Several Deep Avalanches in the Taylor Fork
We rode into the Taylor Fork area on a beautiful, sunny day. We saw three large avalanches that likely broke approximately one week ago in Sunlight Basin, Sage Basin, and at the head of Sage Creek. Sage Basin and Sunlight Basin were cornice-triggered hard slabs that broke 2-4 feet deep on wind-loaded slopes. The avalanche in Sage Basin broke several mature trees.
The slope that avalanched at the head of Sage Creek was a heavily wind-loaded 35-40 degree slope. It failed without a cornice trigger (as no overhanging cornices were above). We investigated this slide in greater depth. It failed on a layer of faceted snow 2-4' deep. In our stability test, we got an ECTP22 on the failure layer. Riders and skiers are less likely to trigger these large avalanches after four days without snow, but we don't trust these slopes. Every time it snows a little bit, we see large avalanches. They remain possible to trigger now. Choosing conservative terrain is the best management strategy - simple slopes with minimal wind-loading and fewer consequences or slopes less than 30 degrees in steepness. With more snow in the forecast, the danger will likely rise again this week.