Thursday, December 12, 2013

Silver Fork

Yesterday Mike and I went out to Silver Fork from Alta and into West Bowl for a few laps and then out following the Davenport ridge line and down via Grizzly Gulch. Considering that we are dealing with a Considerable avalanche risk on anything north facing at any elevation we may care about, we figured some low angle on the most west facing part of West Bowl would be a reasonably safe bet. It was. On that aspect we didn’t see nor feel any instabilities at all. The snow pack is about 1 and a half foot of snow. The first two inches or so are hard-frozen facets (pencil) well bonded to the rest which is soft (four fingers) snow. The skiing was a bit nerve wracking for anyone that cares about their bases; we were hitting rock regularly. Although we didn’t see any instabilities on the West aspect there was no shortage of avalanches and bad signs on the Northern aspects. Those aspects consistently show signs of instabilities including two avalanches west of Two Dogs, several cracks on Silver Fork Headwall etc.
Given the conditions Silver Fork should probably be exited by BCC. However, we were committed to an LCC exit (the car was parked at Alta…), so we skinned Emma Ridge to Davenport Hill then followed that ridgeline to East Bowl Pass and then down the Jeep road to Grizzly Gulch to the parking lot. Not a fascinating ski but a great recon tour and workout.
Here are the pictures (click to enlarge):
Spectacular panorama by Mike Florence. From left to right: The Pfeifferhorn,
the Dresden Face, The Hypodermic needle and the Coalpit Headwall.

One of my absolute favorite lines, MT Superior South Face.

Yours truly trudging up Emma 2, photo coyright: MFPS.

West Bowl, photo curtesy Mike Florence.

Looking down West Bowl.

Mike getting ready to transition.

View of True Flagstaff (right) and Peak 10561(left).

Upper West Bowl in the forefront and part of the Silver Fork headwall.

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