Backcountry Skiing La Sal Mountains Mount Tukuhnikivatz is listed as one of the 50 Classic ski Descents of North America.  Mount Tukunikivatz should be on everybody's bucket list.  Skiing in the red rock deserts of Utah may sound like looking for an ice cream cone on Mars. However, for those who read this blog post, Moab might be the next place they think of planning a backcountry ski trip.

Backcountry Skiing La Sal Mountains Mount Tukuhnikivatz

North Ridge Mount Tukuhnikivatz

Backcountry Skiing La Sal Mountains Mount Tukuhnikivatz

Backcountry Skiing La Sal Mountains Mount Tukuhnikivatz


What’s so awesome about Backcountry skiing the La Sal Mountains Backcountry Skiing La Sal Mountains Mount Tukuhnikivatz? First off, they’re BIG. Like second highest mountains in Utah, Big.  With mountains this big the skiing can get as big as your ability, legs, and imagination will take you.  Be careful though, as the terrain is notoriously avalanche prone.

Skiing Mount Tukuhnikivatz (12,482)

There are several options for backcountry skiing Mount Tukuhnikivatz. Pretty much anything East of the North Ridge (skier right) is primo.  The skier's left (west side) of the North Ridge has a large cliff band pretty much running across the whole slope.  This is skiable terrain, if you're a badass.  Most accounts are of going around the cliff band skier's left; however, with a little bit of air it is possible to ski right through the middle of the cliff bands.

Skiing The Backside Tuk

(south southeast) There's a 2,500 ft ski run named Tukulear Reaction. It drops from the summit to La Sal Pass road .5 miles west of the pass.
(south southwest)
3 of the Biggest Ski Lines in Utah!  
(These are each named for the degree it faces on the compass.)  

  • 210 degrees    is 3,200ft descent.  Access from Hell's Canyon or East La Sal Pass Road
  • 260 degrees    is 3,682ft descent  Access from Hell's Canyon or East La Sal Pass Road.  This one is most prominent from Moab.  So ski it like somebody is watching!
  • 300 degrees    The West face.  Access from Hell's Canyon  (SEE TOPO)

Big Couloir Skiing

  •  East between Tuk cirque and Mount Peale the high point (12,145ft) Talking Mountain is the El Pinche couloir which drops back into upper golds basin.
Moab Valley

The Scenery is out of this world. It’s a unique view looking down onto the Red Rock desert canyons from high on top the alpine summits of 12,000ft peaks.

Mount Tuk Cirque - Cleaver Chutes

Backcountry skiing Moab Is out of this world!  The mountains, the River, and the town of Moab make it worth a trip.   But the contrast of landscapes from Alpine to Red Rock desert canyons is the main reason you should go (& the skiing of course).  Out of this world, Mars like, landscapes and out of this world skiing, I'm planning another Moab backcountry ski trip!  There might not be ice cream on Mars, but there is Great backcountry skiing in Moab!



South of Moab on US-91 - take a left Ken's Lake - La Sal Loop Road - take a right onto Geyser Pass road - Go to the end  and park at Geyser Pass Snow Park (9,600ft).


From the parking lot skin the groomed Geyser Pass road for a short .5 mile.  Head right into in to the the woods (this is to shortcut a long switchback and re-connect with the groomed road).  Follow the road until it's end.  Here you'll be staring directly at Exxon's Folly slide path on Tuk-No, with a glimpse of mount Tukuhnikivatz peaking out from behind. Continue to follow the drainage.  You'll cross a creek soon after leaving the groomed road, skin on the right (west) side of the creek.

The North Ridge

North ridge is a good approach option. This approach runs along the top of a pretty impressive cliff band but it's not too exposed. When we were there this route required transitions from skinning to booting.

Mount Tuk Cirque approach

Continue up the basin just past the North Ridge and this is the Tuk Cirque approach.  This the easiest route.  Follow the most gentle route up.  Go around to the left and don't climb any steep terrain until you're near the summit.

Final Approach - Boot Pack

The terrain will steepen as you near the east ridge & Tuk summit.  One transition to boot packing and push on to the summit.

Trip Photography


Expand Your Moab Adventure

Mountain Biking La Sal Mountains / The Whole Enchilada Trail

By Christopher Comstock | September 1, 2018

Mountain Biking La Sal Mountains The Whole Enchilada Trail.  Moab Utah is iconic for mountain biking trails.  There is no more iconic ride in Moab than the Whole Enchilada.  The trails everything from singletrack to slickrock.  The view are OUT OF THIS WORLD!!!  If your riding ability is intermediate ability, you need to make the…

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Mountain Biking La Sal Mountains The Whole Enchilada trail

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*Trip Photography Moab Backcountry skiing*

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Recommended guide books

Backcountry ski & Snowboard routes UTAH  Jared Hargrave

Falcon Guide - Backcountry Skiing Utah  by Tyson Bradley