#7 – The Hypodermic Needle (aka The Needle)
The Hypodermic Needle is such a striking, fantastic, obvious couloir that if anyone ever says “I was up at Alta/Snowbird today and saw this amazing looking chute…” there is a 99.9% chance they are talking about The Hypodermic Needle. If you are into chute skiing, one glance at this thing will cause an involuntary yearning in your loins.
There are two or three ways to approach The Needle and all of them hurt. Knowing there was a booter in on the Y-Couloir, we went up that, then traversed over into Coalpit, then up the ridge to the summit. I was glad Noah was along, as he’d also been up the Y-Couloir three times in the last week. See Mom – I’m not not the only one who does this.
Through out this project, I’ve been blessed with incredible partners who have seemingly come out of the woodwork. Today I was reminded of a quote from the Metallica documentary “Some Kind of Monster” where the lead singer said “these guys make me play better.” At 35,000′ and counting, my legs are starting to get tattered, but it was so fun to ski with Cameron, Bart and Noah, that it hardly seemed to matter. I’ll get a real job soon – I swear.
The first time I skied The Needle we were so intimidated by it we did it as an overnight trip and camped in Hogum Fork. It just seemed too big, steep and gnarly to do in a day. Nowadays, the hair factor is largely gone (the business end of The Needle is about 1,000′ – not so bad), although it is entirely condition dependant. The Needle is east facing (east = crust), but is so sheltered by rock walls that it is often much better than expected.
All told, The Needle is roughly a 5,000′ descent, of which 1,000′ is serious and the rest is pure fun. What makes The Needle a Wasatch Classic? Everything. If you only had one day to ski here, this packs it all in – steeps, views, powder, aprons, ease of access and a good return on your hiking dollar.
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Category: current conditions