Wasatch Mountains, UT, Backcountry Report: Y-Not

Martin Kuprianowicz | BackcountryBackcountry | Trip ReportTrip Report

Report from February 1, 2023

Falling was forbidden.

A 40′ cliff split the line in half; above and below was a 45º steep couloir with decent powder and constricting rock walls on either side.

I’m talking about ‘Y-Not’: a Chuting Gallery line visible from Highway 210 that’s as fun to ski as it is aesthetic.

It requires a rappel halfway down, so be sure to bring a rope (it’s also suggested to bring verts, crampons, an ice ax, and radios).

We started hiking at 5:30. The sky was clear and it was cold.

Stars glimmered above in full. 

We followed an existing bootpack up the Y Couloir and with our verts on we could bootpack at a fast rate of 1,700′ vertical-feet an hour. 

When it came time to make the right hand turn toward Y-Not, there was no booter and we started blazing our own trail. 

The snow was deep and blower, slowing us down. 

Booting up in the dark. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains

Not far up the way to Y-Not we noticed the snow becoming punchy as a result of cross loading by the wind. 

We stopped, evaluated the snow, talked about it, and decided we should keep trudging upward. 

As we climbed higher the rising sun’s rays did as well, illuminating Twin Peaks behind us.

They shined in a brilliant display of fiery orange before turning golden.

We made it to the top by sunrise. 

Alpenglow on Twin Peaks. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains

From there we contemplated the best entry into the Y-Not and entered from a sub-ridge a little ways below where we were standing. 

Up top of the line the snow looked deep and good. 

Juan dropped in first, keeping an eye out for wind slab. 

There was none.

Dropping into Y-Not. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains

Ethan went next and ripped it, followed by me.

The snow was slightly punchy powder that got better the further down you skied. 

About 100 feet above the rappel I cooled down the pace and skied conservatively to the anchor. 

It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. 

Ethan rappelling. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains

At the anchor we discovered that our rope had become tangled so we spent the next 20 minutes trying to unwravel it. 

After a long, chilly waiting period we managed and rappelled the cliff one-by-one.

This was my first time ever rappelling a cliff on skis and it was invigorating. 

Going down. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains

After the rappel we skied the remaining 1,500-vertical-feet-or-so down to the Little Cottonwood Canyon Creek.

The snow was much better on this pitch—fluffy, confidence-inspiring powder all the way down.

I charged a lot harder here with a shit-eating-grin plastered across my face. 

All in all we walked nearly four miles and climbed/skied roughly 3,000 vertical-feet in just under five-and-a-half hours.

Good day.

Second pitch. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains

I was thrilled at the bottom; two years ago when I had skied the Y Couloir I took a look at Y-Not and said “probably never.” 

Yet, here I was, at the bottom of the line, having successfully skied it. 

I know that no day is guaranteed yet I still wonder what else this life of adventure and chasing powder snow will have in store?

I guess there’s only one way to find out…

Y-Not. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains

Avalanche Forecast 

Utah Avalanche Center 2/1/23


NOAA 2/1/23


Twin peaks in the morning twilight. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains
Dawn. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains
Dropping into Y-Not. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains
Untangling the rope for the rappel. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains
Juan rappelling. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains
Ethan on the second pitch. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains
Looking at Y-Not from the bottom up. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains
Creek crossing. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains
Going home. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains
Nice shoes, Juan. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains

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