Kessler Peak

Today, I climbed Kessler Peak (10,403 ft) to ski the run Argenta with two of my friends, Dan and Gian Luca.  It was a beautiful day and we found some decent snow in the shade on Argenta.

Dan and Gian Luca on the summit of Kessler, with Mineral Fork in the background

Dan and Gian Luca on the summit of Kessler, with Mineral Fork in the background

Another summit photo with Dan and Gian Luca, this time with Big Cottonwood Canyon in the background

Another summit photo with Dan and Gian Luca, this time with Big Cottonwood Canyon in the background

Dan and myself checking out the options

Dan and myself checking out the options

Dan and I getting ready ski

Dan and I getting ready ski

The ridge we skied off the summit

The ridge we skied off the summit

 

Mount Superior

Today was a beautiful blue bird day, and my friend Gian Luca and I enjoyed it by climbing and skiing Mount Superior.  Mount Superior (11,132 feet) is my favorite mountain in the Wasatch.  It is one of Salt Lake’s longest sustained runs.  Its steep.  And, since its across the street from Snowbird and Alta, its the mountain I always stared at while skiing at those resorts.  So, anytime the avalanche conditions and weather are right, and I have a partner willing to climb it with me, Superior is where I go.

Gian Luca getting ready for our big adventure, with our target, Mount Superior, in the background

Gian Luca getting ready for our big adventure, with our target, Mount Superior, in the background

On the summit of Cardiff, heading towards Superior

On the summit of Cardiff, heading towards Superior

The last 500 feet to the summit involves some minor rock climbing

The last 500 feet to the summit involves some minor rock climbing

Gian Luca heading up the final ridge

Gian Luca heading up the final ridge

Gian Luca enjoying some more rock climbing, with the town of Alta 3,000 feet below

Gian Luca enjoying some more rock climbing, with the town of Alta 3,000 feet below

This was a fun section, eight inches wide with a straight down drop off on either side

This was a fun section, eight inches wide with a straight down drop off on either side

Gian Luca on the summit of Superior, 11,132 feet above sea level

Gian Luca on the summit of Superior, 11,132 feet above sea level.  The mountain in the background on the right is Monte Cristo

Here I'm on the summit with some cornices to avoid, in the background

Here I’m on the summit with some cornices to avoid, in the background

Gian Luca back safe and sound on Little Cottonwood Canyon Road after our 3,000 foot descent.  He's getting his skis for our long walk back on the road

Gian Luca back safe and sound on Little Cottonwood Canyon Road after our 3,000 foot descent. He’s getting his skis ready for our long walk back on the road

Here we are with Superior in the background, skis on our backs ready for the walk back to the car

Here we are with Superior in the background, skis on our backs ready for the walk back to the car

 

Wolverine Bowl, for a Third Time

The weather pattern has finally returned back to normal…where it actually snows.  We ended up getting 20-30″ over the week, which I was very excited about.  So, I went touring with two friends from work, Brett and my italian friend Gian Luca.  Unfortunately, the avalanche danger is still really high on steep north facing slopes (which happen to be the best slopes to ski), so I played it safe and went to Wolverine Bowl, again.  This bowl has been great this year; because its high enough to get and keep snow, its a relatively sheltered open north east face, and its is not very steep (keeping the avalanche danger low in this one area).  The temperature was nice and the sky was sunny.  Turned out to be a really fun day.

I’ve been accessing Wolverine Bowl by heading up Grizzly Gulch, from Alta; and then across Patsey Marley Peak to the Wolverine Cirque ridge.  Then, after traversing the ridge, I’ve been skinning up the south west face of Mount Wolverine, to a micro saddle just below the summit.  When leaving, I’ve been heading south from the saddle between Mount Wolverine and Tuscarora Peak, skiing down into Alta Ski Resort (just below Catherine’s Pass).

Here I'm at 10,600 feet elevation, skinning up to the summit of Mount Wolverine, as the sun rises

Here I’m at 10,500 feet elevation, skinning up to the summit of Mount Wolverine from the west ridge, as the sun rises

Gian Luca enjoying the powder

Gian Luca enjoying the powder

Brett's turn to enjoy the powder

Brett’s turn to have fun

Our handy work

Our handy work, by the end of the day.  No one else ever showed up, so we had the whole bowl to our selves

Wolverine Bowl, for a Second Time, and My First Powder Day of the Season

I can’t believe it was January 4th before I got to ski untracked powder this season.  Its been a pretty dismal snow year, so far.  But, we finally got some snow, and even though it was only 5 degrees Fahrenheit, I went out and had some fun:

The avalanche danger has been pretty high this year, because we aren't getting steady snow.  So, I stuck to upper Wolverine Bowl, because its really high in elevation (so it will have good snow) and its low angle (making it safe from avalanches).  Here you can see six of my eight sets of tracks

The avalanche danger has been pretty high this year, because we aren’t getting steady snow. So, I stuck to upper Wolverine Bowl, because its really high in elevation (so it usually has good snow) and its low angle (making it safe from avalanches). Here you can see six of my eight sets of tracks. This is about 10,500 feet in elevation, with the summit of Mount Wolverine to the right

Safe and sound (and cold) back at the bottom, with Mount Wolverine in the background

Safe and sound (and cold) back at the bottom, with Mount Wolverine in the background.  This is the south face of Wolverine, my tracks in the picture above are off the north face just below the peak

 

Backcountry Skiing in Wolverine Bowl

Unfortunately, there’s not much snow in the Wasatch.  And, where there is snow, on the north and north east faces…there’s high avalanche danger.  Fortunately, Mount Wolverine (10,740 feet in elevation) has a low angle bowl facing north east, making it one of the better options this weekend.  Meaning, its one of the few places that will have snow and low avalanche danger.  Unfortunately, since its one of the few areas like this right now, it was also pretty well tracked out.

Here I'm climbing up to the summit of Mount Wolverine from the south side.  I took my skis off because it got icy and was easier to boot pack

Here I’m climbing up to the summit of Mount Wolverine from the south side. I took my skis off because it got icy and was easier to boot pack

This is my friend Brett (from work) boot packing behind me.  We're at about 10,600 feet, just a 150 feet or so from the summit

This is my friend Brett (from work) boot packing behind me. We’re at about 10,600 feet, just a 150 feet or so from the summit

A view from the summit of Mount Wolverine

A view from the summit of Mount Wolverine.  The area closest to me, in this picture, is Wolverine Cirque.  As you can see the Cirque is a lot steeper than the Bowl (which you’ll see in the next photo)…thus too steep to ski, so far this year, due to the high avalanche danger

Skiing up after our first run in the north east facing Wolverine Bowl.  You can see in the background that the whole bowl was pretty much tracked out

Skinning up after our first run in the north east facing Wolverine Bowl. You can see in the background that the whole bowl was pretty much tracked out

A Cold Cold Trip in Grizzly Gulch

My italian friend, Gian Luca, and I went backcountry skiing today…despite the fact that it was -10 F.  We started at Alta and went up Grizzly Gulch to Honeycomb Peak.  Then, we skied along just below the Emma Ridge line on the south side.  Even though it snowed two feet this past week, it still wasn’t enough snow to prevent us from hitting rocks.  So, we investigated the north side of the ridge and found the snow to be too unstable.  Leaving us to gently make our way back to the car, to live to ski another day.

Gian Luca making his way up through the frosty chill

Gian Luca making his way up through the frosty chill

Here's a shot of the avalanche we intentionally triggered with a ski cut, to determine the slop was unsafe.  This is a shot of the 2 foot tall crown (were the snow separated) with Gian Luca in the background

Here’s a picture of the avalanche we intentionally triggered with a ski cut, to determine the slope was unsafe. This is a shot of the 2 foot tall crown (were the snow separated) with Gian Luca in the background