Date of Avalanche: 2/25/12
Time of Avalanche: 3:00pm
Location of Avalanche: New Slide on Wright Peak
Elevation of Avalanche: Near the top of the slide.
Aspect of Avalanche: NE
Slope Angle: ?
Type of Avalanche: Didn’t stop to look! Sorry..
Number of People Caught: None
Number of People Carried: None
Number of People Partially Buried: None
Number of People Fully Buried: None
Number of People Injured: None
Number of People Killed: None
On Saturday, February 25, 2012 my partner and I decided to ski tour on the Angel Slides. We decided to set the typical skin track that winds it way up the bottom part of wide and into skinny. On the way up, we dug two pits on ” skinny ” which is now the middle of the three Angel slides. After the second pit we decided to not to continue up. At this pit,we observed 2-4feet of beautiful powder, that is/was unfortunately atop a 6-10 inch loosely consolidated cupped ( tg ) snow layer. This 6-10 inch layer had consolidated ” chunks ” of tg snow with air pockets. The 6-10 inch layer was on top of rock/ice. I did a ruts block test and 4 feet layer slid with one ski on the block. After we decided to not ski skinny we decided to check out the new slide thinking that it’s lower angle and terrain features would facilitate safer skiing. Right?
Once on the new slide, we decided to set a conservative skin track through the trees climbers right. At one point, while cutting onto the slide from the trees ( we wanted to dig another pit at an island of trees ), I heard a whoompf, than saw a crack, then the whole left side of the new slide ripped to to the ice/rock layer. The top of the slide was left with a 2 foot crown. Luckily, I had chosen a good up track, one that had terrain features that kept the path of the avalanche away from me. I had a lot of time to turn around and ski back to the trees. My partner was in the safety of the woods, following proper protocol, watching me cross the slope when the avalanche occurred. The avalanche slid, rather slowly, perhaps due to lots of terrain features/traps/ low angle for about 1000 feet or so. The avalanche slide path was just 5 feet from where I stopped, heard the whompff, and turned to the trees.
We were able to easily ski beautiful powder down our conservative up track, to ski the woods below the slides. All in all a memorable day in the backcountry.