Base of Cathedral Ledge

January 17, 2022 at 9:00 AM
Name: Max Lurie
Location: Approach to Goofers on Cathedral Ledge

Approaching Goofer’s ice climbing on Cathedral Ledge a natural avalanche released down what in the summer are stone steps below the Thin Air Face. It was small R1 D.5, figuring that it had cleared the recent storm snow, we continued up. Continued spin drift was loading below the cliff and another small pocket broke loose around us (see photo below). Directly below Goofer’s where folks usually belay also released. At this point I very much expected it, but it was larger than I anticipated and was carried about 15-20 feet before arresting my slide by grabbing some bushes. Lastly on the first pitch of Repentance the small slow right at the base slide. From my observations today I would say that storm slab avalanches are widespread throughout the landscape and touchy. Especially when ice climbing because a seemingly small avalanche could knock you off your stance with disastrous results.