Lone Peak NE Couloir is an intimidating couloir that's difficult to access. Lone Peak is located at the southern end of the Salt Lake Valley. It stands over the city of Sandy like a sentinel guarding the valley. Its summit looks like a band of granite cliffs with no potential ski line. On the other side, however, you can see a couple of strips of snow that kinda look skiable. Lone Peak NE Couloir is one of the lines listed in the book "The Chuting Gallery" By Andrew McLean. The approach is 7,750 feet of climbing to reach the couloir. It's a long day. However, there are great backcountry camping spots that can be used to shorten your ski day. The couloir is wide enough to make turns.  However; It's very steep, exposed, and terminates as a cliff.

Backcountry skiing Lone Peak NE Couloir

Backcountry skiing Lone Peak NE Couloir

Lone Peak

Living in the Salt Lake Valley, especially the southern end, you get a front-row view of this behemoth.  The mountain stands so prominently; it is so impressive that it is probably the cause of many gawking skier's traffic accidents.  It's like a bug zapper, you just can't help but look.  I've always wanted to ski this peak but its difficulty to access and the extremeness of the terrain made it hard to find people qualified and willing to go.

Backcountry skiing Lone Peak NE Couloir

Fifteen years of looking up and dreaming. I hear the ding of my phone messenger alert; It's a text from my buddy Michael McKinney.  He wants to know if I'd be interested in skiing Lone Peak NE couloir.  The plan is to split the 7,750ft approach in half by camping halfway up the mountain.  I'm so stoked, I can't even believe that it might be happening.

The next day, they picked me up and we headed from Park City to Lone Peak.  Our intention was to use the Orson Scott Trailhead and camp near the old cabin.  We missed the freeway exit and ended up coming down the backside of the Point of the mountain.  Suddenly the plans changed and we decided to use the Alpine approach that the Chuting Gallery book describes.  To drive to the trail we used the directions Andrew McLean outlines in the book.  The directions still hold true.

Question Mark Wall

Second Hamongog

On the way up we looked for a suitable camping location, which turned out to be at the Second Hamongog.  There's a creek at the second hamongog, the is no need to haul extra water up the mountain.

The second Hamongog is on the shaded west aspect of the mountain, the sun doesn't warm anything up until much later in the morning.


We braved the brisk morning cold on our journey toward the Lone Peak NE Couloir.  The Lake Hardy Trail is nearby, once on the snow, it's easy to skin all the way to the summit ridge.  Just below the summit, there's a shark fin ridge, with a hundred-foot drop on either side.  If you don't cross the shark fin, you wouldn't reach the summit.  We straddled the ridge and scooted across it.


Standing on the summit of Lone Peak was surreal.  The city of Sandy looked a lot farther away from up here than Lone Peak looks from the valley floor.  Racing the daytime warming of the snowpack we spent only a few minutes on the summit.

Backcountry skiing Lone Peak NE Couloir

It was time to ski the couloir and we looked down with questions in our heads.  Does this thing go?  Are we in the right couloir?  From the top you can't see down the face very far.  "Alright, I'm going to ski cut over to there, then ski across to those rocks," Mike points out.  He leads the whole way down the couloir. At the bottom the couloir we were looking over a giant cliff band. It was certain death if you slipped.  Our guidebook said there is supposed to be a snow traverse that skirts just above the cliffs.  Thank goodness there was a traverse and Mike punched hand and foot holds across it.  After a short down, climb we were back on skis.

The 50 degree pitch of the Lone Peak NE couloir makes it look like your staring down a vertical snowfield dotted with rock diving boards jutting out from it.




Go to the town of Alpine. Accurate directions can be found in "the Chuting Gallery".  We used them in 2018 and were accurate.


Schoolhouse Springs Trailhead.  Start hiking or skinning directly up the dirt road.  Follow the road for quite a ways.  If you aren't sure which way keep heading right.  The dirt road will end at what's called the First Hamongog.  Follow the trail up and left to the "second Hamongog".  This is where we camped.  continue up the same trial that brought you to the second Hamongog.  The trail called, "Lake Hardy Trail" will turn left towards the big peaks.  Follow this trail up the drainage between Bighorn Peak and Lone Peak.  Exit the trail when it begins to turn to the right toward Lake Hardy drainage. Do not follow the trail into the Lake Hardy drainage.


Approach to Lone Peak

Head slightly left and skin directly for the peak.  The skinning will get super exposed on your left with incredible views of the climbing zone known as Question Mark Wall.


Approach exposure Lone Peak NE Couloir

Final Approach - Boot Pack

The terrain will steepen as you near the summit ridge.  One transition to boot packing is all you need to reach the Couloir.  If you want to reach the summit things get a little more interesting.  Just before the summit, the ridge turns into a shark's fin.  We straddled that ridge between our legs and rode it like a bronco to the other side.  Then it was a short rock climb in ski boots to the summit.

The Sneak Traverse is perfectly situated just above a cliff band.  The cliffs looked to be at least 80-200 feet high. The traverse is the only connection to safety for an otherwise unskiable line.

Recommended Safety Equipment If you are skiing the NE couloir it is recommended you have basic backcountry avalanche and safety gear. Due to the risk of falling off a cliff, an ice axe is also recommended for self-arrest if you so fall.


Trip Photography

As always I take my photography seriously to see full Gallery  click here

3 Lone Peak NE Couloir stats uncovered  

  • 50 degrees    is the sustained pitch of the 1,400 vertical couloir.  
  • 7,750    vertical feet is what you have to climb to access it.
  • Perfect 10.0    The feeling you get after skiing the peak that stood above your suburban home for years.

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