Desperate August Turns – Baldy Chute

| August 8, 2008 | 7 Comments
In the name of product testing, I took a trip up the Old Reliable of the Wasatch, Main Baldy Chute at Alta yesterday.  Main Chute is high, north facing and gets lots of upcanyon windloading, so it is often the first line to fill in and the last to melt out.  About the only downside of Main Chute is that it’s within the Alta Ski Area domain so you have to ski it pre-season, post-season, at 2:00am under a full moon, or put up with a muzzle full of Alta snark.  Still, it is one of my favorite lines in the Wasatch.
First tracks! The anticipation is killing me.

Skiing Main Baldy in August usually only happens after a big snow season.  Years ago, a group of 4-5 skiers were skiing it just for the novelty of skiing in August when one of them slipped, fell and slid head-first into the rocky moat next to the snow.  A second skier somehow fell and was soon joined by a third falling skier as well.  Bones were broken, skulls were scalped, ribs were cracked and lungs were punctured before they were finally evacuated by AirMed. 

The tasty middle apron.  Yum yum.
The tasty middle apron. Yum yum.

I had forgotten what a rubble pile Alta is in the summer.  Even the access road, which is a cruiser in the winter, was loose, dusty and steep on a mountain bike.  By far, the most gripping part of the day was down-climbing through the loose talus on a pair of skis with binding which were barely engaged! 

A thin layer of metamorphic TG crystals created "Considerable" avalanche danger.
A thin layer of metamorphic TG crystals created “Considerable” avalanche danger.

Still, it was a fun outing, although I wasn’t going back for seconds.

Help support and get 15% off on the classic trail running Montrail Vitesse shoes from! Click the photo below…

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Category: Trip Reports

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

Comments (7)

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  1. Fred M says:

    Loose bindings – not dynafits I trust?

  2. Rob Means says:


    working that fever only makes it worse….but you knew that :-)


  3. Polly says:

    Any Alta staff shake a pole at you?

  4. Andrew says:

    Uhmm, they were Dynafits, but it was a self-inflicted wound as I swapped boots and only adjusted one binding… then left the screw driver at home. It was a lot like skiing tele.

    And no, there was no pole shaking this time. Wheeh!

  5. rl says:

    Andrew sez: It was a lot like skiing tele.

    what? you finally learned how to dance?
    I gotta see that.


  6. Andrew says:

    Yeah, it’s a lot like square dancing, or clog dancing. Graceful in the eye of the beholder. :)

  7. Mike says:

    Ahhh… summer skiing at its finest! Love the site.


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