The Heart of Darkness
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.
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.
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.
Read about the author: Porter Haney