Trip Report: 11,045′ Mt. Superior, UT | The Legendary “South Face”

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Report From May 4, 2021

Yesterday, May 4, 2021, Daryn & I walked up 11,045′ Mt. Superior in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah and skied its legendary South Face directly fall line off the top – which I’d never done.

This past January, I skied 4 lines off Mt. Superior in 5-days and had a blast doing it.

Superior’s South Face is one of the “50 Classic Ski Descents of North America,” and rightfully so.

The South Face beckons every skier and rider who gazes upon it from Alta & Snowbird all winter long…

“The South Face of Superior is the ultimate Wasatch gem, offering excellent skiing in an incredible location.”

– Andrew McLean in “The Chuting Gallery

South Face – Mt. Superior, UT Details:

  • Summit:  11,045′
  • Vertical from car:  2,300′
  • Vertical skied:  2,500′
  • Pitch:  40º
  • Distance:  4.1-miles round trip (3.1 miles if you hitchhike or get a ride from the base of Superior)
  • Time from car to summit:  2 hrs 30 mins
  • Car to car time:  3 hrs 15 mins (includes a 1-mile walk up the road to the car from the base of Superior)
Our route on Mt. Superior’s south face. image: snowbrains

We started walking uphill at about 10 am in a stiff breeze and cloudy skies.

The forecast had called for full sun, but that’s not what we were getting on the hike up.

It was cold and felt like winter.

Daryn knows where to go. image: snowbrains

Despite being early May, I was decked out in a base layer, soft-shell jacket with the hood up, and a puffy vest.

I was tired on the skin up to the ridge.

Spending April in Alaska at sea level definitely had dropped my acclimatization.

Monte Cristo & SLC. image: snowbrains

Luckily, Daryn was a beast this day and put in the bootpack and lead the entire climb.

The ridge walk was spicy as usual, but there was still quite a bit of snow up there, making it less spicy than it was in January.

Once we’d been on the ridge for a bit, the sun started to flash.

Daryn near the summit. image: snowbrains

Eventually, we were bathed in nearly full sun, and that helped warm both us and the south-facing snow we were about to ski up a bit.

It had snowed a little bit the night before, and we were certainly curious what sort of conditions we were gonna get on the way down.

Regardless, we marched on and reached the top after about 2.5 hours.

Miles happy on top. image: snowbrains

The summit was different this day.

Normally, there’s a large flattish area to transition upon easily.

Yesterday, the summit was a conelike point that made getting slippery skis on a challenge.

The Great Salt Lake. image: snowbrains

Our goal was to ski directly fall-line off the summit down through a narrow chute, then out onto the fields of glory below.

I dropped first, and the upper turns were a bizarre mix of new snow and softening corn that skied well enough.

The upper chute was a bit too tight.

Daryn gazing up. image: snowbrains

I had to side-step and side-slide down most of the tightest part of the chute, although I did get one pedal-hop jump-turn in.

After the tightest section, the chute opened up, and I could rip turns down onto the upper apron.

One more short chute took me to the middle apron for some wide-open turns on the fields of glory.

Looking north. image: snowbrains

This is where the snow changed a bit, and the upper part of this middle apron was a bit sloppy, but it improved as we dropped lower.

After making the sneak-around on the skier’s left, we found the lower apron an abundance of great corn snow.

We zipped around and chased each other down the lower apron, through scraggly bushes, and back to our awaiting car.

Daryn looking inspired on the ridge. image: snowbrains

This was the first time I’d ever skied fall-line right off the summit, and it was a great adventure.

I think I’ll go back up Superior today and ski the one last run that I’d like to ski but haven’t yet…

Thanks, Superior. 

Recent Trip Reports:

 

Photos in Chronological Order:

Daryn working the ridge. image: snowbrains
Daryn pointing it out. image: snowbrains
Daryn exposed. image: snowbrains
Daryn gazing up. image: snowbrains
Daryn in the trickest spot of the day. image: snowbrains
Daryn grinding. image: snowbrains
Daryn and sky. image: snowbrains
Daryn. image: snowbrains
Art. image: snowbrains
Daryn looking inspired on the ridge. image: snowbrains
Daryn on the summit. image: snowbrains
Summit selfie. image: snowbrains
Miles about to drop in on Mt. Superior. image: snowbrains
Snowbird. image: snowbrains
Monte Cristo & SLC. image: snowbrains
The Great Salt Lake. image: snowbrains
Mt. Superior’s south face. image: snowbrains
Après ski stoke. image: snowbrains
Après ski stoke. image: snowbrains

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