers from Salt Lake Country Search and Rescue followed snowshoe tracks to the base of a large headwall at the upper end of Mineral Fork where the tracks disappear under fresh avalanche debris and did not appear again on the other side. The two snowshoers were the first people to travel up Mineral Fork after the large storm, which ended two days earlier. Searchers could find no beacon signals in the debris, nor visual clues. Neither of the victims wore beacons. In consultation with several avalanche experts, including one who flew over the area in a helicopter that night, they decided that conditions were too dangerous to bring in a larger team of searchers that night.

    On Sunday morning personnel from Wasatch Powderbird Guides controlled the area with explosives, which triggered widespread avalanches in remainder of the canyon as well as hang fire above the accident site. They flew teams of rescuers to the site including Salt Lake County Sheriff

  12. #11
    Two wheels from Hell live2ride's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kris
    Quote Originally Posted by live2ride
    Pics look great! What kind of avalance danger is up there?

    Slim to none really. The trail is along the bottom of the canyon pretty much the whole way. When it does pull up out of the bottom, it really doesnt cross any danger areas.
    Isn't the bottom of the canyon the worst place if there is an Avalance, meaning that you are surrounded by slopes which have at least a 30 degree slope on them?



    Two wheels are better than four, keep the rubber side down.

  13. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by live2ride
    Isn't the bottom of the canyon the worst place if there is an Avalance, meaning that you are surrounded by slopes which have at least a 30 degree slope on them?
    They don't call them "terrain traps" for nothin'.

    -Brian in SLC

  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by live2ride
    Quote Originally Posted by kris
    Quote Originally Posted by live2ride
    Pics look great! What kind of avalance danger is up there?

    Slim to none really. The trail is along the bottom of the canyon pretty much the whole way. When it does pull up out of the bottom, it really doesnt cross any danger areas.
    Isn't the bottom of the canyon the worst place if there is an Avalance, meaning that you are surrounded by slopes which have at least a 30 degree slope on them?

    So, is this area here a high danger area?


    Myself, and the other guy I went with figure no. After looking at the avalanche forecast for the area, they relative flatness through the basin, and the steepness on the steep parts, we still figured a pretty low danger. The side of the creek the trail follows is the west aspect, which correct me if I am wrong, typically offers the least amount of potential. Also, given the amount of large conifers, aspen stands, and other vegetation pretty much the whole way up, again, we felt like it was pretty minimal.

    Now, if you are looking to face the danger, the other side of the creek, there were obviously previous signs of avalanches in years past. But again, all this is on the other side, roughly 200 yards distance down slope, and up the other side.

    So yeah, if you have your head up your ass, and take the routes that are blatantly asking for trouble, then yeah the danger is high.

    So, please post all the links you have, because I do enjoy learning as much as possible.

    Looking at prior avalanches up mineral fork, there seems to be avalanche chutes that get used every year, and certain areas that are barren, and look like they make conditions ripe.

    So you are all of course right. There is a danger of avalanches anywhere you go. There is a danger of sliding off the road driving up there, or having someone careen out of control and run you over.

    That's not going to prevent me from doing what I enjoy. Using the tools I had at hand, the way conditions were, and the area we were in, we felt totally comfortable.

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by kris
    Quote Originally Posted by live2ride
    Quote Originally Posted by kris
    Quote Originally Posted by live2ride
    Pics look great! What kind of avalance danger is up there?

    Slim to none really. The trail is along the bottom of the canyon pretty much the whole way. When it does pull up out of the bottom, it really doesnt cross any danger areas.
    Isn't the bottom of the canyon the worst place if there is an Avalance, meaning that you are surrounded by slopes which have at least a 30 degree slope on them?

    So, is this area here a high danger area?


    Myself, and the other guy I went with figure no. After looking at the avalanche forecast for the area, they relative flatness through the basin, and the steepness on the steep parts, we still figured a pretty low danger. The side of the creek the trail follows is the west aspect, which correct me if I am wrong, typically offers the least amount of potential. Also, given the amount of large conifers, aspen stands, and other vegetation pretty much the whole way up, again, we felt like it was pretty minimal.

    Now, if you are looking to face the danger, the other side of the creek, there were obviously previous signs of avalanches in years past. But again, all this is on the other side, roughly 200 yards distance down slope, and up the other side.

    So yeah, if you have your head up your ass, and take the routes that are blatantly asking for trouble, then yeah the danger is high.

    So, please post all the links you have, because I do enjoy learning as much as possible.

    Looking at prior avalanches up mineral fork, there seems to be avalanche chutes that get used every year, and certain areas that are barren, and look like they make conditions ripe.

    So you are all of course right. There is a danger of avalanches anywhere you go. There is a danger of sliding off the road driving up there, or having someone careen out of control and run you over.

    That's not going to prevent me from doing what I enjoy. Using the tools I had at hand, the way conditions were, and the area we were in, we felt totally comfortable.
    During a portion of the lower sections you are hiking in the runout zone for the slopes across the creek. If you remotely trigger one of the slopes your chances of getting out of the way are pretty slim.

    Also, just before you hit the lake you cross another avalanche path. I have hiked across debris piles in that section more than once.

    Wasatch Touring sells some pretty useful trail maps that help give you a better idea of the known avalanche paths. That said if you travel in avalanche terrain you really ought to take a course or two.

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