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Thread: Ice Conditions 09-10 Season

  1. #1

    Ice Conditions 09-10 Season

    Any ice to climb yet? Please post conditions as you see them.

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  3. #2

  4. #3
    Dirtcicle as of Nov 28th from

  5. #4
    No updates for you but let me know when you want to go and show me the ropes and I am in :)
    Tacoma Said - If Scott he asks you to go on a hike, ask careful questions like "Is it going to be on a trail?" "What are the chances it will kill me?" etc. Maybe "Will there be sack-biting ants along the way?"

  6. #5
    Quick post on what I know...

    GWI in LCC is in and popular. Been on it a couple of times. Yesterday, 10 cars at 4pm and parties jammed at all belays on both sides of the flow. Crazy, but, expected. Surprisingly thick down low, and, you can pass parties on the main flow as the short gully to the right goes quickly. Second pitch is as fun as it gets, with very little snow (less a slog, more of a climb right now). Thunker ice. Already gettin' pegged out.

    Also in LCC, Scruffy is nary a glimmer (not enough melt freeze) but Hanging Slab Gully is in and looks good. Also, the 3 gullies just up canyon from the Y coulior are in and the far right one has been getting some action. Get these while they last, as, with any additional snow, they all get buried. Didn't see much if any ice on Cocoa Puffs.

    Friends climbed Backoff and Squashhead in Santaquin. Reported very cold conditions but doable.

    Rumor has some stuff in Joes is in. Donorcicle looked anemic but Slide and Mary's Lake have been seeing folks climbing.

    Rumor has folks climbing Stairway through 5th pitch, but, unknown how "fat" it really is or if folks are taking advantage of the mixed routes and anchors. Photo I saw of BV area looked good, and, BVL, BVR and WN all looked pretty good.

    Take care. Cold temps, wind and snow transport into gullys will be provide some avy hazard for routes that are situated below gullys. Guy Lucelle died in Bozeman yesterday in an avalanche (huge bummer) but, they have a "moderate' hazard rating up there in similar terrain as us, so, I'd imagine if it could happen to him, it could happen down here to us so be super careful with those kind of conditions. Some avy info below.

    -Brian in SLC

    The avalanche danger is MODERATE on steep, wind drifted slopes facing north though east, above about 9,500

  7. #6
    brian you heard right about stairway. I was up there last wednesday running laps on the first pitch. The first 5 pitches are in although I can't say to the thickness above the first 2. The ice was very brittle and hard last Wednesday. Lots of kicking and lots of swinging. Still better than being at work though.

  8. #7
    I'm sure conditions have changed a bunch with the big warm up.

    I wouldn't suggest getting anywhere near any thing with a gully above it right now. Avy hazard is huge and an avalanche warning still in effect.

    Which completely rules out Santaquin for me. That place is frightening wrt avy terrain. Really had closes calls a few times over the years there. Ditto Willard Canyon.

    Provo has some stuff that might be safe, kinda. But, given how big the terrain is above the falls, I'd probably opt for not. Gullys above to the climbs to the left of the falls are out for me too. Still remember Doug Hall....(killed in an avalanche on the Fang a few years back).

    Hopefully will settle out a bit by the weekend.

    Ice shouldn't be too brittle after this warm up, though!


    -Brian in SLC

  9. #8
    Quick trip up Big Cottonwood yesterday...

    Storm Mtn Falls: nothing.

    Scottish Gully: nothing.

    Plenty of collapsing of the snowpack and some wind up high, so, will be awhile before avy conditions settle out a bit.


    -Brian in SLC

  10. #9
    headed up to bridal veil tomorrow. I'll put up a report as soon as I get back.

  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Spidey
    headed up to bridal veil tomorrow. I'll put up a report as soon as I get back.
    I'm a bit gun shy about Bridalveil. The terrain above it is huge and a known avalanche zone. Still widespread collapsing and some wind loading. If you got hit with a slide from above, you'd never see it coming.

    Stairway might be a bit safer bet.

    I wouldn't go there. But, I'm pretty conservative. Hazard is too high for me right now, especially there.

    Were a number of sluffs crossing the road today in Big Cottonwood.

    Word from "wow" (the Wizard of the Wasatch) from today's observations of the snowpack:

    "Stress fractures on both slopes were extensive.
    Collapsing continues as does stress fracturing.
    I looked at one other crown which had a different profile.
    Since, I'm not seeing the "all our troubles have washed away" or any real pattern, think I'll be playing a conservative game for the next few days."


    Edit to add, from today's avy report:

    "with the slide at Sundance in Provo perhaps one of the more interesting avalanches in years. It broke out 3

  12. #11

  13. #12
    Sorry Brian, I should have said Provo canyon. We went up and checked out our options we found that the gully the Fang is in had slid already so we went and climbed the Fang. The actual Fang hasn't come in yet. The first pitch however is in solid. The slide a couple of days before made for mixed Ice conditions. Some sections were great plastic ice others were bad couliflower and egg shell in other sections. Both requiring some finesse. Any way that's that.

  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Spidey
    Sorry Brian, I should have said Provo canyon. We went up and checked out our options we found that the gully the Fang is in had slid already so we went and climbed the Fang
    I'd be worried about the hangfire. I've seen those gullies repeat. Ditto Santaquin. 'Bout got the chop on Squashead when I'd thought it had already run. Close call. Lessons learned.

    Anyhoo, good report. Glad it went well.

    Below posted from the avy site conditions page, on a close call on Wednesday involving "hangfire".

    Couple of updates from the 'proj indicate that Joe's isn't any good (at least down low) and the GWI (which we climbed on Wednesday pm) is gettin' thin and beat out. At least its colder today!


    -Brian in SLC

    Date: 12/16/2009
    Twin Lakes Pass --> Honeycomb Ridge --> Davenport --> Emma 2
    OVC --> BKN --> SCT --> OVC
    high 20's

    North Facing - low 40's.
    SS-AS/AFu-D2-R3-O -110cm - hangfire triggered ~ 45 minutes following SS-ARc-D2-R2-O-90cm
    10,000'-->9640' two separate gullies - avalanched wind reload of a gully that ran during the storm.
    2-3mm facets (15cm thick - fist hardness) under 1F hardness 0.5 - 1.0mm windslab
    up to 2 meter deep deposition in the runout zone ~250 m long by 25m wide

    collapsing along ridgelines and cracks propagating up to 4 meters all along ridgeline from Honeycomb to Emma 2

    30-50cm of new snow transported into gully to skiers left following its release during the storm - that snow avalanched sympathetically with the hangfire in the gully to the right

    The start zone ran down to the K hard MFC from October, further down the track the second crust with facets on either side of it was not wiped out by the two avalanches. The first avalanche was triggered by a lone snowboarder. He ascended by our test pits and said he had triggered a slab 20 m up the ridge. We went to look and I stepped down to a spur between to gully systems (low 20's) After I had taken off my skis and pack and was preparing to set an anchor to belay myself down to the crown, the spur avalanched (possibly also triggered by someone moving on skis at the ridgecrest. I got washed off the spur and took about a 200' ride before I was able to grab a tree and let the debris pass by ( I think my efforts to kick into the bed surface also helped slow me down enough to see the tree coming and grab it without being ripped off it).

    We evaluated the stability before the avalanche (after 6 separate pits and consistent whumpfing and cracking). Seems as though the probability of natural avalanching on N aspects is pretty low, but skier triggered avalanches in terrain greater than 35 degrees seems pretty high on N and NE aspects that have received recent wind loading, have rocky start zones, or localized thin areas in the path. I would probably keep the danger at considerable for N/NE above 9000'. Slab depth is consistently a meter over the November facets in the upper LCC zone and the collapsing didn't subside at all between yesterday and today.

  15. #14
    Quick update from Provo Canyon on Saturday, 19 December:

    White Nightmare in and very moderate (easiest I've ever led it). WI 4.

    Plenty of flow on the main falls, and, stuff crashing down all morning. Prudent to perhaps take the lower track across the bottom, or, cut across from the climber's left side of the lower left side of Stairway. BVL and R looked ok (party to the left of us made short work of the right side, which can be TR'd from an anchor in the open hole).

    Saw no less than 20 people on Stairway. Looked doable to/through the 5th pitch (although 5th pitch looked hard, WI 5-ish). Huge pile of folks gettin' into the swing of it. Apron is huge and seems to support that many folks. Good on 'em.

    Millers and FoF looked anemic from the road. Folks on another forum mentioned that the Fang was melty and thin:

    Got on The Fang in Provo Canyon today. Fragile stuff and melting pretty quick. Only able to do the first pitch as the rest was either too melted out or gone altogether. The rest of the line looks way fun though. Can't wait until it freezes again.
    3rd pitch of Millers is almost totally gone (from the road).
    -Brian in SLC

  16. #15
    Couple of photos from Saturday. Stairway to Heaven and White Nightmare (on right, with Bridleveil to the left).
    Attached Images Attached Images   

  17. #16
    Niiiice, I'm anxious to get out there.

  18. #17
    Update on Joes/Price Area:

    See my trip report for pictures/more details:

    CCC: In but rotten ice on the bottom and very little throughout. No really stellar spots for good pro.

    Donorcicle: In and huge. Fantastic conditions

    Wolfenstein/Melty Way: Nada

    Highway to Heaven/Deadbolt: In and it looks great

    Ampitheater: Not much there.

    Spear of Fear: Nothing that I could see there

    Price Area:
    Pricecicle/Dirtcicle: In and looking really good
    -- Austin

  19. #18
    Guess either nobody else out there is climbing, or like normal just not reporting conditions here.

    Up the stairway this last weekend (2/6). It was warm and the climbing was quite wet. The ice was holding screws ok though. There was still plenty there as much as 5 pitches up or so.

    The ice at the bottom of Provo Canyon by the bathroom on the north side of the road (name?) was in but shaky looking as of yesterday (2/11).
    -- Austin

  20. #19
    Besides Pleiades, I haven't gotten out on the ice.

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