Top 10 in 10 – Coalpit

| January 18, 2009 | 7 Comments

#5 – Coalpit Headwall

The Coalpit Headwall has a lot going for it – it is north facing (softest of the soft), huge, has a fairly moderate angle, has tons of variety and more often than not, some portion of it will have good skiing.

The top of the Coalpit Headwall as seen from the White Pine trailhead.

The top of the Coalpit Headwall as seen from the White Pine trailhead.

There are many ways to approach it, all involving pain & suffering.  Since there is a booter up the Y-Couloir, we went up that, then traversed into the headwall cirque, skinned for a ways, then hit the ridgeline where we booted to the summit.  This is the most direct way to get there, although it has a low start (which means more vert climbed) and you end up losing about 500′ on the ridge traverse, but for today it was the way to got.

Fred Marmsater busting out the final section at the top of the Y.  Thankfully, it was well hammered down from five days ago.

Fred Marmsater busting out the final section at the top of the Y. Thankfully, it was well hammered down from five days ago.

I don’t usually tour with a group of six, but today it was great as the traveling conditions were perfect and we had lots of horsepower, including Fred Marmsater from Boulder Colorado, Bart Gillespie, Jared Inouye, Rick Angell and Courtney Phillips. The Y Couloir had a well established booter in it which lead to a nice high traverse into the Coalpit cirque which I’d never done before (nice job whoever put that line in) and then another booter up the ridge.  All and all, not too bad an approach for a 5,000′ line.

Two lawyers, a rocket scientist and a genetic engineer walk into a couloir...  The final ridge climb up the Coalpit Headwall.

Two lawyers, a rocket scientist and a genetic engineer walk into a couloir... The final ridge climb up the Coalpit Headwall.

The optional, avoidable, yet very photogenic last three feet to the summit.

The optional, avoidable, yet very photogenic last three feet to the summit.

4,990 feet to go until the valley floor.

4,990 feet to go until the valley floor.

Coalpit starts out with a steep headwall which soon turns into a more moderate bowl.  After this, it rolls through a nice tree section, which eventually turns into a wild gully that terminates with a waterfall that must be skirted, then back to a gully, then a section of dues-paying bushwhacking at the bottom before you hit a hiking trail which leads to a bridge and finally, a nice parking lot right by the side of the road.

Jared skiing the Coalpit Headwall while Bart watches from a safe spot tucked under some rocks.

Jared skiing the Coalpit Headwall while Bart watches from a safe spot tucked under some rocks.

The lower third of the Coalpit Headwall is a tight, wild, granite lined gully that ends in a waterfall over a cliff.

The lower third of the Coalpit Headwall is a tight, wild, granite-lined gully that ends in a waterfall over a cliff.

Fred Marmsater skiing just below the waterfall.  A fixed line was left hanging from a tree, which made skirting this obstacle a bit easier.

Fred Marmsater skiing just below the waterfall. A fixed line was left hanging from a tree, which made skirting this obstacle a bit easier.

Just when you think it is over... it's not.  Rick Angell bushwhacking through the final section.

Just when you think it is over... it's not. Rick Angell bushwhacking through the final section.

 Tomorrow: The ol’ high lonely.

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Help support StraightChuter.com and get the binding of choice for the Coalpit Headwall, the Dynafit TLT Vertical from Backcountry.com. Click on the photo below…

 

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Category: current conditions

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. Chris says:

    Hey andrew, are those next years version of the baker you’re on?

  2. Andrew says:

    Hi Chris – No, they are a pair of 2009 K2 Backouts in a 167cm length. Lightning fast! They are probably more akin to the K2 Chogori than the Mt. Baker Superlight.

    My basic set-ups are:

    Light:
    – Scarpa F3 boots
    – K2 Backout skis (167cm)
    – Dynafit ST Vertical w/o brakes
    – BD Glidelite Skins

    Medium:
    – Scarpa Spirit 3 boots
    – K2 Mt. Baker Superlight skis (167)
    – Dynafit Comforts with brakes
    – BD skins (old cow pattern… Glidelite?)

  3. Tim says:

    Andrew, this is great stuff to read. Keep up the good fight.

  4. kirk turner says:

    A buddy and I skied the y on friday, your line yesterday off the top was fun, we still found some untracked pow in the trees, but the bottom of the chute was pretty chalky, all and all a good day, thanks for the great reports, the NW couloir of the pfief is on my list, the pitch off the summit looked quite bare from your photos yes?

    I’m a college student, you looking for any company on wed? I’m off of school…
    Peace
    Kirk

  5. Andrew says:

    Hi Kirk – the NW of the Pfieff is definitely NOT recommended until we get more snow. It was in pretty ragged shape when we did it a few days ago, and is probably even more tattered now that we’ve scrubbed off more snow.

  6. kirk turner says:

    Yeah, we are going to wait until later this winter/spring…

  7. Scott Adams says:

    I am new to Utah and looking for some good places to go ride in the back country. What are some good safe places not prone to avalanches?

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