Friday, December 26, 2014

Upper Silver Fork – West Bowl

There are several ways to access West Bowl but here we are only looking at what we believe to be the most efficient fully human powered ones:

Trail head:                           Emma Tunnel at Alta (Little Cottonwood)
Trail head elevation:            8,560
“Summit”:                            The highest point between False Flagstaff and Davenport
“Summit” elevation:             10,240  
The line:                               From point 10,240 ski down the east facing bowl

West Bowl is a reasonably safe alternative when the snowpack is not all too reliable. From Alta, there is a 1,600’ skin up to the summit between Davenport and False Flagstaff. Once on the ridge line take a right (East) till you are on point 10,240 and ski down the east facing bowl. The laps in that bowl are 700’ for each descent. This tour can be an out and back with ski out on the Alta side or a bi-canyonal tour with a ski out down Silver Fork to Solitude Ski resort in Big Cottonwood.

Today the snow conditions were absolutely exceptional with a foot plus in the bowl and even more on the south facing ski out back down to Alta. There it was a bit over knee deep of the very light, fast and fun stuff. There were no signs of instabilities in the bowl however, given the avalanche report of the day, we did away from the prominent roll over in the bowl and way clear of Silver Fork headwall.

Here are some pictures (click to enlarge):

James making it to the ridge line a 100 feet or so from point 10,240.

Mike making it to the same point.

Mike and James on the ridgeline between Little Cottonwood and Days Fork
just above Jaws in Days Fork (Big Cottonwood).

View back down towards Albion  Basin in Alta. All tha snow for 1600 feet
down was knee deep plus of blower...

View of the entrance to Jaws. In the center between the trees you can see the
tracks of the guy that got caught in an avalanche here on Xmas Eve... 

He took a ride all the way down and got lucky to get away with a double
fracture of his tibia and fibula.

View of Main Days - a great Wasatch line.

The bowl held a bit over a foot of really
fun and fast powder.

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