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, the 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
Trib to a small sub-peak above Y2
. A short ways farther, above the next gully in line, the ridge almost flattens out, and this is the top of Y1
. Continue past the flat section to the next point and drop in.
If you find yourself at the top of the Y Chutes, and determine conditions are not safe enough to ride the main chutes, continue all the way down the ridge to where it fans out above the steep southern slopes. This line still leads into avalanche terrain in the Y1
paths, but bypasses the most exposed starting zones. Descending through dense trees which includes mixed conifers, scrub oak, and a few scattered aspen stands it's the most preferable line but one that still offers some open turns among the forest before flowing into the bottom of the chutes.
Shared By: J. Bella