Posted by: wasatchprotocol | April 15, 2011

…April Pow and Lots of It – Part 3: Beaters, Gapers, Avalanches, and a Seagull

After day 2, Sunday morning started leisurely.  That is, we didn’t start skinning at 8 AM.  Or even 9 AM.  Because of this, we were treated with sharing the skin track from Alta to Twin Lakes Pass with more gapers and bro brahs than I think I’ve seen in one place at a time ever.  Well that’s not true, you see a lot of bros at least at Alta and Snowbird on Saturday powder days, and plenty of gapers over holiday weekends.  But it’s not everyday you see 40 morons on the skin track in front of you.  The display of “awesomeness” was astounding.  There were jean skiers on snowshoes that were soaked.  Ever heard of GoreTex?  There were skiers booting up the skin track.  That’s a no no in backcountry etiquette.  (It ruins the skin track).  There were French snowboarders smoking cigarettes off to the side of the skin track discussing the 75-foot cliffs they were going to drop.  None of those cliffs are 75 feet tall, and who knows what kind of rocks had just been buried in the landing zones by the current storm.  A group of neoned-out bro brah skiers on alpine trekkers were asking around if anybody knew were Chad’s Gap was.  Classic.  And to top it all off a large percentage of these tards did not have any avalanche gear with them.  For the record, the conditions were rather sensitive that day, as you will see, with the fresh snow and plenty of wind transport.  Luckily, most of these types move rather slow, so we passed them all less than half way to the Pass.  Even better, most of them didn’t venture past the Pass.  Pretty soon we were alone with the exception of running into a few small parties later in the day.

Up on Patsy, the winds were howling pretty good.  Jackets were donned, and we continued the trek around Wolverine Cirque.

Steve, Paul, and Alec ahead of me, traversing around the always impressively steep cirque.

At the top of Wolvie we met a group who were contemplating center punching the cirque.  Yeah… better reconsider that guys on a day like today.  They did, and we continued with a short ski down Wolverine Bowl in some great pow.  We climbed up to the Tuscarora ridgeline and proceded to cut off a cornice to test the slope below.  We got results:

The results of the cornice cutting. A ~300 foot wide slide that ran 6-700 feet. The crown wasnt too deep, but I wouldnt want to have been taken for a ride by it. We took this photo later in the day on our way out. Another small slide naturaled just to the left of this slide a few minutes after this photo was taken.

Ok, so north-facing wind-loaded steep lines were out.  Luckily the Seagull couloir faces east.  Chances are it was also a bit loaded, but we thought we’d go check it out anyways.

It was a little loaded, and someone had skied it probably 30 minutes prior and ripped out a small soft slab in the top of the chute.  Nothing too serious though so we decided to go for it.  I got firsties with Steve keeping an eye out for any avalanche funny business.  The gut of the couloir had a section where the new snow had slid down to the crust below, which made for an interesting turn or two, but the edges skied well and the apron was fantastic and deep.

The Seagull Couloir. Its the obvious line from the summit. 45 degrees at its steepest before easing up into a fun apron.

Next up was Steve with Alec and Paul waiting up high.

Steve navigating the interesting snow conditions in the gut of the couloir.

Miniature Steve enjoying the deepness lookers right in the Seagull apron.

High fives all around and it was time to skin up and out.

Alec, Paul, and Steve on the skinner.

Back up on Wolverine we decided to ski west down Patsy Marley into Alta.  Despite being buffeted by wind, that face skied remarkably well.

Paul making the most out of the final lap.

We eventually met up with a groomer in Alta Ski Resort and raced some little kids to the bottom.  We won.  A quick walk up to the trailhead and we were back at the car.  3 days of awesome skiing accomplished.

To continue the theme, a hot tub session was necessary to relieve the legs, followed by massive chicken tacos at Paul’s topped with a solid green aioli sauce that I made (first time).  Back at Steve’s, I packed my things and got a few hours of sleep before a 4:55 AM cab ride to the airport for my flights back to North Carolina.

Thanks to everybody who I got to hang out with, especially Paul for supplying the hot tub, and Steve and Thérèse for letting me stay with them.  Until next time.



  1. […] Post skiing activities then included a soak in the hot tub once again, a trip to Epic Brewery for some “carb loading”, my reknowned salmon and mushroom manicotti (with salmon Steve caught in Alaska), and an evening with old friends.  Just the ticket.  We were all a bit stiff and sore on Sunday morning, but we had to get over that, since Part 3 was on its way. […]

  2. […] a day out in the backcountry on Sunday, my buddies and I decided that chicken tacos would be the ticket.  Cue the normal ingredients: […]

  3. I am showing off my guns in that one.

    • Gun. Singular.

      • The other one is out of view, but I am flexing it too.

      • Gotcha. So is your jacket about to rip apart from your flexed guns?

  4. Nice!

    But you can be a little nicer to the gapers, right?

    • Gapers are gapers. I wasn’t being mean. Just keepin it real yo. We were all gapers once upon a time.

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