Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hitting the Reset Button

With a bad snow year and a warm spring and summer, we are essentially hitting the reset button with regards to snow in the Wasatch Mountains.  The Wasatch are not a glaciated range, but usually there are some areas patches of snow that linger at higher elevations into late summer (or longer), or even persist until the next winter (i.e., last year), but not this year.

Yesterday evening we did some hiking in Albion Basin.  Snow typically lingers in Gunsight well into summer, but this year, it is entirely snow free.

Not much in the Castle either, except right at the top of the Castle Apron.

The view from Hidden Peak suggests snow is quite limited on the American Fork Twin as well.

I don't know how often this occurs, but I suspect we will see a complete elimination of all snow in the Wasatch Mountains this year, including the so-called Timp Glacier.  I haven't been up there this year (send me a recent photo if you have one and we'll post it up), but it was largely snow free in 2003.

Those hoping to do Turns All Year in Utah had better get out on August 1st to make whatever turns they can and then hope for a storm in September.


  1. I saw pictures (not mine) from last Tuesday on the Timp "glacier", and it still goes all the way to the lake, but it's getting skinny. I'm headed up next Monday, I think (I'm so late for July turns!). I'll take a picture.

  2. Viewed from the Pfeifferhorn today, Timp "glacier" still goes to Emerald lake and still snow on the aprons of the north facing cliffs above the basin. Could still ski the "glacier".

  3. Good to know. Looking forward to photos Christy.

    Maybe we should take bets on the last day the Timp glacier is "skiable." We'd need to have some sort of criteria. Continuous coverage at least 20 feet wide for 100 vertical feet? Some peoples standards are lower (mine are higher, especially after climbing 4000 vertical feet), but this seems reasonable.

    I'll take September 5th...

  4. I know that it is a few months out till winter is in full swing, but was wondering what your take is on this up and coming season, Len Randolph mentioned on tv about the NAO and how it could be a wetter and colder winter for the region, do you think this is the case ! Thanks

    1. I refuse to drink the NAO, AO, PNA, ENSO kool-aid. None of these indices/phenomenon provide much predictive skill over northern Utah, especially at a 4-8 month lead time.