Report from December 14, 2021
I crawled up at least a 3rd of the chute due to rotten snow and breakable crust.
Suicide Chute on 11,000′ Mt. Superior, UT is still hanging in space as the bottom doesn’t go and you have time to climb up into it.
Once I got into the chute proper, I almost turned around…
I’d never seen anything quite like it.
The wind had violently slashed up the chute for days and carved with its knife a twisted, unskiable landscape that brought fear and loathing.
The old bootpack up the chute was standing in raised relief like an evil balance beam.
I struggled to stay on the beam but it frequently broke under my weight and sent me crashing down into the hollow snow below.
Crawling worked in the feeble snow.
Halfway up the chute, the scoured snowscape gave way to a buttery-smooth, wind-buffed paradise.
Large crystals of snow constantly cascaded down the walls of the chute and gently bounced downhill.
The bootpacking was still variable and weird but certainly better than the warped Hades below.
My mood improved markedly knowing I’d be getting in 25 or so good turns before the frozen inferno.
It took me 1 hour and 45 minutes to reach the top as a graupel snowstorm was hitting the Canyon.
I spent no time on top.
I was anxious to get through the tormented snow section, the downclimb, and the rock-strewn apron below.
The upper half of the chute skied like a dream.
My confidence and speed in the wind-buffed snow increased with every turn until I came upon the contorted snow mid-chute.
I dangerously wished it might actually ski predictably and I dove in with misguided hope.
I immediately submerged a ski, almost high-sided, and came down hard on my hip.
From there it was a series of side-steps, side-slips, and terrified hop-turns until the bottom fourth of the chute where an icy, flat zone allowed for about 12 safe turns.
I put crampons on for the downclimb and it was thankfully uneventful.
The pleasant surprise of the day was a fun, buffed-out gully-spine in the apron that skied easy.
After that easiness, it was a heinous game of hide-and-seek with the gnome-hat rocks the littered the thin snow of the apron.
Once finally back on the road, I was relieved to have survived the apron without a twisted knee or awkward fall.
Suicide Chute is always an adventure, but yesterday it delivered the most adventure I’ve ever found in there.
Let it snow! – and cover-up that horrid, corrugated snowscape.
Recent Backcountry Reports:
- 12/10/21: Revelstoke, BC Report: Skiing a Powder Paradise with Local Yu Sasaki
- 12/7/21: BC, Canada Backcountry Report: Pillows, Waterfall Crossings, & Rugged Terrain
- 12/6/21: Revelstoke, BC Report: 60″ snowpack, 174″ of Snowfall Already This Season…
- 12/5/21: Kicking Horse, BC Report: 4,000-Vertical-Feet of Awesome
- 11/12/21: Alta, UT Report: Little Chute with Mandatory Air From the Top
- 11/10/21: Alta, UT Report: 11-Inch Powder Day & Blue Skies!
- 11/9/21: Alta, UT Report: Dark, Ominous, Alone – Main Chute in Powder Snow
- 11/8/21: Alta, UT Report: Booting Up & Skiing Down High Rustler in Scratchy Conditions…
- 11/7/21: The Alta Skiing Journal, Vol. 4: “Soft Snow Stashes in the Castle Apron”
- 11/6/21: Mt. Superior, UT Report: “Suicide Chute” – As Much Rock As Snow Yesterday
- 11/5/21: Alta, UT Report: Tight & Spicy in Little Chute…
- 11/4/21: Alta, UT Report: It’s Amazing How Much Snow Is Up Here Right Now… Gunsight Mini-Pow!
- 11/3/21: Alta, UT Report: Main Chute Top To Bottom on a Gorgeous Day
- 11/2/21: Alta, UT Report: Embarrassed & Humbled on Day #1 in Main Chute Yesterday
- 11/1/21: The Alta Skiing Journal, Vol. 3: “Trick or Treating in the Ballroom”