With a cold and breezy forecast, we were in search of lines that would heat up and soften…in particular SE facing. Scheelite Chute is a 6,000′ couloir right out of Pine Creek Canyon that faces SE…boom. It was a low cost of entry, being that the approach starts right off the road. Perfect for a day with dubious conditions.
John, Alex, and I started up at 6 AM, planning to top out the line around 11 AM or so. The bottom 1,000′ was full of avy debris; being that the line is a 6,000′ couloir, it sheds frequently.
The bottom of the chute is very low angle; the chute itself doesn’t really start to pick up in steepness until around halfway up. We switched to booting around 2,500′ in.
There was a lot of debris in the chute; we knew it would be a ‘chunky’ ride down. As the chute began to constrict, a deep runnel formed…a tunnel of sorts. It wouldn’t be the most fun to cross it on skis.
Climbing up, the pitch steepened and looking down I began to realize more and more that the top 1,500′ probably wasn’t going to soften. It wasn’t horribly steep…no more than 45 degrees, but it was definitely 3D snow. It would be engaging just because of the challenge the snow posed.
The top 100′ was actually a little wintry mix of chalk/powder; but pretty quickly after that it turned to hard, re-frozen chunder. I snapped a few pictures of Alex making turns near the top, before the camera went away and it was all focus from there on out.
The skiing was difficult and engaging because of how hard and chunky the snow was. After 1,500′ or so, the snow softened and there was a more planar surface from people that had skied it before. I was able to ease up a bit and enjoy the run more from this point onward.
The bottom 4,000′ was excellent, ripper corn. We party skied the lower chute down to the avy debris, before skiing to the car. Overall, a simple day going straight-up-and-down. This line heats up fast with its SE facing aspect and all the rock walls. I would plan to hit it early and definitely would be frightened to ski it in new snow. There’s a lot of shed that happens, as evidenced by the avy debris at the bottom.