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Skiing Utah's Lisa Falls Couloir

Anybody who has been to Salt Lake has looked at Twin Peaks. From anywhere near downtown, a skier might look up at the mountains and notice that there are three mountains sticking out. The imposing West Slabs of Mt. Olympus, Lone Peak sticking out all alone, and Twin Peaks, which were described to me when I was first getting to know the area as Barbie s boobs. After I picked up the requisite copy of The Chuting Gallery, Andrew McLean s legendary backcountry guidebook to the classic lines in Utah s Wasatch range, I found out that one of the best lines in the Wasatch descended Barbie s cleavage. As is customary, we waited until conditions were good. The plan for the day was to ski Lisa Falls, then run across the road and ski the Y Not Couloir, which had a rappel in it. A rope and some cord and other various accouterments were in our backpacks, and we had read that it was also good to have those tools available while skiing the Lisa Falls couloir for short sections of lowering around rocks and drops in the creek bed. We were prepared enough for what lay ahead. My friend Jackson and I summited Twin Peaks at about noon, a fairly casual hour for a south-facing line. The day was warm and we knew we had to move quickly, so we did a couple of ski cuts, then dropped in. There were no other tracks in the snow that had fallen the morning prior, and the skiing was just peachy. It started with a great couloir at the top, followed by open GS turns somewhere in the middle, and a wonderful creek bed to finish things off.
February 2016 5

February 2016 5

We happened to nail it in great powder that hadn t begun to get too wet with warming. Apparently, there s an exit from the creek bed on the left side that involves some bootpacking, but in our mirthful state, we neglected to do that. After a good amount of hopping about in the creek bed and connecting snow together to continue sliding, we eventually came to a cliff that did not look like we could safely down climb it. Fortunately, the rope and other supplies we had with us were very much useful.
February 2016 11

February 2016 11

After looking around for anything to use as an anchor, our options were narrowed down to using a torso sized rock as a deadman anchor. This consisted of wrapping the rock up with some cord, burying it deep in the snow, and playing rock-paper-scissors to see who would rappel first. I threw scissors and Jackson threw rock, and a few minutes later I was standing in a shin-deep pool 80 feet below. There was more creek bed skiing until we arrived at the top of the popular Lisa Falls rock climbing spot. After scrambling down and around the side, we put our skis back on and chased each other to the road. Enough adventure was had for the day, so we decided to hitchhike back to the car and get burritos. Ben White

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