Couloir Skiing, Wasatch Mountains, Utah

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This spring, conditions finally lined up for us to ski a classic Wasatch Line. To preserve this unique place, I have opted out of disclosing it’s name or location, therefore for this report, I’ll be referring to this line as ‘Line A’.

I’ve seen reports, images and videos over the years of big skiers skiing Line A. It’s a classic. With it’s easy, quick and direct approach, it’s pretty awesome. You expend most of your energy climbing the actual couloir. The thing about Line A is that conditions have to be absolutely perfect. It’s a high avalanche risk zone, and there isn’t a lot of room to fall.

All season I’ve been looking at it. Seeing it accumulate snow. This was going to be the season. I knew it. I waited and watched. Finally, things were good. Conditions were stable, the weather window was perfect. So I called up my friend Will and he immediately said “YES!” to ski this couloir with me. 

We woke up at 3:30am and drove to the approach. With extra batteries in our packs, and only the lights of our headlamps leading us…we bushwhacked through the base, crossed a river in our ski boots, and made the short approach to Line A. Suddenly, there it was. LINE A. Well, to be honest, we couldn’t see anything. Just a 12 foot lit area around us from our headlamps. But we knew we were there and we started climbing.

For several hours, we climbed. Setting a boot pack in deep snow. One step in front of the other. My legs burned. We climbed higher and higher. I was thankful for the darkness and our headlamps. It allowed us to just tackle the short distance in front of us, instead of being able to see this insane line we had to climb. Over 4,000 vertical feet. But we were only looking at 12 feet at a time…so it seemed doable. 

As the sun rose, we took at break ¾ of the way up to enjoy an exceptional sunrise with some Packaroons. You see, I always have snacks. I am always hungry. But this was the perfect moment to share Packaroons with my friend, and my stomach.

That break fueled us for the final push to the top of the couloir where we unclipped our skis from our backs, clipped in, and skied 30 minutes down to the car. Line A was worth the work, the effort, and every step in the boot pack. And the skiing down? Epic. We had fresh powder, excellent views, and tummies happy and full of Packaroons.

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