Tag Archives: Backcountryskiing
Timpanogos- Wild Wasatch
Timp feels big.
It feels remote.
The summit ridge is 17 miles long and it’s flanks rise six thousand feet from the valley. Lot’s of real estate to ski and explore.
Last January Andy and Jason Dorais and I had been itching to get out there since the snow began falling. We began our ski from the Mutual Dell Trail head and followed the trail up across the Timpanook road. From there we fell into the frequent line rotation we’ve found works so well to move the group while breaking trail. Up Up into the Wooly Hole below the Steep Grunge Couloir. While skiing under it I thought back to my first time skiing on Timp…
January 2012: ‘In Andrew Mclean’s Chuting Gallery he states the Grunge reaches 62 degrees. When I read that I thought no way. I better have a look. Last February I found myself perched on the truly vertical face of the cornice, Black Diamond Cobra ice tool thunked in, tilting my edges up and down trying to find the point at which my edges would grip the, eh hem, ‘very hard snow’ and where my boot would lever the edges free. I messed with this while hopelessly wishing for wider then 73mm skis and staring at the 1000’+ feet of rocky cliffs directly below. Luckily I had chopped a small inset into the cornice to get started from. Today wasn’t the day to ski it from the rim. Skis off, haul myself back up with my tools, Crampons on, back over into the void and climb the 30′ to more edge-able snow and marginally less exposed stance. Yep. It’s in that 60 degree range alright. Not skiing it from the rim ‘on site’ bugs me a bit. Have to go back when the snow is chalky.’
And I’m back. We then continued up a chute into the Pica Cirque and from there wandered up another couloir to the North summit ridge.
The stark reality of two weeks of January high pressure hit us as we stepped on to the west side. It held almost no snow.
One helluva mail route says Andy Dorais
Jason Dorais and I headed back to drop into Pica Cirque
Thankfully the east side had plenty of snow. So after checking the mail on the North summit box we trail ran down the rocks and clicked in for a great couloir in good cold snow.
From here Jason had to bail for work. We spotted him through his exit couloir and turned em up hill. After rippin’ surrffy facets under The Giants Staircase summer trail, we were feeling pretty psyched. So many folks were whining about ‘no snow’ and ‘another shitty season’ we were linking up cirques and couloirs on the biggest mountain around and loving every minute of it.
Andy and I ascended a well defined couloir up to the Timpanook Basin below the North West side of Roberts Horn. Andy thought the only reason that couloir was well defined is the result of such low snow for the time of season. Bonus couloir! After walking up the Horn we sat on the summit and enjoyed the ominous swirling lenticulars over the Central Wasatch. Our altimeters jumped 100′ while sitting still on the summit. Never a dull moment in the Mountains.
Looking back to our line on the North Summit and the rad cloud show
As the wind picked up we called 9k a good half day and smeared the velvet recycled wind buff out to the road and back to the car.
You know, It’s days like this that I remember. The snow wasn’t deep, nor the sky sunny. In fact the snowpack was relatively ‘fair to shit’. There was an over all malaise in the Utah ski community. But when one is blessed to live in the mountains with motivated friends who are perpetually psyched to get after it, well, then count your blessings. Despite the ‘poor’ snow pack we went out to have a look in a wild place. We found all snow conditions including very good surfy facets and recycled velvet. And we had a damn good time on that Wild Wasatch mountain.