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Trip Report: Utah's Triangle Couloir

When it's slow at work, my friend Greg Hewitt and I toss around ideas of fun linkups and technical lines back and forth. One such line that came up a few times was the Triangle Couloir in Utah's Little Cottonwood Canyon. Triangle is a roadside attraction, and it was one of the many chutes and couloirs that caught my wide-eyed attention a few years ago and it was also on Greg's list too. The fact that it's one of the more adventurous lines in the Chuting Gallery was also a strong attractor. After a couple of laps up the Great White Icicle, a popular ice climbing route slightly lower in Little Cottonwood, through the prior two weeks, we were both feeling confident in our abilities on ice. Conditions looked decent, so we planned for Saturday. After some new snow fell, we decided to let it settle for another 24 hours and Sunday was our day. We left the car at about 8:30 a.m., a casual start time. Over the river and through the woods we went, then some fairly rugged bush whacking for a short bit that reminded me of skiing in the woods in New Hampshire. We popped out in the bottom of the couloir and skinned a short bit until we switched to booting. The ropes came out, and Greg took the first pitch of ice climbing. It went smoothly and I took the second pitch, which also went smoothly. The top of the second pitch proved to be fairly interesting. I saw the rappel station around a big, well rooted tree that looked very tricky to get to. Instead of risking a big fall, I decided that equalizing a few small branches of scrub oak into an anchor would be far better, as the likelihood of a fall from Greg was low in this case. While I coiled ropes and organized everything for a speedy move to the sturdy rappel station, Greg booted up the rest of the couloir. Once we were both at the top, we were greeted by great snow and ample space for making turns. The skiing was great and we had smiles as we skied into the scrub oak anchor. The plan was to belay a person from the scrub oak anchor to the sturdy rap station. While we were tying in and setting up, two large sluffs came down. Greg and I looked at each other wide-eyed and suddenly time became of the essence. Greg volunteered to take the traverse over to the rap anchor, and we both were a bit puckered as we weren't sure of the footing beneath the snow on the narrow rock band that the large tree sat on. After some grunting in effort and hooting in happiness that the rap anchor was reached, I stopped belaying him and started to rappel. During this, two more large sluffs from above came down, enough to get me puckered again. [caption id="attachment_6313" align="aligncenter" width="1080"]Ben White rappels as Greg Hewitt snaps a picture. Ben White rappels as Greg Hewitt snaps a picture.[/caption] Things weren't going perfectly, this now had a taste of adventure. The ski cuts we made and the hand pit we dug showed very little likelihood for much breaking loose, but we might have woken the snow from its sleep while skiing and now it was searching for us. Once we were on rappel, it was smooth sailing from there. We got to the top of the bottom section and skied out. Hoots and hollers bounced off the granite, as we had just ticked off a line we both had been looking at for years. There was no sign of kicked out ice and no pictures on the internet this season of people skiing the Triangle Couloir. We were stoked. High-fives gave way to gear sloppily thrown in the car, and we drove down the canyon with our heads split apart with smiles. On Monday evening, we found out that a local pro and his photographer went up there because they had seen us and our tracks. Unfortunately, there was more spindrift than they were comfortable with and they ended up turning around. Greg and I had stolen some ice cream, and the next kids who went up to the ice cream truck were watched far too closely by the ice cream man. Ben White