The Heart of Darkness is a fun short ski mountaineering objective that lies in the heart of the Wasatch.

Statistics

Analysing terrain data

Exposure

Exposure

The exposure grade does not take into account objective hazards (stone fall, seracs…) but only the consequences of the skier falling.

Low Exposure (E1): Exposure is limited to that of the slope itself. Getting hurt is still likely if the slope is steep and/or the snow is hard.

Medium Exposure (E2): As well as the slope itself, there are some obstacles (such as rock outcrops) which could aggravate injury.

High Exposure (E3): In case of a fall, death is highly likely.

Extreme Exposure (E4): In case of a fall, the skier faces certain death.

Low Exposure (E1)Exposure is limited to that of the slope itself. Getting hurt is still likely if the slope is steep and/or the snow is hard.

Description

This is a long way to go for a short line that is much more about the ambiance than the skiing.

There are a few ways to get here, either from Big Cottonwood Canyon, or Little Cottonwood Canyon, but it's most often best to go from the latter and drop in from the top, since the upper section can be rocky and difficult to climb.

Park at Our Lady of the Snow church 7.5 miles up Little Cottonwood Canyon.

From here hike under the power lines to Cardiff Pass.

Stay along the ridge that undulates up and down along Black Knob, Little Superior and Mount Superior.

Continue on the ridge to the W and before you reach Monte Cristo, and head N along the ridge until you come to the deep cleft in the rock that delineates the entrance.

Alternatively, from Big Cottonwood Canyon follow the Heart of Darkness Approach route. There are some fixed anchors and often fixed lines that can be used to rappel, or hand line into the chute.

The line is so narrow that you have to descend quite a bit before it widens enough to put your skis on and start the descent.

The walls are tall and the chute is narrow, which makes for fun focused turns.

As it widens the pitch lessens and the apron is a nice finish to this mini classic.