Powder Project Logo

Wheeler Peak Northwest Face

Difficult
 3.5 (2) SKI LINE

A long running avalanche path with variable terrain features.


Your Rating:      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add to Favorites · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

0.9

Miles

1.4

KM

Ski Line

13,020' 3,968 m

High

11,053' 3,369 m

Low

0' 0 m

Up

1,966' 599 m

Down

42%

Avg Slope (23°)

60%

Max Slope (31°)
Type: Backcountry or Sidecountry
Wilderness Area—no mechanized equipment, drones etc.

Need to Know

This is Class 3 avalanche terrain.

Description

As with most of the west-facing lines on Wheeler Peak, the top of this one is usually wind-scoured and rocky. After a big snow event, it can be ridden from the summit; other times, the snow usually begins a few hundred feet down, and can linger until late May or into June on a great snow year.

From the summit, ride onto the open northwest slopes. There are two obvious lines, and you'll want to stay skier's left and to the north of a sub-ridge; follow the terrain as it gradually undulates and leads to a broad snowfield. This snowfield drops down to a rollover into a gully that runs west and narrows below treeline.

The gully funnels into a narrow channel, and then the terrain levels a bit. From here, the trees become tighter, and evidence of old avalanches can be observed in flagging high on the trees and debris scattered among the forest. Follow the terrain as it naturally leads to the open meadows above Williams Lake.

History & Background

An R3D4 slide ran in this path during March 2010 after a moderate El Nino brought heavy snows to the area. A deep slab instability was present and a buried persistent slab failed on a layer believed to be surface hoar that likely grew between lighter snowfall events during late December or early January before heavy snows accumulated mid-January, February, and early March. This avalanche left a crown up to 12 feet high, debris ran hundreds of feet into the trees and flagging was visible several dozens of feet up. During early June of that year, there were debris deposits piled around the uphill sides of trees 6-10+ feet deep, after much of the snowpack had melted. This slide ran to about halfway between where the gully is visible in aerial images and the meadow above the lake, there is evidence of much larger slides that have made it all the way to the lake sometime during the late 1800s.

Contacts

Shared By:

J. Bella

Trail Ratings

  3.5 from 2 votes

#483

Overall
  3.5 from 2 votes
5 Star
0%
4 Star
50%
3 Star
50%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Ski Line Rankings

#41

in New Mexico

#483

Overall
8 Views Last Month
240 Since Jan 24, 2018
Difficult

0%
0%
0%
0%
100%
0%

Photos

Wheeler's northwest slopes from Kachina's east side
Jan 24, 2018 near Taos Sk…, NM

0 Comments

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
Unknown See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Dec 31, 2019
Daniel Chiu
The summit is very rocky and not enjoyable to ski.