Friday, March 3, 2017
Friday, March 3, 2017
Salt Lake » Little Cottonwood Canyon » Y-Not Couloir
Location Name or Route
Y Not couloir
I should be dead, or at least severely injured... While descending the y-not couloir today(at ~11am) as I was 5 steps away from clipping into the rappel anchor a small loose snow avalanche (likely triggered by warming from way above on an east facing rock slab) funneled down the choke and hit me square on. I was sent free-falling over the 35' cliff. I somehow landed safely and continued to get towed 250' feet down the tight couloir. In the air, I just kept thinking "this is how I die", "this is how I die". Once I was on the ground and getting tossed I began fighting as hard as I could to get any purchase and fight my way to the side of the chute. Amazingly enough I was able to fight my way out and let the snow pass by me. Once I had stopped moving I began swearing repeatedly, while evaluating myself for injury. My thumb hurt a bit and that was it. I yelled to to my touring partner Grey, "I'm okay!" I quickly booted up some to a safer spot in case another slide came down. Luckily Grey had enough rope to get himself down the rappel and collect my skis, which had been ripped off my pack. I was packed full of snow and missing my sunglasses, ice axe, and one pole. Grey and I skied out as quickly and safely as we could and collected my pole and ice axe 1000' farther down the couloir. I cannot believe how lucky I am. I am still processing, but one obvious lesson learned is even though we we skiing a steep north facing line. We wree not as aware as we should have been about the steep solar aspect slabs of rock that quickly warmed with the sun and sent an avalanche down on us. Even though the slide was relatively small, it picked up speed as it funneled into the choke and I was in a very exposed location. Very the consequences weee dramatically amplified. Pic 1: looking back up at the cliff I was sent over and my skis strewn about after being ripped off my pack. Pic 2: a very shady descent had us lulled into not thinking about wet slide potential.