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Big Drop Access

Difficult

Trail

1.2 mile 2.0 kilometer point to point
Ascent
Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 505' 154 m
Descent: -24' -7 m
High: 9,048' 2,758 m
Low: 8,567' 2,611 m

Grade

Avg Slope: 8% (5°)
Max Slope: 21% (12°)
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Map Key

Trail shared by Abandoned User

Avalanche risk for Nov 26, 2017: Low

Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features. Natural and human-triggered avalanches unlikely.

Full forecast for UAC: Salt Lake — Brought to you by UT Avalanche Center

Avy tweets from @UACwasatch

The route from which the Big-Drop runs drop!

Abandoned User
Type: Backcountry or Sidecountry

Need to Know

Skiing one of the 12 big-drop runs requires re-ascending the ridge to get out unless you want to wack your way down Mueller Park canyon. Re-ascending the ridge along-side big-drop 12, I accidentally broke a cornice and nearly fell with it. Stay back further from the edge than where you think a cornice might break. In my case, I traveled from a non-corniced section of the ridge into one that was corniced, not realizing it until it was too late.

Also, a friend of mine gave me a first-hand account of a terrible avalanche that took place on Big-Drop 1, and I've heard other first-hand accounts of avalanches occurring up along B-ridge. Though the avalanche danger here is generally less than that of the tri-canyon area, it's good to be reminded that avalanches can and do happen here every season. Sometimes you can piggy-pack off of Powder-Bird guide's avalanche mitigation work, but don't let this be your only reason for thinking a slope is safe.

Description

The route shown here on the map takes you from Black's Peak to a prominent peak west of Grandview Peak, and can be quite time-consuming as the wind can't make up its mind which way to make cornices. Plus, both sides of the ridge can be very steep. The said prominent peak marks the top of a run called Big Drop 12. Yes, this is the 12th run in a series, the first of which is not far beyond Black's Peak, and all of which drop-off the north or northeast side of the ridge into Mueller Park canyon. The big-drops, collectively, land you in either Frederick or Wiley Hollow. You'll notice LZ landing markers left by Powder-Bird guides on the ridge, as well as in possible pick-up zones mid-way down the big-drop runs.

Note that the top of BD12 is a massive wind-drift, and the run itself is perhaps the most aesthetic of them all, yet it is often ominously left untouched by Powder-Bird guides when they've taken everything else. This might be a clear message as to the stability of the run. Or it may be that they throw their clients down nothing that doesn't slide for them after they throw a bomb at it, and BD12 just doesn't slide for them. In any case, consider this a caution.

Get up early for the big-drop runs! If you hear a chopper on the approach, you're probably too late! That said, I've heard that the heli-skiers will let you have a slope if they see you've gotten there first. A friend of mine told me a story where he reached a big-drop run just as a helicopter was about to land on it. The pilot was startled a bit, then waved off in apology.

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#90

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Photos

The awesome skier in this video is John. The crappy skier is me.
Mar 28, 2019 near North S…, UT
A view of the massive wind-drift atop Big-Drop 12. Big-Drop 1 seen in the background.
Mar 28, 2019 near North S…, UT
My tracks down BD12 as I re-ascend to get out.
Mar 28, 2019 near North S…, UT
A view of BD12 on the approach.
Mar 28, 2019 near North S…, UT
The view West from the top of Black's Peak Apron ski run.  Ski through the trees to reach the apron.
Dec 23, 2018 near North S…, UT
First couple turns off the top of Black's Peak Apron ski run.  I was so excited I didn't crash that I had to take a quick picture, then go on to crash just before reaching the bottom of the run.
Dec 23, 2018 near North S…, UT

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