Sunday, December 28, 2014

Upper Silver Fork – East Bowl

East Bowl is best accessed through Grizzly Gulch going up the West side of the gully and then up Michigan City.

Trail head:                           Grizzly Gulch at Alta (Little Cottonwood)
Trail head elevation:           8,560
“Summit”:                             Hanging Bone
“Summit” elevation:            10,080
The line:                               From the Hanging Bone (or a bit below) ski down the west facing bowl.

East bowl, just like West Bowl, is a reasonably safe alternative when the snowpack is not all too reliable. From Alta, there is a 1,600’ skin up to the Hanging Bone.
Skin into Grizzly Gulch and up Michigan City using a combination of whatever skin tracks you can find (this is a high traffic area) and the service road (Michigan City rd.) that meanders up that side of the hill. The Hanging Bone is the highest point directly East of Davenport Hill and the beginning of the ridge line between Honeycomb Cliffs and Silver Fork. Shoot for the summit or a little below it to the West of it. Ski down the west facing bowl. The laps in that bowl are 700’ – 900’ for each descent depending on how far down you transition. This tour can be an out and back with ski out on the Alta side or a bi-canyonal tour with a ski out down Silver Fork to Solitude Ski resort in Big Cottonwood.

This tour was organized by the Wasatch Mountain Club and the group being large, it was split up. Our group consisted of Bob, Craig, Gibby (on a split board) and myself, here they are:

Bob, Craig and Libby on the uptrack in Michigan City

The tour took place yesterday and the snow conditions were absolutely fantastic (except for the occasional rock). We had a foot plus of good powder in the bowl and on the south facing ski out back down to Alta via Grizzly. There it was a bit over a foot of the very light, fast and fun stuff. There were no signs of instabilities in the bowl, however the weak layers in the snowpack were present everywhere you decided to plant your pole a bit deeper.

Here are some more pictures (click to enlarge):
View down Little Cottonwood with the most prominent peaks being from
left to right: Mt Baldy, Pfeifferhorn (the pyramid in the distance) and to the
right of the road Mt Superior. Picture taken from Michigan City.

Close up of Mt Baldy. Notice to the left of the peak, just before the shoulder
drops, Great Baldy chute.

Devil's Castel, Sugarloaf and Greely's in Alta.

The Pfeifferorn with Snowbird slopes in the foreground. 

Trees in East Bowl.

West Bowl seen from East Bowl.

Summit Lift top under Fantasy Ridge. At level with Summit Lift and behind
Fantasy Ridge starts a straight track (Highway to Heaven) taking you to Twin
Lakes Pass.

View of some of the Honycomb Cliffs.

Gibby boarding in East Bowl...

...and Bob skiing it.

Beyond the Meadows is Mt Raymond to the left and to the right
Gobblers Knob.

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