Wasatch Dispatch: Dawn Patrolling | Fresh Snow & the Fast Crew

John Solder | BackcountryBackcountry | Trip ReportTrip Report
Pre-dawn light on Mount Superior. credit: J. Solder

After an endless dry spell (ok… like 10 days) a quick hitting cold front moved through dropping 20 to 25 cm of dry Utah powder. Great Salt Lake even got in on the action firing off a few convective showers of the fabled “lake effect”. Reason enough to get out early; time for a dawn patrol.

Upper Little Cottonwood came out on top with the highest snow-totals, as expected in a northwest flow, and the weekday work crowd was chomping at the bit. Parking at Our Lady of the Snow and Lower Grizzly was filling up fast in the pre-dawn darkness.

I quickly fell in-line on the skin track to fight off the single-digit temperatures. There is a special rhythm to the headlamp lit up-track. A little faster than normal but peaceful in the cold Wasatch Mountain dark.

Skinning my headlamps. credit: J. Solder

Gaining elevation, the strings of headlamps snaking up the nearby slopes shows where everybody thinks they will find the goods. East facing slopes and gullies had been collecting the snow overnight.

As the pre-dawn light started to give shape to the formless dark, whoops and hollers started to echo across the valley. The people were finding what they came for.

Upper Little Cottonwood in silhouette. credit: J. Solder

I have always been partial to sunrise; there is something exceptional about watching the world enter the new day. And it is even better when you have an untracked run waiting at your feet.

Watching the sunrise in the Wasatch Mountains Utah. credit: J. Solder

Door-to-door in under 3 hours to start the day with two glorious powder laps. Breakfast, shower, off to work. Someone pinch me.

Photo Tour:

First light on Mount Superior. credit: J. Solder
Dawn patrol gets powder turns. credit: J. Solder
Coming to grips with how great a morning it was. credit: J. Solder
Alta Ski Resort before the sunrise. credit: J. Solder

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