Sunday, April 8, 2012

BC Skiing - Burro Mine/Peak #7, April 5, 2012

Two-thirds the way between Rudy's Flat and Black's Peak, near the top of the peak I call Rectangle Peak .

Near the summit of Peak #7, and the top of the run I call Big Drop #12.

Old Burro Mine road, built in the late 1800's, now inaccesable from below but remnants still showing up high.

View from the top of Black's Peak No. 2 (standing atop the run I call Big Drop #1). Grandview Peak barely showing behind (right) Peak #7. Also, Big Drop's #12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7 and 6 (left to right). Bad snow year; most of the brush and small quakies are covered by April.

Deer hunter lost his (her) bedroll.

Grandview Peak from the knife edge ridge between Black's Peak and Peak #7, above Cottonwood Gulch (the upper north fork of City Creek Canyon).

Wasatch Powderbird Guides (WPBG) landing-zone-wind-marker (heli-ski operation out of Snowbird). Today I found four of these between Black's Peak and Peak #7. They (WPBG) call it Sessions, but Sessions Mountain is actully north, across the canyon, where they also operate. In years past I've only seen one L.Z. along this ridge. Seems like their operations in Davis County are expanding as they get more flack from the SLC/Centtral Wasatch BC crowd. One man's gain is my loss. And being the nerd that I am, I track their flight days. This winter they flew up here 5 times, which is 5 times too many. Not sure why I'm so territorial, I've never seen another B.C. skier this far up the ridge (hey, just answered my own question).    

My ski tracks on lower Big Drop #12, off the peak I call Number 7 (NE of Burro Mine/Blacks Peak, and SW of Grandveiw Peak) one of many ski shots along the ridge running NE from Rudy's Flat to Grandview. I stop making turns about 1,300 feet down (of 2,000 total) because all that vert must be re-climbed to get out. The angle lessens below that point anyway.   

Yesterday's lunch. Many signs of Mountain Lions. 

Just crossed the old Burro Mine road while skinning back up to the ridge after skiing Big Drop #12 (Peak #7).

Roller balls below the Citadel.
View SW from the top of Peak #7 (my back to Grandview Peak), with partial views of other ski offerings.

Red zone, top of the run I call Big Drop One, direct north aspect off the top of Black's Peak #2. 1,000 foot drop at a consistant angle (shown) and another 1,000 feet at 32 degrees. When I was 14,  with friends (Scott Cutler, Mike Lloyd, Scott Shaffer), pretending we were mountain men, camped atop that peak in late October with no tent, no sleeping-bag, no food. Our only protection was a thin blanket we each took off our beds at home. The wind raged all night and we froze.

Meh, they're new, but too tired to remove.

You only turn fifty once – if you’re lucky anyway – so best spend the day backcountry skiing. I’m not saying I was down about the milestone birthday, only that I couldn’t stomach the big day at work. All in all, the snow is going fast, and what remains is a mixture of hard, refrozen crusts, with a bit of sloppy goo lower down. Although, on the well sheltered northern aspects, I found some lightly crusted powder that made for really fun turning. It was a big day, with long miles of discontinuous snow and a healthy vertical climbed and skied. So, work or ski on my fiftieth birthday? I made the right choice.
Snow? For comparison sake, just over a year ago, May 26th to be exact, I did this same route and there was substantially more snow. Today, at Rudy’s Flat, snow coverage was about 80%, with 12 and  24 inches. Bare ground was showing on the most exposed areas. Last May 26th there was 100% coverage with 48 inches. Mountain bikers will take control in a few short weeks.

I hiked in approach shoes (amped-up running shoes) all the way to Rudy's Flat. I used the summer trail because the short-cut-drainages were melted out lower down, thus a bush-whack hell.  At Rudy's I switched to ski boots, mainly to kick steps up the steep climb up to the ridge. On the ridge the snow was still supportable so I was able to boot all the way up to Black's Peak #2, where I finally took skis off the pack and started skinning the knife-edge ridge towards Peak #7.  The snow was rapidly becomeing unsuportable, hence the switch to skis on feet.
Stats: 12 miles; 4,500 vertical feet ascended.

(video posted on facebook)


  1. These are some great pics O! I love seeing the places that you have talked about for years--what a great way to spend your 50th birthday--you are pretty amazing!! I liked the video too, one of the few that didn't make me motion sick :)

  2. Have visited the Burro Mine several times and have hiked "Black Mountain" (the ridge from Rudy's Flat to Grandview Peak) more times than I can remember. However, I have never skied this ridge. The closest I've come is Rudy's several years ago. So to me, these pics are a real treasure. Thanks for posting these, Owen.

  3. Thanks 20coach. The skiing us awesome along Bountiful Ridge, and John, Brett and I have it all to ourselves (mostly). The approach is long and brushy so I think that scares off most folks. Let me know if you ever need a ski partner.

  4. I've been looking up at all that possible skiing near the burro mine area for years, so it is awesome to find your photos!

  5. "Not sure why I'm so territorial, I've never seen another B.C. skier this far up the ridge (hey, just answered my own question)." I don't tour here, so I don't have an interest, but if territorial and enjoy solitude/small company, why post?

    1. Anonymous, I blog because it’s the easiest way to share my experiences with close friends and family. My blog gets little readership so my secret is safe. Plus the number of skiers up there hasn't changed since I started blogging. If that changes I’ll make it private, something I may do anyway.
      To ski Peak #7 a huge aerobic output is required plus the approach is a brushy hell, all just to ski some fairly unremarkable terrain. Most folks are way too smart, presumably folks like you, to put out so much effort for such a marginal return. But I like skiing off the beaten path. It makes me happy and I'm willing to take the bad to get away from the lemming-crowds of the Central Wasatch. Speaking of which, if you like skiing with tons of people I’d suggest Grizzly Gulch, the whore of the Wasatch. The skin track up Grizzly is so overused it’s as rock hard as my driveway. I've even run run it in tennis shoes in mid-winter, no skins necessary.

      My question for you, if you’re really not interested, why did you drill through four years of my lame blogs to find this one?