Skiing Stairs Gulch

back country skiing touring Mar 22, 2022

Stairs Gulch

 

A line that I was able to ski this season was Stairs Gulch. This line has been on the wannado list since I moved to Salt Lake in 2018. It took a few seasons for me to be comfortable with the terrain. Stairs Gulch is a huge line! It’s sick. You skin up Broads fork, a beautiful spot to hang out in the mountains. The trail head is right off the road and takes you through a beautiful pine forest on the side of the Broad Fork Twins. Eventually you come to a meadow where the trees fall away. We took a breather in the meadow, ate some candy, drank some water, and enjoyed the view. Looking up at the Twins there are quite a few mega lines. Bonkers, The Diving Board, the summit of the twins, and other side shots that don’t get skied too often. To ski Stairs you have to skin up Bonkers, which is a great line itself. There was another group that started up Bonkers a little behind us, they were on their 3rd lap. 

My buddy Mark and I had been planning on heading up for a week or so. Over the weekend I came down with a mini flu. Tuesday morning I called Mark and told him my fever was gone but I still felt like a pile. I was feeling good enough to get outside and have a good tour. We decided to drive separately so that I wasn’t sharing cuties. Turns out I wasn’t feeling as good as I had thought. Mark was super chill. The plan was to ski Bonkers, then if conditions were right, ski out Stairs Gulch. When I finally got to the top of Bonkers (total of about 4k feet of climbing from the car), I looked at Mark and told him point blank, there is no chance of me doing a second lap. I bonked hard on the way up but was stoked for a good ski down. He understood and decided conditions were good enough to ski out Stairs. We had backcountry radios so that we could keep eyes on each other and communicate easily as we skied in long 700-1000ft shots. The upper 2,500 feet were amazing!  4 inches of untouched fresh snow! Such a fun ski. 

With about 1,500 feet left we were skiing avalanche debris and rocks with just enough dusty snow on it that it was hard to tell the difference. With a fair amount of bush bashing, a couple of core shots, and some general shenanigans we ended up booting out a quarter mile or so to the road. It was a killer day! I headed straight to the Gear Room and had my core shots filled in. After dropping off the skis I went home and slept the rest of the day. 10/10 would do it again.