The Heart of Darkness

February 15, 2011

Andy Anderson and Dwyer Haney went out to make a giant schuss of the Heart of Darkness this weekend just in time to escape it’s perilous grip for Valentine’s Day. They’re both excellent ski mountaineers, and witty gentlemen too boot. Andy offered to contribute a piece for us to share on FIS, so without further fodder, here are the goods.  Enjoy!


After dropping my pack and soaking in the expansive panorama of the Wasatch afforded by the snowy col we were currently perched atop, a member of another ski party sauntered over and offered to play photographer.

“You guys want a picture?”

Although usually turned off by strangers proffering corny hero shots, I reluctantly agreed, as for all I knew, it could be the last photo ever taken of me.

hell yes we do

After skinning up Pole Line Pass, bootpacking around Little Superior, skiing into Cardiff Fork and skinning up Cardiac Bowl, we were now in view of our objective—a small, heart-shaped notch in the far ridgeline, whose backside houses a 50-degree, 200-centimeter-wide chute accessed by a 20-meter rappel. The line, aptly named The Heart of Darkness after a 1902 novel by Joseph Conrad, has been the site of both Powder Magazine cover shot as well as numerous pairs of soiled underpants. But with all the glorious powder skiing that normally accompanies a winter day in the Wasatch, Dwyer “Body Talk” Haney and I figured it was time to delve a little deeper into our beloved home range.

A quick thumb through The Chuting Gallery and some interwebz photo recon the week before led to a perplexing mixture of palm-sweating apprehension and it-can’t-be-that-steep nonchalance. When Friday night rolled around, I stuffed a harness and belay device into my ski pack, and the die was cast.

After our lengthy approach and the aforementioned photo opportunity, we skied a traversing line of boot-top powder over to the base of the ridgeline, where we got into our harnesses (Dwyer’s a sexy orange dental floss number) and began the bootpack up to the notch. Conditions were a mixture of punchy crust and rock-hard wind scour, and I kicked myself for not borrowing a Whippet as I bashed my pole grip into the slope, trying to gain purchase.

andy skinning

D working it

and booting


After catching our breath at the notch, we peered over the wind lip and gazed down into the abyss at what only the criminally insane would consider a classic ski descent.

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Read about the author:   Porter Haney


  1. powhounddd
    wrote on February 15th, 2011 at 8:33 pm  

    That was awesome. Talk about being between a rock and uh…a rock.

  2. christian
    wrote on February 15th, 2011 at 8:56 pm  

    nice one boys’s’. what exactly is going on with your rappel system??

  3. Adrian
    wrote on February 15th, 2011 at 9:19 pm  

    Wow, looks like great fun!

  4. Sam
    wrote on February 15th, 2011 at 10:07 pm  
  5. Dwyer
    wrote on February 16th, 2011 at 12:10 am  

    The fixed line that was up there (blue rope) was buried under some windblown gnarbar. Had to rap down on the rando-rope (red rope) to free her up @ the base. Andy then brought the rando rope back up and dropped in heavy on the fixed line in order to blow shit up like a powder gangster.

    • christian
      wrote on February 16th, 2011 at 6:26 pm  

      he must be the smoothest of operators

  6. Lionel Hutz
    wrote on February 16th, 2011 at 8:12 am  

    That’s awesome guys. Way to go. However I would have ridden it switch to the road and straight-lined that coolie. Why? Because I’m an idiot.

    P.S. What’s a wobbly pop? Is that a UT thing?

  7. Andy Anderson
    wrote on February 16th, 2011 at 1:05 pm  

    Wobby pop = Canadian slang for beer (I’m not canadian)

    • Lionel Hutz
      wrote on February 16th, 2011 at 3:38 pm  

      That’s ok. I don’t know anything about Canada. I compared the Hudson Bay to Compton.

      Great TR. Welcome to the team. Look forward to getting out with you next time I’m in UT.

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