January - April 2010
Wasatch Powder Keg - March 13
For photos, see the Powder Keg Website
Check out the great PCTV video
24April10 - Y-Couloir:
Andy and I have been looking at the Y-Couloir for several years. The 'Y' is a classic Wasatch line. Is 3200' of sustained 40-42 degree pitch. The only variation is where it gets a little steeper at the top. There are few lines that either of us have ever skied that have this constant pitch. The only way to get to the top of the 'Y' is to boot. This is the equivalent of 3200' on a stair master with ski boots on and a 30lb pack. The biggest issue with this approach is that you are in a massive avalanche path for the entire boot. You only want to attempt the 'Y' when you know the conditions are very safe because if something broke out above you, it would be virtually impossible to survive. We thought this would be a good day for the Y, we had a decent amount of new snow the previous few days, a good refreeze was forecasted for the night, and the avi danger would be very low. The day started out great, Andy and I were both excited and were at the park and ride at 6:15, 15 minutes before our planned meeting time. Other than the beer when we were done, that is as good as it got. We decided to leave the crampons and ice axes. This turned out to be a major mistake. On crossing the Little Cottonwood Creek, both of us slipped off the log with 1 foot and filled a boot with water - not a good start. At the base of the Y, we could see there was substantial avalanche debris. We figured it would get better as we climbed. It only got worse. The entire couloir was either frozen rock hard debris chunks or solid ice. The climb up was a challenge. Without crampons, many steps would take 4-6 kicks just to get the front 1" of your toe in. We continued climbing wondering if it was really a good idea and dreading the descent. We got on the right side at the top instead of the left so we were cliffed out about 10' from the actual top. We got our skis on and began what we knew would be some of the most challenging skiing we had ever done - and a lot of it. The conditions did not disappoint us, they were every bit as difficult as we had expected them to be. Once at the bottom, we did have ~100' of great corn to relish out last few turns in. At least when we got to the car we had cold beer waiting for us. Even though the skiing was quite bad, it was a great line to ski with some of the best views of Little Cottonwood Canyon of anywhere I have been.
Check out our run in this video. To see the video full screen, right click on the video and select Zoom -> Full Screen
Chad and Emily's Home Page