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Center Headwall

One of the steepest lines anywhere and a classic North American ski descent.

Ski Touring Extreme

307 m
0 m
206 m
0-1 hrs
Low Point
1.4 km
High Point
1.6 km
Center Headwall Map

These extremely steep gullies nestled between the Icefall and Chute is collectively known as Center Headwall. This is also referred to as “Center Gullies 1-2” on occasion. The gullies of Center Headwall are not particularly narrow or technical, but they are sketchy in the sense that you have no idea what you are skiing above until you are half way down. Going over the headwall requires fine tuned steep skiing skills and a whole lot of guts, and those who lack both can often be seen tumbling down to the bottom of the bowl. If you are here in early April, Center Headwall is more like a giant bowl with one rock in the middle, later in April and May the gullies become more and more defined until they are too rocky to ski. To approach the Center Headwall, ascend via The Chute or The Lip and traverse over. You can climb from the bottom, but chances are a few people will be skiing down on top of you. Begin slowly skiing over the headwall, this will feel similar to skiing off the end of a marble as it progressively gets steeper. You may see big glide cracks later in the spring, these are a serious hazard and should be avoided entirely if present. The pitch will steepen to 50+ degrees and the gullies will come into view. You can go either left or right, but both are virtually the same thing. Take it slow, if you fall you are most definitely going to the bottom. The steepest part is about 12 turns long and then you hit an open bowl. Ski it out to the bottom and take a rest, you deserve it. Center Headwall is some of the steepest terrain outside Alaska and should be treated with respect. These gullies are much steeper than any inbounds run you’ll find in the east or west, do not ski if you are not confident in your skills.



Extreme skiing terrain above 45 degrees. These routes are reserved for experienced experts.

Medium Exposure (E2)

2 out of 4

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


2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

between February and May


  • Bowl
  • Face
  • Alpine
  • Cliffs
  • Single Descent
  • Ski Mountaineering

Equipment required

  • Ice axe
  • Crampons

Guidebooks in this area