Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I don't know if it was the conditions, or the avalanche rating from the Utah Avalanche Center, or if it was the story I posted up yesterday... but it was a spooky day for me in the Rubies today.

Mike and I headed up to Madigan's Chutes, with an idea of peeking over the top of the second chute into the Colonel Moore drainage... some good spring skiing in there and plans are cooking. We saw a little slide activity on the way up - a crown on Flake Off, a new slide in Terminal Cancer, several small fractures and sluffs on both sides of the road as we headed up. The wind had hit the snow and turned it into a foot-thick slab, on top of some weaker layers, with January's death layer lurking underneath.

I used my poles on the way up to test the snow, and we took precautions on the uptrack with routing and spacing. No whoomps... but still... while it was safe for today I was spooked enough to be happy to switch locations after the first run.

Gorgeous place, though, and decent but stiff skiing, even on a flat-light windblown day.

I took my time on the way down and had my spookiness confirmed... Ice Capades had slid big while we were up there. Mike later heard from the heliski guys that there are huge natural slides all over the range right now.

Think it's a good time to take a short break from skiing and ride my road bike for a while, give the snowpack a chance to settle down.

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