Of the Y Chutes, Y2 offers the most vertical and bang for the buck. There's no large cliffs but the entire chute is basically one long terrain trap. Know what you're getting into before going at this line, especially because when you get to the bottom, you'll still be exposed to potential hazards as you have to climb up a steep slope to get out of the creek and back to the access trail. It's recommended not to continue skiing down the creek more than a couple hundred feet because the canyon narrows into a series of cascades and waterfalls a short ways down.
Steep and complex Class 2 avalanche terrain.
The Y Chutes are a series of steep and fast-running avalanche paths dropping nearly 1,500 vertical feet from treeline down into a significant natural terrain trap in the West Fork of Gavilan Creek—there are no "islands of safety" or exit routes once you drop in to any of these chutes. Safely riding these lines requires intimate knowledge of the snowpack, ability to continuously assess and evaluate conditions, and willingness take and balance the always-present risks with the adventurous experience of riding these harrowing lines.
Access to the ridge above these chutes is tricky with no established route. The easiest is to skin up the Gavilan Trail #60
to the ridge and make the climb to the summit of the unnamed peak 11,849', then continue south down the ridge past the tops of Y3
and the Y2 tributary to a small sub-peak—Y2 proper is to the skier's right of this sub-peak. There are multiple entrances to each chute, and each is like a funnel that starts out wide and narrows into drainage gullies with a general easterly aspect—the right sides are cooler and shadier and the left sides have a more southerly exposure and tend to hold less snow.
The aspectual nature of this terrain coupled with the northern New Mexico weather and temps often leads to variable conditions such as sunbaked crusts on the skier's left side and colder, softer snow on the right—sometimes there is a fine line in the middle of the gully. You could be skiing soft powder on one side and turn slightly across the chute onto hardpacked crust that will grab your boards and drop you faster than a hot lady on a cruise ship.
When temps are cold and powder is abundant, these chutes can provide a thrilling descent, but when avalanche conditions exist or if there is any reason to believe it's not entirely safe, they should be avoided without question. When these chutes slide, they run fast and deposit deep debris into the creek at the bottom—there is little chance of escape should you be caught in a slide here.