Top 10 in 10 – NE Couloir of Lone Peak

| January 19, 2009 | 8 Comments

#6 – NE Couloir of Lone Peak.

Yow!  What a spectacular line! If the NE Couloir of Lone Peak were closer to civilization it would be skied on a daily basis.  But, as it is, the King of Couloirs is guarded by a long approach and today it looked like we were probably the first people in it this season.

The stunning NE Couloir on Lone Peak.

The stunning NE Couloir on Lone Peak.

In an endless quest to find the easiest way up there, we tried going up Coalpit #4, then traversing over and climbing up the NE Ridge.  This was fun, but with 7,750′ of climbing, it is not the easiest way by a few thousand feet.  Oh well – luckily Fred Marmsater and Courtney Phillips like to suffer, so we did.

Fred Marmsater climbing up Lone Peak with Timp and the Cold Fusion Couloir in the background

Fred Marmsater climbing up Lone Peak with Timp and the Cold Fusion Couloir in the background.

Courtney Phillips getting photographed from both ends.

Courtney Phillips getting photographed from both ends. Fred is using a wide-angle lens to make his ass look fatter.

The NE of Lone has a lot going for it.  It is in the Lone Peak Wilderness area, which is surrounded with beautiful clean granite and has a commanding view of the Salt Lake Valley, as well as all the way down to Provo and Mt. Nebo, which is the southern end of the Wasatch range.  We saw two sets of tracks in the Bells Canyon drainage, but aside from that, it is a high, lonely corner of the central Wasatch.  The couloir itself splits the north face right down the center and at a sustained 45 degrees with a cliff at the bottom, it keeps your attention all the way down.  As an added bonus, since it is in the Lone Peak wilderness area, the pesky Wasatch Powderbirds can’t fly in and drop a group on you.

The top of the couloir has a knife-edge ridge which drops down 500+ feet on the backside, so we opted for the safer (a relative term in this case) side entrance.  The first ten feet were a bit icy, but then, ohhhhh yeah… it turned to creamy, steep, old powder.  Hmmmm – just right for steep skiing.

Courtney Phillips skiing below The Cat Ears in the upper couloir.  Courtney has been skiing for two years and is obviously a very fast learner.  To put it in perspective, he's skiing in the first pair of boots he ever owned.  Damn him!

Courtney Phillips skiing below The Cat Ears in the upper couloir. Courtney has been skiing for two years and is obviously a very fast learner. To put it in perspective, he's still in the first pair of boots he ever bought. Damn him.

Holding Court above Fred, who is approaching the lower cliff, but having such a good time he doesn't want to stop.

Holding Court above Fred, who is approaching the lower cliff, but having such a good time he doesn't want to stop.

There is no shortage of amazing views from almost anywhere on Lone Peak.

There is no shortage of amazing views from almost anywhere on Lone Peak. In this photo, Courtney is skirting the lower cliff band.

The bad part about approaching Lone Peak from Coalpit #4 (Little Cottonwood Canyon) is that you have to climb up it, then drop back down the other side, then reverse this on the way back out.  The good part of this is that you don’t need a car shuttle, and, you get to ski Coalpit #4 if your jellied legs can stand it.

Fred working his way down Coalpit #4 at the end of the day.

Fred working his way down Coalpit #4 at the end of the day.

 And thus endeth the north facers.  They were all mighty fine.

 Tomorrow: It gets under your skin.
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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 (8)

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  1. Derek says:

    Interesting way to get to Lone Peak………I prefer Big Willow from the church on Wasatch Blvd. Direct, safe, good trail. But you like to suffer, so…..;)

    Nice work, glad you found it in good shape.

  2. dug says:

    we did lone peak saturday (not hte couloir though), up from alpine. i think you can go up from alpine, ski that couloir, then traverse back up by bighorn, and back down. isn’t that an easier access? maybe not.

    skiing was variable, not the corn we were hoping for, but still totally worth doing.

  3. mt surf says:

    way to get after it Andrew!

    inspiring momentum.

  4. Andrew says:

    Hi Derek – but, but, but… it looked so short and easy on a map! I wasn’t thrilled on the Coalpit #4 approach, but it definitely is a nice finish, that is, if you aren’t too toasted to enjoy it.

  5. Adam Barker says:

    Andrew–
    Had to drop you a line and say thanks for the bootpack up the Y! I was the guy talking to you about the Needle at the bottom this morning. Feel free to check my blog at http://www.adambarkerphotography.com/blog/ for an account of the day’s events. Good luck with the 10 in 10. Looks like some solid work so far.

  6. Andrew says:

    Hi Adam – thanks for the link and excellent photos. As a Point & Chute photographer, it was great to see some photos which do justice to the Y-Couloir. Part of what make it such great skiing (narrow, dark, steep) is what makes it so hard to capture with a camera.

  7. paul busto says:

    come on mcclain you must be getting old and claiming shots where you arent even skiing from the summit wow typical lazy beater move.whats up with your little sidekicks these dayz what i mean is last year one of your beater boyz is riding my ass up the needle as we were the ones puttin the booter it in and he had to drop the coalpit headwall without even askin what a kook .i have a list of peole who say they ride shots but dont ride the lines from the summit .would you like their numbers it make me wonder about the chuting gallery .well you used to be a bad ass but now ur a beater ,yup a has been .oh yeah if you skiied lisa falls today whats up with all the side slippen beater

  8. dug says:

    wow, paul. you sound like a really fun guy.

    a beater (but not the one who used your booter and poached your coalpit line).

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