Type: Backcountry or Sidecountry
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 and the easiest way is to skin up the Gavilan Trail #60
to the ridge and make the climb to the summit of the unnamed peak 11,849' as Y4
is directly below this peak. Continue a short ways down to where the trees on the ridge become denser and drop into a slight but defined gully—this is the Y4
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.
If you make the effort to access the Y Chutes, this is probably not the most favorable line, but on the right day it can hold some decent snow. This is a more heavily-forested line than Y4
, and is its own defined path running down a gully leading back into the main chute about halfway down the slope. The trees are tighter but there's a lot of short open sections to link up a few turns here and there. At the top, the terrain is more open on the skier's left side of the line, and while it's not as open as the other, more obvious slide paths in this zone, this one can be affected by avalanches from the steep slopes above with high consequences possible if you hit a tree or become stuck where debris piles up.
Shared By: J. Bella