Moab Winter Condition Update 12-2-2019
Happy December everyone! The weather is stabilizing and warming up a bit as we come out of a rather stormy and windy Thanksgiving holiday. It’s certainly nice to enjoy some bluebird conditions after all the recent weather! GGBY and the other BASE jumping and highlining events are coming to a close. I’ve really enjoyed watching all of the BASE Jumpers flying about. What a special place Moab is! We should see a significant decrease in traffic around town as the fall season departs. Enjoy the quiet time.
There are muddy and wet conditions down low in town and plowed but very slippery and icy conditions in the La Sals. Saturday, I witnessed several capable 4wd vehicles having trouble on the loop road as it started to get steep after the first switchback. It was extremely icy and dangerous up there. Sunday afternoon, the entire upper half was still covered in snow and ice. Go slow and arrive alive. Wherever you are traveling in the winter, you should always carry a shovel, food, water, blankets, chains and/or be equipped with 4 wheel drive for the time being. Geyser Pass Road is being plowed today and will be closed until they are done. It is usually around noon, but the sheer volume of this storm may cause delays. Needless to say, tomorrow will be a great day to head up!
La Sal Loop Rd. 12/1/2019
Storm Totals Last Week
The Gold Basin steak measured 32” of new snow on Saturday morning! That’s on top of the 23” of new snow I measured last week at the bottom of Geyser Pass. It would be safe to say we’re now working with a 4 1/2 ft base in the La Sal’s, not too shabby for the desert!
This storm has been difficult to follow, there were very snowy and adverse road conditions in the region that made it difficult to get proper 7 day totals. However, I’ve gathered as much information as I can find. Here are the 7-day storm totals for resorts near Moab.
It’s been an incredible start to the season and resort conditions should be very good for the foreseeable future. Take advantage of the time off during the holidays and put skis on snow!
I took this photo before Friday’s storm. Skiing is happening and will be pretty good when the road conditions improve and the avalanche danger settles down a bit. There are still sharks in the water, that is to say, there are many bushes and other hidden obstacles under the snow. Take it easy for now, it would be a bummer to acquire a season-ending injury in early December. Always check our local avalanche forecast before heading out. You can find a link on our La Sal Mountain conditions page on our website, I have also linked to it right here.
La Sal Mountains. 11/27/19
The avalanche forecast from our friends at the Utah Avalanche Center for Sunday is reporting CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger on northerly facing slopes above 11,000 ft and MODERATE avalanche danger on southerly facing slopes below 10,000 ft. There was an observed naturally occurring avalanche about 3 ft deep and 175” wide in Miners Basin at 10,700 feet on a NE aspect on Sunday. The avalanche monster is swimming around down there with the sharks. It would really suck if they both attacked you at the same time. Be careful and considerate of the snowpack right now and let conditions improve before getting too deep. Again, check the Avalanche Forecast from the Utah Avalanche Center for a full report.
Cross Country Skiing/Snowshoeing
Marshall went skiing near the Geyser pass road on Sunday and found plenty of deep unconsolidated snow to wallow around in. Bring your fat skis, it’s deep! They were able to pack a trail in and enjoy a nice ski. There is still no word on when grooming will begin, but watch our website or tune into KCYN for updates. Be sure to stop by Moab Gear Trader for all of your ski waxes, tuning supplies, and great deals on last year’s skis! We also have a huge selection of snowshoes in right now.
Geyser Pass Rd 12/01/2019
The weather settles down this week and we can expect Sunny conditions with highs in the 30s and 40s and lows in the 20s. Our next chance for a storm will be Wednesday into Wednesday night. It looks like more precipitation is in the forecast! Who needs to move away for great skiing? We can have our cake and eat it too here in Moab! Here’s the forecast.
Nearly every mountain biking trail is closed due to muddy, icy, and snowy conditions. As of Yesterday, the only trail that remains open and recommended is Poison Spider. Slickrock, Hymasa/Amasa, and Najavo rocks are partially open but not recommended. Please stay off closed trails until conditions improve. Not only is biking on closed trails dangerous for your own safety, but it may also destroy your bike and the trail. Please refer to the Poison Spider Conditions Page for more information.
Climbing on wet sandstone is not only dangerous for your own safety, but it also damages the rock. Footholds and handholds can easily break, cams can slide out, and cracks may get wider and damaged. Are you trying to turn a 0.4 crack into a 0.5 or a 0.75? It would be better if you didn’t! If the ground is wet at the base of the climb, that is a very good indicator that you should not climb on it. The rule of thumb is three days after significant moisture. The ground at the base must be dry and free of moisture whatsoever. It should kick up dust and the layer below the dust should be dry as well. It is of utmost importance that the climbing community refrains from climbing on the wet rock in order to preserve the world-class rock climbing we enjoy here in Moab.
Canyoneering should be approachable as long as there is no snow or visible moisture that can melt and flow into the watershed above the canyon. Routes equipped with natural anchors such as trees should be considered for the current conditions. Bolt’s in sandstone have been known to come out in wet conditions. Make sure there is a 0% chance of rain in the forecast before dropping into a canyon, it is very hard to escape after you’ve pulled the rope in most instances. Flash flooding is sudden, fierce, and deadly in the Moab area. With lots of moisture and more moisture in the forecast, it will be important to watch the conditions closely.
Events This Week:
Author event with Paul Magnanti. How to survive your first trip in the wild: Backpacking for beginners. Grand County Library, December 3rd at 6 PM
It’s Avalanche Awareness Week! The Utah Avalanche Center is hosting a FREE Know Before You Go talk at the Grand County Library, December 5th at 6 PM. If you plan to get into the backcountry this winter, this event is not to be missed.
City Tree Lighting Ceremony at Swanny Park. There will be live entertainment by Valley Voices, The High School and Middle School Choir, the Moab Charter School and David Olsen. Santa Claus will be attending! There will also be free cookies and hot chocolate provided by Edward Jones, The Moab Grill, Sweet Cravings, City Market and the Village Market. Swanny Park, December 6th from 5-6 PM.
Holiday Craft Fair December 6th-7th at Moab Valley Inn. There will be many different local artists showcasing there work for sale. Friend of the store and shop associate Emma Tucek will be showing her Moab made, hand-made, ceramics! Make sure to look around a bit, there are great quality and locally made Holiday gifts to be found.
After a busy Black Friday, the crew is cleaning up and restocking the skis and snowshoes. Get down there quick for the best selection of new AND used youth and adult outerwear, snow boots, hats, gloves, neck warmers, ski tuning supplies, avalanche gear, and all of our other great camping and outdoor gear. We have tons of great gift ideas for the outdoor enthusiast on your list. Bring in your clean, quality outdoor gear and clothing and earn 60%! Our clean retail environment and professional staff are ready to sell your gear! Let us do the work while you go play. See you on the mountain!