Big Beacon (Mount Wire)

Posted: 29th January 2011 by Jonathan Wood in Snowshoeing
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Wow, what a great day to get out and see some sunshine today. Lately, the air in the valley has got so bad that it seems cloudy without clouds! The inversion is getting that thick. I always appreciate a bit of sunshine on days like this.

I’ve been concerned lately about avalanche conditions. Although the weather has been fairly mild recently, the Utah Avalance Center said there was still reason for concern. While they said there was a low probability of avalanche, they thought any avalanche that occurred was likely to be of “high consequence”, and that this risk was common to all slopes.

However, these concerns seemed unfounded once I got up in the hills. In fact, I was a little surprised by how little snow there was. The snow that remained seems thin and mostly packed, and there was no danger that I could see.

Again, I took my MICROspikes and left my snowshoes at home. I never know exactly what conditions I’ll encounter but that turned out to be the right decision for today.

I was able to hike out of the inversion. Unfortunately, the first part of the hike was still in the bad air. I hate exercising in when I’m in that bad air. However, it didn’t take long before I could see I was above it. The steepest part is near the top. So I had pretty clean air while I was huffing and puffing the most.

The top was beautiful: Bright sunshine and blue skies. And the view over the cloud that filled the valley was pretty dramatic. I felt really fortunate to be there on a day like today. The sun was actually pretty warm. However, the wind was surprisingly cold. On the peak the wind started picking up or else I would’ve stayed there longer.

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