Medusa's Face

Salt Lake City

Wasatch Backcountry

Medusa's Face is the most gawked over and coveted, but rarely skied lines in the Wasatch Mountains.

Ski Touring Extreme

Distance
461 m
Ascent
0 m
Descent
348 m
Duration
0-1 hrs
Low Point
2.2 km
High Point
2.5 km
Gradient
49˚
VIEW ON MAP
Medusa's Face Map

Description

To access Medusa's Face, approach from Wasatch Blvd., turn E onto Oakview Dr. (4275 South). This road is immediately N of a pedestrian overpass that crosses Wasatch Blvd. Follow Oakview Dr. uphill and make a right turn on Jupiter Dr. (3735 East). Follow Jupiter Drive S and and turn left on Adonis Drive (4505 South). Drive a short distance to Thousand Oaks Drive (4500 South) and turn right. Continue up Thousand Oaks Drive, going past a sharp left turn, to a cul-de-sac above two water tanks, and park. From the parking, start up the trail towards the approach gully following some switchbacks. At the bottom edge of the gully, the trail will eventually disappear and become a 2nd class approach through the lower part of the gully which will have some third class sections. Continue up the gully as the face looms above you. When you get to the base, head to the left and you'll boot up the Zeus Chute. As you get to the top, head along the ridge to the west until you're standing on top of the face.

If Medusa's Face were half as good as it looked it would be an incredible once in a lifetime run, but unfortunately it's never a very good run even when it looks great. If you've been in the Salt Lake Valley in winter then you've probably found yourself staring at the impressive 2,000 foot Medusa's Face. This rock slab face gets enough snow to cover it, but with it's N aspect the sun never has a chance to consolidate the snow and it remains a rotten coating that just isn't deep enough to hide all the rocks it's laying on. Also, the face is so steep that it constantly sheds most of the good snow that was there. The face is at a lower elevation so it can heat up and loses lots more snow during warming periods. This all comes together to make getting skiable conditions on this face a tall order. If you find yourself on top though and insist on skiing down, you'll find better conditions up top as the benches collect and hold snow much better than the steeper slabs down below. Be prepared to hit rock at least every other turn and then head to the left at the bottom and cut into the chute that parallels the face so you don't get stuck out on the rock face. The lower chute can be quite fun and a nice finish to a nerve wracking scratch fest down the face. Follow back down your tracks through the thick brush till you get to your car.

Difficulty

Extreme

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

High Exposure (E3)

3 out of 4

In case of a fall, death is highly likely.

Remoteness

4 out of 4

In the high mountains or remote conditions, all individuals must be completely autonomous in every situation.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May

Features

  • Trees
  • Cliffs
  • Walk Required

Equipment required

  • Rope
  • Skins
  • Crampons