yes, i realize it’s may 20th
May 20, 2008
The temperature is supposed to reach 93 degrees Fahrenheit today. Which makes this morning that much sweeter.
Ben and I met a couple of Ben’s groupies from Black Diamond at the base of Little Cottonwood Canyon at 6:00 this morning. I’m pretty sure the temp was already over 60 at that point. Doesn’t matter. We drove up to the White Pine traihead, about five miles up canyon, and parked at the base of Little Pine, a south facing chute on the north side of the canyon.
Here’s how Andrew McLean describes Little Pine in his essential “The Chuting Gallery: A Guide to Steep Skiing in the Wasatch Mountains.”
“The finest chute proper on the north side of the canyon due to its uninterrupted, perfectly straight fall line. A striking couloir streaks uphill for 2,500′ before blossoming into a slightly steeper bowl section up above. Little Pine has had 19 avalanches cross the road in the last 16 years.”
Here’s a pic from the car (nobody brought a real camera today, so all I have are camera phone pics, sorry, I know that’s lame):
I don’t know of anywhere else on Earth where I can get out of my car, stumble through trees for about 50 yards, and be ON the snow, in May, when it’s 93 degrees in the valley. The beta on that chute: average 38 degree pitch, base elevation 7,500 feet, summit 10,750 feet, about 3,230′ elevation gain.
It’s all booting, skis on the pack:
Arms really come off well on camera phone shots, don’t they?
At the top, a slight traverse to the true summit:
But Ben is never satisfied with the normal way to drop in, so here he is traversing farther, looking for something more exciting:
Here’s the view from the top looking down. Across the road is Scotties Bowl, which I wrote about in April. And that’s White Pine Canyon beyond Scotties.
Ben goes fast:
On the climb, the snow was frozen in spots, super soft in spots, and bouldery in spots. But on the descent, the snow had warmed up to a beautiful, consolidated summer snow consistency. A pleasure to ski.
There is a LOT of snow in them there hills. I think we’ll pick a chute a week until it melts. Or maybe it won’t melt.
Utah. A pretty, great state.