February 28, 2016

Twin Peaks- Brown Couloir (aka NW Couloir)

I have been doing some research on Twin Peaks, a set of peaks I have been captured by since I was just a young kid. It seems the first known successful ascent occurred in August 21, 1847 by John Brown, Albert Carrington, William Wilson. John had been in the Salt Lake Valley as a mormon pioneer only a month prior (one book had indicated Orson Pratt was party to this but most other sources point otherwise).  It took the party 8 hours to climb to the top of the lofty mountain (starting from their camp at the mouth of Big Cottonwood) and snow was discovered on top. John seems to have documented their ascent best. Some of us are immediately drawn to the mountains.

Off the east summit of Twin Peaks a steep and super long couloir on the the north-west aspect drops down into the north fork of Deaf Smith. This couloir is riddled with complex quartzite complemented by shades of creamy light and dark brown. I am calling this couloir the Brown Couloir, in honor of John Brown, the apparent expedition leader of the first successful party to ascend this remarkable peak.

Justin and I had an excellent morning yesterday, starting at 615 AM. We topped out on Twins via Broads Fork with the Brown Couloir our objective and found steep mixed conditions right off the bat. It was a remarkable descent into the mystical setting of the north side of Twin and then into Deaf Smith. We ascended the Deaf Smith North Fork headwall and then traversed over the ridge to find consolidated powder the entire descent of Bonkers. The crystal clear sky told the story of a storm that never materialized. 

Justin- Cottonwood Ridgeline
Me, cheesy pose- Thanks Justin

Coming off summit and descending in
Justin upper third of Brown Couloir

Me in weathered terrain, rime-crusted quartzite

Justin ascending out of Deaf Smith

Twins Massive North Face

Not bonked yet

February 26, 2016

Olympus' Ancient Greek God of Light Couloir

Lars has been talking for some time about getting out to ski this line. I hadn't skied it either. After serious bush-whacking, we found the lower section avalanched with two week-old debris that had come off the north face. Above the wreckage we found consolidated powder mixed with ice, a 1" slab and untouched conditions. As the sun bathed the valley floor the cold north-side skied wonderfully.

On our exit through the brush, we found a mountain lion had travelled right over our skin track we had left less than an hour or so previously. 


Me - Courtesy Lars
The Grinch

February 13, 2016

Rising Above It

The valley smog and haze can do a number on all our minds. Luckily good friends help lift one another's spirits and the greatest therapy can often be found together in the mountains. A long overdue outing with Lars was prescribed and another excellent morning with Justin made these trips this week just what I needed. Thanks guys.

Friday Morning-
Lars topping out
The Waking Light

This morning (Saturday)
Justin up the face, in flat light
After enjoying a windy summit, we enjoyed a powdery descent

February 7, 2016

Winter's Escape

On Saturday, Justin and I escaped life in the valley for a few hours and enjoyed some higher-alpine skiing in the Wasatch. It was a fantastic morning, filled with brilliant light and experiences.

Courtesy J. Wilson
Justin charging down