Wasatch Mountains, UT Dispatch: Further Afield | Searching out Stability & Solitude

John Solder | BackcountryBackcountry | Conditions ReportConditions Report
Utah snow-covered mountains
Veiled mountains holding their secrets tightly. credit: J. Solder

With the north half of the compass shut down to backcountry travel in the cottonwoods, it was time to get out and explore some more of the Wasatch. In the trusty Ranger, I ventured north, where the lack of October snow has made for much better avalanche conditions.

After gathering knowledge from friends and the google, I landed at the Ogden Nordic center where the friendly staff got me pointed in the right direction. There’s an awesome trail system and grooming program here, worth the trip for the fat biking and Nordic trails.

Powder trees utah backcountry
Snow-covered oak trees along the Ogden Nordic center trail. credit: J. Solder

At the trailhead, I chatted up some locals. A very friendly crew up here. I learned it was a busy day by their standards, with 8 cars in the parking lot.

The long approach and big elevation gain made for varied scenery. The moody cloudy day fit quite well with the scrub oak gradually giving away to aspens and then white pine forest.

While the clouds were trying to break, giving a few glimpses of what lies above, it was obvious that the sun was not coming out today. Rimed trees and skin-tracks to milky nowhere was going to be the norm.

A few sunny moments were enough to ignite the imagination. credit: J. Solder

Being out solo and not able to see much of anything, I called it short of the summit and skied 1000 feet down into the drainage. Good snow mixed with wind and sun crust made for keep-on-your-toes skiing. Not great, but worthy of a second lap.

Once back to the ridgeline, heading toward the exit, I was greeted with views of some rowdy looking chutes on the opposite face. Yep, I will be back for that.

Rowdy lines for another day. credit: J. Solder

After getting oriented and on my way, my left heel kept disengaging. I soon realized that my heel piece had completely blown up and I would be in half tele-mode for the rest of the day.

I consider myself a bit of a thwap connoisseur, but this exit is not to be under-estimated. Literal walls of mature scrub oak. With the broken equipment, it quickly devolved to “I’m ready to get off the ride now, sir”.

While not perfect, it was a very satisfying day of exploration. New zones, friendly acquaintances, and some really good Greek food; I will count that as a win.

Photo Tour:

Skin track heading from the aspens to pine forest. credit: J. Solder
Milky clouds and rimed trees set the mood. credit: J. Solder
Skin track heading off into the milky clouds. credit: J. Solder
Documented proof. credit: J. Solder
Utah snow-covered mountains
Small breaks in the clouds hinting at what cool zones await. credit: J. Solder
A quick view of nearby peaks. credit: J. Solder

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