The storm had been raging for a few days and both canyons would open and close apparently at the whims of the DOT. Big Cottonwood was open so we took the bus to Brighton deciding to ski over to Little Cottonwood.
We skinned up the groomed runs at Brighton exiting under the boundary rope, past Dog Lake and onto the ridge where we discovered a slide had run.
The main Dog Lake chute avalanched during the night with a big crown. The size was unknown and deserving of some investigation.
I could see a stress fracture on the east facing, so after telling my partner to watch me like a hawk, I traversed out to the stress fracture discovering it was six feet deep and a couple of feet wide. I followed it by skinning just below and found a spot to enter.
My partner was very leery of doing the same, but I convinced him that it was okay and he followed by jumping off the side of the crown onto the bed surface.
After looking at the slide and determining it had run on the November faceted layer, we decided a few pictures were in order.
My partner booted up to the back portion of the crown past the highest section, which was 110 inches.
I had him pose for a couple of photos with this one turning out the best. The crown is around 9 feet at the posed location.
We scrambled up and out of the avalanche by jamming skis into the side of the crown for aid and proceeded on towards Catherine pass. Bombs were going off every couple of minutes from Alta control work.
Deciding that Alta may not be open, certainly not the Supreme lift from the constant bombing heard we went up the ridge towards Wolverine.
Visibility was poor and the winds were howling out of the west, gusting to around 40+ mph. This was determined from the fact that although, bracing against the ski poles and stopping for the worst gusts neccesary to make progress, neither of us was knocked down by the wind.
At the saddle between Tuscarora and Wolverine we triggered a slide in the new snow by walking the ridge indicating not only the potential for deep slab release, but also new snow slides were likely.
Summited Wolverine with the winds still blowing hard we decided since it had taken a good portion of the day to get there we'd just ski back to Brighton using the lowest angled terrain for doing so. We skied the bowl, quite boring on a normal day and not exactly the sort of run either of us spend a lot of time on, but survival dictates that on some days. Skiing wasn't bad on the styrofoam surface. Continued down through the gully, the loaded side we'd made safe earlier with the sympathetic off the saddle, and eventually reached the crux of the route, a short steep hill just above lake Martha.
I went first, traversing across to the lowest angle and above the trees without cutting anything out and started skiing the short pitch. I had the snow crack and staightlined the last portion out onto the lake, yelling back that it might slide. It did with the cut across and my partner skied the pitch without incident.
We traversed across lake Martha, skinned up a small hill putting us back at the top of the Dog Lake chute, skied the east facing over the stress fracture, finding a couple more, lower and returned to Brighton, later learning that Alt never opened that day.If we'd exited into Little Cottonwood, interlodge was in effect and a hell of a mess would have been created.