Little Superior SE Face, UT

By:  Greg
February 16, 2010


After about 20 minutes of spirited skinning with ski crampons, finally we were able to get back to skinning on snow. Dwyer is stoked. (Also note tracks visible in the background. At this time we took heart in the fact that we wouldn’t be the first slope testers of the current high pressure that was “bringing the skiers out of the woodwork.” Looks like a party just ahead of us managed to survive)

“It’s good (as information becomes available, odds of death just went down)!”

We debated summiting Superior Proper, but the terrain traps were larger and (if possible) more consequential up there. In addition there had not been any “slope testers”, and at higher elevation, the risk of deep weak facets increased. With about 500 vertical feet to go, we bagged our skins, and decided to make our final considerations about the descent we’d all been dreaming about for years. A quick check showed facets deeply buried at about 150cm+ (my notes actually say 250cm, but I think that’s too deep), and not failing with hard (full arm from shoulder) compressions. The party ahead of us stuck to an ESE slight drainage presumably to get better snow, but we found we liked a SSE drainage more, and it was just generally more “comfortable” due to deeper snow to protect us from the facets, and also because the surface layers were more protected. For about 600 vertical feet however, we were completely exposed. A failure of the snowpack here would have been catastrophic as the face and small gullies in that zone drain over a cliff and into an terrain trap still riddled with shark’s teeth and debris. Porter went first. The views down the face of Little Superior into the Snowbird valley are breathtaking.

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9 Comments

  1. Dwyer
    wrote on February 16th, 2010 at 11:16 am  
    1

    Nary was there a tastier Bud Dry consumed than when we reached the road to gaze back up at the splendor of that magnificent line.

    • Greg
      wrote on February 16th, 2010 at 11:19 am  
      2

      INDEED! Of all the pictures I snapped that day, I can NOT believe that I didn’t get a shot of that refreshing Dry Brew popping open to greet the glorious crisp Wasatch air.

  2. Ben
    wrote on February 16th, 2010 at 11:50 am  
    3

    Nicely done! I’d already heard about it, but it was still great reading…

    Superior really is an amazing mountain. You’ll have to get back out there sometime and ski from the top!

  3. powhounddd
    wrote on February 16th, 2010 at 1:44 pm  
  4. christian
    wrote on February 16th, 2010 at 5:39 pm  
  5. Mike Austin
    wrote on February 16th, 2010 at 7:56 pm  
    6

    Nicely played lads…

  6. Micky O
    wrote on February 17th, 2010 at 5:06 am  
    7

    Must get out west soon!!!

  7. Ben L.
    wrote on February 17th, 2010 at 9:08 am  
    8

    Sweet. I was out there the week before x-mas and superior was looking pretty bones. Glad you guys got it better. Greg: have you ever skied off the back of superior? Great tour is off of back, up cardiac, down back side then about 5,000 vert to BCC. Probably too early for you guys to do that this year but it is an amazingly long decent with a great skin/ski ratio.

    • Greg
      wrote on February 22nd, 2010 at 9:21 pm  
      9

      Hey Ben, no I haven’t been into Cardiac yet, but plan to as soon as conditions permit. It was on the list, but that bowl faces a good bit more north, and featured a good bit more facets. People were hitting the far skier’s left portion of Cardiac before it turns into a rock wall, and even that was beyond our comfort zone. There were very few tracks right up under Superior in Cardiac… people really weren’t really willing to risk it. Thanks for the comment!

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