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Showing posts from 2010

SOUTH RIDGE SUPERIOR

The South Ridge of Mt. Superior, 11,050', is a classic, mixed alpine route. It starts with a low-angle "apron" leading to a 45-degree Couloir. This connects to the knife-edged rock and snow "arete." After a spectacular summit the route descends the easier East Ridge.
Crunch, crunch, crunch...up the solid spring snow of Suicide Chute. Zigging back and forth with cross-over steps we move efficiently keeping the feet flat and crampon points in the snow. This "French Technique" propels us far up the Couloir in the early morning hours. Sherman keeps his Ice Axe pick facing forward as he belays himself for security on the firm, steep slope.
Ahhh...Sunrise...and we're nearing the col. The snow climbing is just about over.
Keeping the crampons on for the occasional snow step, we find the points work fine even on dry Quartzite. Using the rope for added security we employ "running and fixed belays" on the more difficult and exposed sections.
Althoug…

CARDIFF CANYON TO CANYON TOUR

Cardiff Fork is home to the universally acclaimed Cardiac Bowl (left with shadow) and Cardiac Ridge (far right), two of the finest backcountry runs in the USA. The fall-lines are long and wide enough for dozens of runs, side-by-side; they get snow early and share the Northeast Aspect, where the more snow falls, less wind blows and the sun is rarely strong enough to crust the surface.
Many touring parties stay in Lodges at Alta or Snowbird and can basically cross the street (Little Cottonwood Canyon Road), slap on climbing skins, and start touring. At the end of the day, they will catch a Utah Transit Authority bus in Big Cottonwood Canyon and ride back up to Alta. Parties staying in Salt Lake, Park City or such can meet at a bus stop and take public transit to the trailhead.
Before entering avalanche terrain the guide checks everyone for beacon compatibility and range.
After 1400' of skinning the party reaches Powerline Pass on the divide between Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons. Po…

SKI TOURING IN WHITE PINE GULCH

White Pine Parking Lot, 7,700', one mile below Snowbird in Little Cottonwood Canyon, is THE trailhead for a mega-zone of backcountry ski terrain. White Pine itself is the eastern-most of the 5 skiable gulches that drain into LCC. The forested terrain down low is great for safe, peaceful, and scenic skinning.
Skins come off at the top for blissful wiggling through the fluffy meadows.
Mid-altitude evergreen glades offer wind-sheltered powder on the edges of the more open terrain.
Before venturing onto more committing lines, avalanche danger must be carefully assessed. The guide performs a Compression Test in a snowpit
and decides to open up this tasty poke underneath a rocky point called The Spire.
If the snow and weather are both stable, the bigger lines on Red Baldy (in background between skiers) and Lake Peak become great options.

Below, a skier reaps the reward of his labors with untracked powder on the broad Northwest Face of Red Baldy, 11,170'. Another set of tracks is just vi…