Early Bird Gets the Worm – Touring Big Cottonwood
As we all dream about those blower pow days, we start to lose our mind dealing with this horrendous inversion and high-pressure system in Utah. If you spend too much time in the valley, you probably have acquired the tasty inversion plague that I have wonderfully become accustom to. I mean, come on Utah, we are DUE for some snow and clean air!
Photos: You’ll see a few shots of Cardiac Ridge that look over to the Big Cottonwood side of things. The rest are on our trek up to the summit.
Myself and a few buddies decided to hell with the snow conditions and bad air, let’s go for a hike. Where to go? We checked the bucket list…. Mt. Superior it is. We’ve all stared and drooled over this majestic peak while drinking beers on the patio at Goldminer’s Daughter, Alta, but had yet to conquer it. Let’s be honest, the skiing and snow conditions were not desirable, but the weather was great and the avy danger safe.
We were at the trailhead at 5:50am geared up and ready to rock. Headlamps beaming, we began our skin up following the telephone pole line to the ridge. This was the easy part. As the sunrise peaked over the silhouette of the mountains, we had arrived at the ridge where it was time to de-skin and boot pack…. for 2 to 3 hours (we like to take it slow and steady ha). Boy am I glad I have some touring specific boots with a full Vibram rubber sole. This boot pack, at times, was a bit hairy with slippery rocks and steep drops on either side of you. Yes, mother, we had our helmets on! Regardless of the long trek up to the summit, we were determined to make it to the top and check Mt. Superior off the bucket list.
About 4 to 4.5 hours later, we had arrived. They say it’s one of the best views in the Wasatch and that’s no lie. At 11,132 feet, it’s hard to beat. We soaked up the view for 20 minutes or so, snacked on some munchies, and geared up for the crunchy ski down. Like I said earlier, the ski conditions were not ideal at all. One, two, three turns of nice soft snow and IMMEDIATELY into teeth-chattering sun crust. We expected this. Slow and steadily we picked our way down the 3,000 foot vertical drop. 5 hours round trip we had made it safely to the car STOKED on our mission accomplished!
Imagine the south face of Superior full of soft powder… we now have the route dialed and are ready to shred the living shit out of it next time. On your bucket list or not, every Utard should take the opportunity to ski off this peak before they die.
Praying, praying, praying to the snow gods and thanking them for a wonderful morning of backcountry skiing regardless of the snow conditions!