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Report From March 9, 2021
An eerie feeling washes over you when you wake up and realize that you’re doing 80mph down a pitch-black canyon at 3:30am with your ultimate goal being “Terminal Cancer”…
I awoke this morning, March 9th, 2021, in Park City, UT at 3:15am MT and was on the road 10-minutes later.
The goal was to be the first up the wicked “Terminal Cancer Couloir” in the remote Ruby Mountains of Nevada after a few inches of snowfall last night.
The dark plays tricks on your mind at that time of night…
I could have sworn I was in a huge forest with puffy tree branches reaching out towards the car on both sides of the road before the sun rose and revealed that there weren’t any trees anywhere.
Not for miles…
Our closest star eventually revealed a barren landscape speckled with mountain islands that glowed with snow in the pre-dawn light.
It was time to ski.
Terminal Cancer Couloir – Ruby Mountains, NV:
- Summit: 9,300′
- Car: 7,400′
- Vertical From Car: 1,900′ round trip
- Vertical skied: 1,900′
- Max Pitch: 40º?
- Aspect: N
- Distance: 2.7-miles round trip
- Time From Car to Summit: 1 hr 45 mins
- Car to Car Time: 2 hrs 15 mins
- Recommended Equipment: crampons, ice axe, no skins (skins can be useful on the lower section but you won’t use them for long and it’s really nice to have your good ski resort set up in the tight chute)
Or at least it was time to walk.
I started boot-packing up to the “Terminal Cancer Couloir” at 6:30am PT.
I was the only one.
A few inches of new snow graced the chute, there was no wind, and the layer underneath the new snow was firm.
Once in the chute, I put on my crampons and chiseled my way up between the tight rock walls.
The snow got incrementally deeper and drier as I went up until there was about 4″ of new, dry snow on top of a firm melt-freeze underlayer.
I dropped into the surreal chute with optimism, but the skiing was tough.
I hit the bottom on every turn and on the initial pitch, the dry snow sluffed and boiled and splashed all over me creating a wild aesthetic that mesmerized me as I skied.
Lower down the new snow was thinner and heavier and the angle mellowed and the bubbling waterfall let me loose.
I bounced and grunted my way down and was exhausted at the bottom.
It was damn fun skiing, but it was a workout hitting that hard, unpredictable layer underneath on every turn.
I tried to ski the chute fast and felt like I nearly lost control and hit the walls a time or two…
Back at the car I watched a small icefall drop of the cliffs on the north side of the canyon and it restarted my quest west.
I made it to Squaw Valley, CA at 2:15pm PT, jumped right onto the KT-22 chairlift and grabbed a few laps.
I was tired, but I wondered “How many people have started in Park City, UT, skied the absolutely wild Terminal Cancer Couloir in the Rubies, then grabbed a few laps on KT-22 at Squaw in 1-day?”
Probably not many…
Today was an unreal day and now it’s snowing like crazy in Tahoe and hopefully, tomorrow will be a stellar day.
Thank you, Nevada.
Recent Trip Reports:
- Trip Report: Mt. Dana, CA – “Dana Couloir”
- Trip Report: Mt. Dana, CA – “Solstice Couloir”
- Trip Report: Mt. Timpanogos, UT – “Grunge Couloir”
- Trip Report: Mt. Timpanogos, UT – “Cold Fusion Couloir”
- Trip Report: Snowbird, UT – “Pipeline”
- Trip Report: Mt. Superior, UT | “South Face”
- Trip Report: Little Cottonwood Canyon, UT – “Tanners Gulch”
- Trip Report: Nez Perce, WY – “The Sliver Couloir”
- Trip Report: Little Cottonwood Canyon, UT – The 3,200-Vertical-Foot “Y Couloir”