Thursday, May 21, 2015

Wildcat Tour- Collins Gulch- Little Cottonwood Canyon- 5.10.2015

Old man winter seems to be playing a cruel trick on those powder starved sliders here in the Wasatch. We have had more snow in April and May than it seems we have had all winter. There was 16" of very heavy, wet, dense snow that fell up Little Cottonwood Canyon and another tour seemed to be in order. I met Chris and his friend at the Collins lot at Alta, and we headed up. It was a busy day up there, and a lot of traffic on the skin track. We made the climb straight up the gut, past the mid-station and up to the top of the Wildcat lift. Chris and his buddy wanted to climb Baldy, and I just did not have the time with family plans, so I decided to make the changeover there. We said our goodbyes, and they were off.

Just as I was strapping in to drop, a double slide came down in the apron of Baldy, with one person in the toe of the debris. There was quite a large party heading up to the slide pile, and the person seemed to be up and moving. I figured that was a sign that things were getting too warm up there, and I dropped in to ride to the base. The snow was very heavy and you had to make calculated turns to smear the thick cream cheese conditions up there. I finally made it to the bottom. After getting the boots off and putting the board in the car, a injured skier rolled up at the base.

It was the individual who was in the avalanche I saw, and he was in a lot of pain. I carried his gear over to his vehicle, and the Alta Marshal got the paramedics on the phone. He had an obvious rib injury and what looked to be a wound on his waist. He said he was not in pain, but I could tell he was in shock. He said the slide had flushed him over a pretty big cliff, and from the looks of it he was lucky it was not worse. I left when the paramedics arrived. I hope he is ok. This is a prime example of terrain choice and the heating of the day can change everything. This may have been my last day of the season. 14/15 is going to go down as the lowest snow year, and warmest winter ever on record. We may have another storm before it is all gone. More adventures to come.

Wildcat Tour 5.10.2015 from Christian Paul on Vimeo.