Twin Peaks - Southwest Face

Salt Lake City

Wasatch Backcountry

Twin Peaks is one of the tallest and most iconic peaks in the Wasatch Range with several great steep skiing possibilities from it's summit. One of those is the SW Face that is skiable from the western summit.

Ski Touring Difficult

Distance
1.9 km
Ascent
12 m
Descent
813 m
Duration
0-1 hrs
Low Point
2.6 km
High Point
3.4 km
Gradient
41˚
Twin Peaks - Southwest Face  Map

The SW Face is highly visible from the Salt Lake Valley, but is rarely visited due to it's location and the commitment of either climbing back up and out Broads Fork, or battling your way out of Deaf Smith Canyon, which is one of the Wasatch Mountains' worst canyons to exit due to the thick brush, and a steep down-climb over a cliff (there may be a fixed rope).

Description

Approach via the Broads Fork Trailhead in Big Cottonwood Canyon, head up the main drainage to the saddle to the south of Twin Peaks and then traverse the ridge to the summit.

This line starts from the top of the W summit of Twin Peaks. It is one of the most dramatic views in the Wasatch with the entire valley of millions of people below your feet. The summit and ridge can be rocky, but walk or ski down sticking to the ridge to the NW for a short distance. Keep peering into the face to the skiers left until you find entry onto the slope. The upper slopes are near 40 degrees in pitch. Work your way down trending to the left and looking for a narrow chute. The face has many rocks and cliffs, but there is a clean chute that's just wide enough for good turns and will empty out onto the lower face. This fills in even in lower snow years and is the safe bet for getting through the upper section.

The slope mellows out and opens up after the chute. From here you can turn around and boot back up the face and exit out Broads Fork, or Lisa Falls. Or, if you're feeling like a real adventure you can continue down and out the legendary Deaf Smith Canyon. This exit involves a lot of bushwhacking and the removal of skis to hike out.

The skiing is still great up high and there are some fun chutes and steep roll overs that drop you down into a burnt out forest. From here you'll want to cut to skiers right and continue to descend using open gullies to keep you out of the brush. Depending on the snow year you can continue to ski/thrash your way through the scrub oak. There are some trails here and there and openings in the brush. Connect those together if you can. The canyon narrows tightly and then dead ends, you'll need to climb up a rock on your right and then down-climb a very steep, but short section of rock. When I did it last there was a nice beefy rope with some knots in it that you could use to easily descend. However, this would be very tricky without a rope. After this you'll stay to the right of the drainage, or drop into the gut. Eventually you'll find a trail and walk out into the neighborhood above Wasatch Boulevard.

Good luck!

Difficulty

Difficult

Serious gradient of 30-38 degrees where a real risk of slipping exists.

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.

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

February, March, April, May

Features

  • Trees
  • Cliffs
  • Walk Required

Equipment required

  • Skins
  • Crampons

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area