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Moab Winter Condition Update 12/19/2019

Well, that was an uneventful storm. While Colorado and Utah resorts saw significant snowfall, we saw almost nothing in the way of new snow here in Moab. The good news is we get to keep the safe avalanche, mountain biking, climbing, and canyoneering conditions for the time being. Glad we have so many activities to choose from!

Road Conditions

The road conditions in The La Sal’s remain largely the same as pre-storm. The La Sal Loop road is clear of snow and ice. The Geyser Pass rd is mud and patches of ice down low, and ice and packed snow higher up. Please take it slow and be mindful of the dangerous conditions, it’s very easy to get stuck and very difficult to get unstuck. Here’s a photo of the current conditions.

Geyser Pass Rd 12/19/19

Storm Totals This Week.

 Powder Madness Disease has caught many helpless victims this week with lots of fresh snow. I’m sure folks got really, seriously, sick in Northern Utah and Colorado. Colorado resorts saw anywhere from 7”-42” of fresh, Utah totals were 18”-36”. Here are the resort totals since Thursday.

Backcountry Skiing:

 We saw 1-2” of new snow in The La Sal mountains Thursday-Sunday. While that is certainly disappointing for powder purposes, it allows us to keep the safe avalanche conditions for now. We are currently sitting at 118% of average snowfall so far this season, so we’re still in good shape. Here’s the current NWCC Snotel Data for the La Sal Mountains.

 

NWCC Snotel Data Chart

 Despite the lack of new snow, conditions still remain great up in the La Sal’s. I went up there today and found the snow to be holding very well considering the lack of new snow we’ve gotten. We skied some really fun conditions. The snow is still great up there, you just gotta look hard enough!

La Sal Mountains 12/19/19

The Utah Avalanche Center is reporting LOW avalanche danger on all aspects below 11,000 ft and MODERATE danger on all aspects above 11,000 ft. The main problem at hand is wind slab loading.  Please check the Utah Avalanche Center forecast for a full report on snow safety conditions.

The Utah Avalanche Center is also selling pretty cool shirts to support the UAC and other avalanche centers around the states. Check them out here.

Cross Country Skiing/Snowshoeing:

We are still awaiting new and improved grooming conditions of the Geyser Pass nordic track, but it’s still plenty skiable and fun. the ruts have more or less worked themselves out. Definitely worth the trip up.

Marshall was able to get out to the Abajo mountains recently and reported that the road conditions are mostly good up there if you fancy a little getaway to Monticello. The Abajo’s are currently sitting at 239% of average snowpack so it may be worth it to head out that way for some out of the way and likely untracked turns. Here’s some photo’s.

 

Abajo Mountains 12/16/19

Getting to the Abajo mountains is only about 15 minutes longer than getting to Geyser Pass from Moab as long as there isn’t road construction. The current road closures for blasting between Moab and the Abajo’s are Monday-Friday from 9 AM to 12 PM and intermittent one-lane closures after 12 PM. There are no road closures on the weekend. Please refer to UDOT’s Project Page for up to date information.

Dalton Springs is the most common winter trailhead and is only 10 minutes out of Monticello.  A few blocks past the intersection with 491, hang a right where the sign says “Forest Access” and “Harts Draw”.  The drive has a mellower grade, and is paved the whole way.

If you are able to plan travel around the road closures, the conditions are pretty good. There is plenty of snow on the oak loop trails and North Creek.  The road to the old Blue Mountain Ski Resort looks plowed, but it is currently unconfirmed. We would love road condition observations if you travel up there this week. Take a look at a previous article on our site about the abandoned Blue Mountain Ski resort here for some interesting reading about the area. 

Weather:

 We will get a small increase in temperature this week with highs in the upper 40’s and lows in the 20’s. While still cold, its definitely a relief from the low temperatures we’ve experienced this week. There’s also a chance for snow next Monday. Here’s the forecast for the town of Moab.

NOAA Forecast for Moab.

Weather in the La Sal’s will be about what it was in town down in Moab this last week. High’s in the 20’s and lows in the teens. I’m glad to report that those cold temps will only plague the La Sal’s this week. Let’s keep winter where it belongs! It looks like there a chance of snow for the La Sal’s Monday-Thursday. Hopefully, it’s not a dud like the last storm. 

NOAA forecast for The La Sal’s

Mountain Biking:

Riding conditions remain pretty awesome! The only trails that are currently closed are The Whole Enchilada, UPS, LPS, and Porcupine Rim. With the forecast looking pretty dry for the next week, it may be a good time to get out there if you can handle the cold weather. Bundle up and send it! It should be a great multi-sporting week in Moab. Please refer to the Poison Spider Conditions page for up to date information. Or stop by the Poison Spider Bike shop and say hello.

 Climbing/Canyoneering

 Climbing, while really cold and hand-numbing, is definitely possible this week. Conditions probably lend themselves more to bouldering than rope climbing. Send temps! If you’d like to get on a rope, it’s a really good thing we have lots of crack climbing to salvage the numbing finger conditions a bit. We sell hand warmers at the shop to put in the chalk bag, Just sayin. 

Shop associate Jane and I were able to get out Canyoneering in Arches National Park this week. It was cold but definitely manageable. The best part was basically having the park to ourselves. We saw not a soul out there, and it really felt like a wilderness experience. It’s a great time to visit the parks right now.

Shop Updates.

 We are currently experiencing the largest inventory reduction sale in the shop’s history. So many things have that glorious pink tag. Including all of our ropes, some are dry treated for ice climbing! We also have deals on climbing harnesses, chalk bags, belay devices, backpacks, camping equipment, and many other items. Check it out while the deals last! We will be OPEN on Christmas Eve from 8 AM to 7 PM and Christmas Day from 8 AM to 9 PM. 

Events This Week:

The Santa Christmas Race. This race is a remote race and may be ran anywhere you like. The race features a 13.1 mile, 10k, 5k, and 1k. Registration is 25$ and you may register here. December 20th

Winter Solstice Contra Dance. The Moab Community Dance Band will be hosting free Contra dance lessons to live music. A 7$ donation is suggested to benefit music education in Grand County. December 21st at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center.