Hogum Fork is one of my favorite places in the Wasatch. It is topped off with the Pfiefferhorn (my favorite peak) and is a massive alpine area with lots of great ski lines. Two of the classics are The Hypodermic Needle and The Sliver. Andy Paradis and I had hopes of skiing both lines on Saturday, but ended up just skiing The Sliver. In The Chuting Gallery, Andrew McLean gives this line a 5- our of 7 for steepness and mentions that the top section ‘can be a mildly technical mixed rock and snow climb in low snow conditions.’ The Wasatch definitely has low snow conditions this year. When you look at the Sliver from the bottom, it doesn’t look like it goes all the way to the top, but once in the chute, you can see a very narrow choke the allows access to the ridge. Three years ago we climbed the Sliver to access Coalpit Gulch and since that time, I have wanted to get back to ski it.
Andy and I decided to approach The Sliver via the longer route from White Pine Trailhead, up to Red Pine, across Maybird, over ‘Small Pass’ then across all of Hogum Fork. The approach was 5.5 miles and 3200′ of climbing just to get to the base of The Sliver. Once at the top of the Sliver we enjoyed the great views of the western Wasatch and Salt Lake Valley. Looking over the edge put butterflies in my stomach. I measured the top section to the choke at 58 degrees. Add to this, slipping or falling in this section would have made a person into a pinball off the rocks. I was a little nervous, but once my tips were over the edge and I dropped in, I realized it was exhilarating and not nearly as bad as it looked.