Moab Winter Condition Update 12/06/2019
Greetings! It’s been a very quiet week in Moab as the fall tourism winds down significantly. It’s very nice to have the town to ourselves for the time being. The snow conditions are prime and it seems as if winter is in full swing!
Amazingly, we are currently at 164% of the average snowfall for the La Sal’s and 367% of the average snowfall for the Abajo mountains in Southern Utah. It’s been a great start to winter for Southern Utah so far. Below are the current snow-water equivalent totals and the median snow-water totals taken at the Snotel sites in Camp Jackson in the Abajo’s and in the La Sal’s. It looks as if the snowpack is currently in January’s totals, and its the beginning of December! Let’s hope this trend continues. Not only do we need the snow for skiing, but we could also use it for the river season and for water in general.
The La Sal Loop Rd is plowed and clear of snow as of this morning. However, Geyser Pass Rd has significant snow and ice. Only capable vehicles equipped with 4×4 or 2-wheel drive vehicles with high clearance, chains, and snow tires should attempt to drive this road in its current condition. If you do attempt the journey, take it slow and cautiously. Be safe!
Geyser Pass Rd 12/06/19
Storm Totals This Week.
Colorado and Utah resorts picked up anywhere from a dusting to 9″ of snow this week. Nothing significant for most resorts but it has added to the resort base depths which are important for opening new terrain this early in the season. Below are the current Colorado and Utah ski resort snow conditions for the last 72 hours.
Wolf Creek and Purgatory picked up 9″ and Brian Head picked up 8″. Southern Utah is still looking really good! So far, the Colorado winner for base depth is Wolf Creek with 39”. Alta and Snowbird are the Utah winners with a 48” base depth. The next chance for snow will be Sunday into Monday with moderate accumulations for Utah and Colorado mountains. It shouldn’t be much, but we can expect some amount of snow to fall in the mountains. Some is always better than none.
Very good snow conditions remain in the La Sal’s! Gold Basin received 3” of snow from the last storm on Wednesday into Thursday. I took this photo on some low-angle terrain near Geyser Pass on Tuesday. Needless to say, we were stoked with what we found! Coverage in the area we skied was great and we were able to make turns without penetrating anything beneath the surface. Such a good feeling!
Gesyer Pass 12/03/19
The Avalanche Danger is MODERATE on northerly aspects above 10,000 ft and LOW on all aspects below 10,000 ft. There are still possibilities for wind drifted snow to create wind slabs in isolated areas and there is a current warning for persistent slab layers. I observed this hoarfrost layer near Geyser Pass. That may be something to watch going forward.
Hoar Frost 12/03/19
We have heard that the Geyser Pass beacon training park and beacon detection gate may be open as early as next week. Please refer to the Utah Avalanche Center Moab Forecast Page for the full forecast and further information.
Cross Country Skiing/Snowshoeing
Conditions remain very good for cross country skiing and snowshoeing. The word from LUNA is that operations could begin as early as next week. The snow came earlier than usual this year. Be patient, there will be some great corduroy soon. For now there is a nice track that has been packed out by other skiers on the Geyser Pass Rd and further up in the mountain meadows towards Geyser Pass. it’s lovely up there!
Skin Track near Geyser Pass
Down in town we should see Mostly Sunny conditions through the weekend that will give way to another storm Sunday into Monday. High’s may reach the upper 40’s and lower 50’s this week and lows in the 30’s. Not bad weather for mid-December!
At 10,000 feet we should see Mostly Sunny conditions Saturday with Highs in the 30’s and Lows in the teens and 20’s. We should see snowfall Saturday night into Sunday night before warming back up again. It’s winter up there!
All mountain bike trails are closed or partially closed for the time being. The partially open bike trails include Amasa/Hymasa, Navajo rocks, and Slickrock. Most of the trails are covered in snow and ice and as the winter conditions melt, it will turn into mud. It is unlikely that we will see many trails re-open soon as there is more moisture in the forecast. Riding on muddy trails may create ruts that take time to repair and they may also damage your bike in the process. Please refer to the Poison Spider Conditions Page or stop by the Poison Spider Bike shop in person to discuss riding options.
As there has been a lot of precipitation in the forecast, the rock remains wet. I observed wet conditions at Wall St this morning despite numerous parties climbing on it. The rule of thumb is 3 days of dry conditions after a significant storm. The best way to tell if the rock is dry is to walk to the base of the route you are intending to climb and test if the soil beneath the climb is wet. If it kicks up dust and the surface below the dust appears dry, it should be good to climb. Please do not climb on the wet sandstone. It may threaten your own safety, the safety of others, and can alter or destroy Moab’s world-class rock climbs forever.
Canyoneering should be ok Saturday as long as there is a 0% chance of precipitation in the forecast for the watershed you plan to descend below. Flash floods can come quickly and without warning. Keep your eyes to the sky and be on the lookout for snow and ice that could potentially melt as the heat of the day rises. Canyoneering is a serious and committing endeavor and can be very hard to escape if things go south. If the rock that the bolts are in appear to be wet, they can potentially pull out. Use good judgment in route selection and try to find routes with natural anchors if the conditions seem less than ideal.
We have been receiving a large amount of Backcountry and Nordic skis, Snowboards, Snowshoes, Ski Boots, Avalanche safety equipment, warm and waterproof jackets, and other high-quality winter gear lately.
Shop now for the biggest selection of technical gear and low prices before we run out! We have lots of outwear on sale RIGHT NOW!
Browse both levels for great gift ideas at great prices. And don’t forget your holiday mailer coupon, worth 15% off ANYTHING not already on sale. It can even be used on Gift Certificates, so stock up!
We are OPEN every day from 8 AM to 9 PM.
Leah “Ninja” Bear.
Leah at the Northern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail
Leah Bear is a thru-hiker, trail runner, vanlifer and lifelong lover of the outdoors from Panama City, FL. Leah grew up in an outdoor-oriented family and enjoyed paddle boarding, wave running, and camping in the Florida Keys in her youth. Later in life, she earned a Masters in Psychology and entered the field as a Counselor. After a year in her new career, she decided the lifestyle wasn’t for her. She wanted to pursue a life in the outdoors.
In 2016, Leah hiked the entire Appalachian Trail, spending 5+ months outdoors and walking 2200 miles over 14 states. Her experience on the AT changed her life forever. She completed the PCT in 2018 and her goal for 2020 is to thru-hike the Arizona Trail in March and the CDT in July, completing the Triple Crown of hiking and logging 4,000 miles in one year.
When she’s not hiking, Leah enjoys reading, journaling, traveling, and cooking. Her favorite piece of gear is the Shewee because it makes Vanlife in winter and hiking so much easier for a woman. Her long term goals after the Triple Crown are to learn how to backcountry ski, do some long-distance bikepacking, and eventually open a small outfitter/hostel in a trail town. She still has many years of nomadic living and adventures to accomplish!
Events This Week:
Winter Sun 10k. This course will begin at the Moab Golf course and will take a lap around the Moab High School. It will be an approachable, fast race as the course is mostly downhill and flat. There will be a raffle and food to round out the event. Registration fee is 55$ and you may register here. 10:00 AM December 7th at the Moab Golf Course.
Electric Lights Parade brought to you by the Moab Chamber of Commerce. There will be hot cookies and hot chocolate at the cookie shack in the Canyonlands Trading Post parking area courtesy of the Moab Regional Hospital. Line up will begin at Swanny Park. 6:00-7:00 PM December 7th on Main Street. This is one of our favorite events, and it seems the entire town comes out! The shop will be open till 9 pm so be sure to stop by if you need hand warmers, extra layers, hats, gloves, lights, and browse for Christmas gift ideas.