Saturday, January 11, 2014

BC Skiing: Bountiful Ridge-Rectangle Bowl, January 10, 2014

Rare scene: unbroken snow in lower North Canyon. The good thing is very few travel past this point. More skiing for me!
Trail breaking was kind of tough with a foot of fresh powder over a foot of rotten snow. It often left me sinking to the ground.  

My view, all the way to the top of Rectangle Peak on Bountiful Ridge (the S.L. and Davis County divide), NE of Rudy's Flat.

Moose tracks. I was in upper North Canyon when an ass-hole in a helicopter flies over . . . and over and over. He flew circles overhead, just 50 feet off the ground for nearly an hour; it sounded like a scene out of Apocalypse Now. He did 'touch and goes'  along the ridges and peaks of North Canyon and he totally spooked a big bull moose who came charging through forest about 100 yards above me, through the 28 inches of snow. I've seen moose up there for years and in the winter they stand like statues, not moving a muscles for hours at a time, conserving their strength to endure the cold and wet weather. I see this pilot flying up there every time I ski Bountiful Ridge and he's always doing his cute fly-bys, and touch and goes, scaring the crap out of the Moose that winter near Rudy's Flat. I'm going to find out who the pilot is and file a complaint with the Forest Service, for harassing the wildlife. For a moose to run through deep snow in mid-winter, it's a huge drain of their reserves; it can weeken them to the point of death. I'm not alone is this complaint; in the summer I've seen him do the same and I've heard cyclist echo my thoughts. As I see it he can do touch-and-goes at the airport-port, the landfill, over Energy Solutions nuclear repository, or the sewer company, or even his own neighborhood, and he won't bother the moose, skiers, bikers or hikers.  Heli-free Wasatch!!     

27 inches of snow at Rudy's Flat (7,140 foot elevation). Pathetic winter so far; the 12 inches that fell yesterday were a real blessing . . .

 . . . but we need more, a lot more.

The City of Bountiful from mid-slope, half-way between Rudy's Flat and Rectangle Peak. 

32-inches of snow half-way up Rectangle Bowl, which is about 3/4 mile and 1,000 vertical feet above Rudy's Flat (8,100 foot elevation).

24 inches just below the summit of Rectangle Peak (8,400 foot elevation). I skied this SW facing slope knowing I'd hit rocks but also knowing it was the safest aspect to ski given the current avalanche situation (moderate to high depending upon location). The slope angle here is 37 degrees, which is prime steepness for avalanches. I watch this slope all winter long and the snow stabilizes here more quickly (and does not accumulate) than the slopes just around the corner on the N-NE aspects. This slope was nearly melted off before yesterday's storm. I had several thing in my favor avalanche wise: low elevation, SW aspect (direct sun creates freeze/melting cycles which create more stability than on the N-NE aspects, which see little sun) and little snow. Yeah, I heard collapsing along the ridge where the wind had made deposits, but on this slope the snow was very stable. I did hit two rocks near the summit, where the wind had carried off much of the new snow.  

My turns and skin track in lower Rectangle Bowl, and this frame shows about 1/4 of my run. Slope angle down here is about 25 degree. The angle from the top of the frame to the top of Rectangle Bowl is a consistent 37 degree.  

First run turns in upper Rectangle Bowl.

First and second run turns in upper Rectangle Bowl. The skiing here is great, but the lifts SUCK!

Skiing home, just above Rudy's Flat. A thin snow-pack in trees and I was moving fast - not a good combination! I panicked when I came upon this log with no time to stop, so had to commit and tried to hop but not sure if my skis would go over or under.  Luckily they went over. Lesson learned: slow down in thin conditions.

Another dead tree at Rudy's Flat. I rode my mountain bike up here about 50 times last summer and never noticed this dead tree, which is just 5 feet off the trail. I love the slow pace of backcountry skiing. Skinning through a forest, you see things missed while pushing the pace on a bike.   

Rectangle Peak (middle, 1/3 frame from right), Rectangle Bowl - site of today's ski runs (open slope directly below Rectangle Peak), and Rectangle Run still too brushy and begging for snow (the open, but brushy, slope left and down ridge from Rectangle Peak).

Weirdness of nature. This wishbone-shaped branch fell from the upper reaches of this tree and has hung here for at least the last ten years. Ok, not that weird, but it tickles me to see this each year. Some things endure. Some things fade away.    

View NE from the summit of Rectangle Peak, towards the Burro Mine area of Bountiful Ridge. That pointy, brushy knob in the middle of the frame is what we called Black's Peak as kids. I'm not sure where that local name originated, maybe from Black Mountain which across the canyon to the south (City Creek Canyon). Although, years ago I saw a USGS top map that had this peak labeled as Big Black Mountain and the one in City Creek Canyon labeled as Little Black Mountain. Current USGS maps do not label it as such. Just Burro Mine. 

Who's the dork? Colors not coordinated, garbage bag and PVC pipe. What a hill-billy!!! He probably even likes Earnest T. Bass. He probably drives a 10-year old Toyota, and a stock, 12-year old triple crank, instead of an Escalade and $10K S-Works. He should get a rope and use it! He'll never make it at Deer Valley, Snowbird, Alta or on the local cycling scene. But wait, this is not a resort and he's no cyclist. His location is hours from town and anyone who cares about fashion would never hike this far - through weeds - for a paltry 4,000 vertical of skiing. Normal folks get that much skiing in 20 minutes riding lifts. Oh well, Earnest T. Bass would be proud.


  1. You stated you panicked when you skied up to a log? Wish you would have called me, I would liked to have seen you panic, that is something that I have not seen you do in what has probably been almost 20 years...

    Cutler was pretty trashed by the wind, and it needs another meter, I measured 1.35m at the Ben Lomond Peak Snotel.

    1. Sorry I should have called, I really could have used your trail-breaking skills. In fact, I would have let you set ALL the skin tracks. This was a last minute thing, dropped work and ran, otherwise you would've been invited to be my slave. Other than the tough skinning the skiing was excellent. I think today would have been a different story; other than the established skin track it looked pretty bad; while scoping with the binoculars for my ski tracks I saw huge plumes of snow blowing off the ridges.

      Sounds like Ben Lomond has good coverage.