Ever since moving to Salt Lake City in 2002 I have looked up at Twin Peaks and wanted to ski either the Southwest or Northwest faces. These faces are visible from almost everywhere in SLC.
Twin Peaks from Cottonwood Heights area
Many years ago (probably 2004) Emily and I hike up from Broad’s Fork and descended the Northwest Couloir and came out Deaf Smith Canyon. It was a great hike, but really just confirmed that the way to descend it was on skis. The challenge of this route is finding someone willing to bushwhack out of Deaf Smith Canyon. With great spring skiing conditions, Blake and I had talked about getting out on Saturday and skiing. We proposed Nebo, Timpanogos, and Twin Peaks. Since Blake had a similar feeling as I did that after looking at that peak every day, we really should ski it, our decision on which of the 3 to ski was easy. Another advantage of skiing Twin was that we could have a decent starting time of 7AM (instead of 5AM or earlier for the other 2 peaks)
We were hiking put he Broads Fork Trail with skis and boots on our back by 7 and reached snow (mostly) after the bridge. We switched to skis and continued up.
Blake on the skin track (we maybe switched to skis a little early)
When we got into Broad’s Fork, we could see 2 people at the top of Bonkers, but decided to take the summer route up the south ridge. I incorrectly thought this would be easier and faster since it is in the summer. It took us at least 30 minutes longer (if not an hour) to go this route. We had great skiing conditions with having to cross the occasional wet slide path. We reached the saddle and and had a nice food break before switch to crampons for the rest of the climb up the ridge. The ridge was more technical than we had anticipated and we had to drop down off the ridge to avoid a technical section of 5th class rock in ski boots and crampons.
Blake on the south ridge of Twin Peaks
Blake on the south ridge of Twin Peaks
Blake on the East Summit
Chad on the East Summit
Blake on the west summit
Chad on the west summit
Our plan was to be on the summit by 11AM since we knew that either the SW or NW faces would not soften up before then. Our timing was perfect and we hit the East Summit at 10:57. The NW face was still frozen solid. We made our way to the West Summit and the SW face was still hard as well. We decided to sit and wait for the snow to soften so we hung out at the summit until noon and figured it was time to go before it got too warm down low.
View of our descent, the thick Deaf Smith Canyon, and SLC 6,100′ below.
The top ~200′ was still frozen, but we quick hit great corn and we were able to ski 3,500′ of great corn followed by another 600′ of picking our way through trees and dirt to the end of the snow.
Blake skiing great corn
We reached the end of the snow, switched back to running shoes, shouldered our once again heavy packs (with skis, boots, etc) and started into the unknown. Last time I had gone down Deaf Smith, it was a complete bushwhack and we spend most of the time just walking down the middle of the creek. We were pleasantly surprised that there was a descent trail for most of the descent. We still had to cross the creek at least 15 times and had a couple of fun rock traverses, but we were able to make descent time down.
The fun of getting out Deaf Smith Canyon
More Deaf Smith Canyon fun
We reached the car by 2:20 where cold PBR was waiting for us after great day at a relaxing pace.
I love my Scarpa Alien boots, but the boa hurts the top of my foot extremely bad. This was a trial day using the Dynafit TLT liners (which are a little bit thicker) in the Alien shells and I was very happy with how the padding helped ease the pain. This may be the standard combo for me for everything other than racing.
- Scarpa Alien 1.0 boots
- Ski Trab Free Rando Lite Skis
- Dynafit Low Tech Light bindings
- BD Whipet
- BD Raven Ultra Ax
- Grivel Race Crampons
- BD Mohair Skins
- Dynafit pants and jacket
- BD Tracer Helmet
- Montrail Mountain Massochist shoes