Avalanche Café

You can find the Avalanche Café at the base of the Primrose Cirque on the south east side of Timpanogos, right next to a small pile of snow that was once an eight foot snowman, but you'd better hurry.  The Avalanche Café closes for the season by early June.

The first trip to the AC came in a late-season blizzard.  Shaun, Antone, and Carlos xc skied past it to First Falls and looked down the deep hole the falling water had carved through the snow.  Shaun skied off a 40' cliff on his touring skis (right onto a 30' pile of snow). 

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Geronimo!  The ride ended too fast.


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Shaun at the base of a slope


The second trip was meant to be an expedition rappelling into the waterfall hole, but when Shaun and Brit were still half a mile away, they changed their minds.  Every five or ten minutes, large avalanches came roaring over cliffs on every side.  They settled for cooking lunch in the snow at a safe distance and building an eight foot snowman. 

Few people have been lucky enough to see something as impressive as one of these slides.  When pouring over cliffs, they look like a pure white river frothing over a waterfall.  Above and below the cliff, they look like white lava, with large chunks and snowballs riding a steady current of tumbling loose snow, eventually coming to a stop.   A wide-spread myth is that once a slope has slid, it's safe.  This is not true.  The same places slid repeatedly, some at least four times in an hour, big slides with millions of gallons of snow coming down each time.

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Brit snowshoes in the Primrose Cirque

As large as these slides were, others make them seem like nothing more than sneezes.  Some avalanches knock over trees without even touching them--the wind generated can reach 300 mph. Read a little poem about avalanches here.

The third trip was another try at rapping into the hole, but when Kennen, Shaundra, Shaun, and Cherry got there around dark, the water volume was way up and it was still warm, leaving the snow softer than hoped for.  We only saw one small avalanche, but decided the hike was enough and headed back down in the dark.  If you've never hiked in snow at night, you're missing out.  Visibility tends to be excellent and it's all very beautiful.  Watch out for collapsed snow caves.

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