Backcountry Skiing Mount Timpanogos Cold Fusion & Grunge Couloirs

Backcountry Skiing Mount Timpanogos Cold Fusion & Grunge Couloirs are two of the most awesome ski experiences in the Wasatch.  Timpanogos is so massive and rugged that it truly stands out from any of the other backcountry ski descents around.  I recommend everybody make at least 1 trip here as soon as they can.  (avalanche conditions permitting) 

Backcountry Skiing Mount Timpanogos Cold Fusion & Grunge Couloirs

Mount Timpanogos Cold fusion

Cold Fusion Couloir

A more sane line than the grunge couloir also more visible one too.  On a clear day you can see this line all the way from the Salt Lake Valley.  The approach is the same, only shorter.  The skiing is also better.  The couloir is steep but not so steep that you'll end up at the bottom if you fall.  Avalanches here are a real and present danger, as the couloir is nothing but a HUGE slide path.  When we went the day was sunny and avy danger was low.  We set a beautiful boot pack and had no issues.  A day later the winds picked up and a group followed our steps and set off a wind slab avalanche sweeping one skier several hundred feet down the couloir.  Luckily he wasn't injured but you need to be careful when skiing this one.

The Grunge Couloir

Oh screeching weasels, the Grunge couloir is a steep one!  Part of Backcountry Skiing The Chuting Gallery 92 of the steepest ski descents of the Wasatch.  The entrance has a decent-sized cornice above a 60-degree slope, with a 1,000+ foot cliff below it.  Don't slip on this one.  If it weren't for the high consequences entering the couloir off rope would be doable.  The good news is that if you bring a 30-meter rope there is a bolted anchor to ski rap from. The rest of the line is standard chute skiing except for being the steepest continuous line I've ever skied.  It's about 50 degrees the whole way down.  This line is badass and requires expert-level skiing ability, and now it's one of my favorites.

Backcountry Skiing Mount Timpanogos Cold Fusion & Grunge Couloirs

Backcountry Skiing Mount Timpanogos Cold Fusion & Grunge Couloirs

The Approach

The approach is pretty long. The trip took us 7:58 from the parking lot and back to the car.  We were moving at a moderate pace.  We approached from Mutual Dell Campground but it may be easier to approach from the Bear Canyon trailhead.  Either way you'll need to get on the Bear Canyon trail and follow it up from there. The good news about the approach is that once you're on the trail it's smooth skinning from there. Stay on trail until it ends...  

Grunge Couloir is 11,101ft in elevation.  The North Timpanogos peak is located in American Fork Canyon Utah.

Goat Worthy

Goat Worthy

I've skied many peaks in the Wasatch.  Nothing compares to the Timpanogos!  It's massive cliffs are bigger than any around.  A wrong turn or misstep could end up as a 1,000 foot fall to certain death. The semi-difficult access means people who ski it had to earn it.  Thus there aren't many backcountry skiers kicking steps up it.  All these things make Timpanogos remarkable, however, what truly sets this peak apart from all the others are the mountain goats.  Until I skied the Grunge Couloir I had NEVER seen mountain goats while skiing the backcountry.  The goats ran away quickly as we summited but there presence was a good omen.  I knew that the Grunge couloir was going to be certainly goat worthy, and it was.




Go to the American Fork Canyon from the West (I-15).  Drive up the Canyon until you reach Mutual Dell Campground and park there.  I would recommend driving further up the canyon and looking for a trailhead as this might be an easier approach.


To access both the Cold Fusion and Grunge couloirs make your up the Bear Canyon trail (a well packed fat bike trail) until it ends.  From here you will be standing below a massive wall of the North Timpanogos Peak.  Cross the huge avalanche path.  You'll need to skin over a small knoll.  Here you will be at the  bottom of the Cold Fusion couloir.  Skin up the couloir until it gets too steep.  Strap your boards to your pack and begin the bootpack.  Boot all the way up to the top of the Cold Fusion couloir and ski down.


To get to the Grunge Couloir

Continue booting up Cold Fusion ridge.  When you reach the top, it'll flatten out.  Traverse a little further and you'll be at it.

3 Grunge & Cold Fusion stats uncovered  

  •  5,101 vertical approach.  
  • 62 degrees the max pitch angle.
  • 7:58 hours    The time it takes to ski the couloir.


More Backcountry Skiing Adventures

Backcountry Skiing Cardiff Ridge Chutes

By Christopher Comstock | February 15, 2019

Skiing Cardiff Ridge Chutes Skiing Cardiff Ridge Chutes… With a short approach, little exposure, and short descents, they are some of the funnest lines in the Wasatch. If you’re skiing the Chuting Gallery Cardiff Ridge chutes make a great practice area to prepare yourself for bigger mountaineering projects that lie ahead.   Cardiff Ridge Chutelettes Skiing…

Backcountry Skiing The Chuting Gallery / Mike Mckinney Chuting Project

By Christopher Comstock | January 3, 2019

Backcountry Skiing The Chuting Gallery Mike Mckinney skis all 92 of the steepest ski descents in the Wasatch Mountains   Backcountry Skiing The Chuting Gallery Does he make it? Chuting project is to ski 92 ski descents listed in “The Chuting Gallery” by backcountry ski expert Andrew McLean.  To do this Mike will have to…

Experience the Joy of backcountry skiing Benson & Hedges couloir

By Christopher Comstock | December 18, 2018

Backcountry Skiing Benson & Hedges Couloir is a joy if you can find it.  Finding this gem isn’t easy but if you follow the tips in this post you’ll be at the base of this beauty looking up into one of the coolest ski descents in the Wasatch.   Backcountry skiing Benson & Hedges Couloir…

Backcountry Skiing Box Elder Peak Super Couloir

By Christopher Comstock | December 7, 2018

Backcountry Skiing Box Elder Peak Super Couloir is a long way to the top if you want to Rock and Roll.  It’s called the “Super Couloir” for a reason.  If you ski this couloir you will experience one of the most awesome couloirs in the Wasatch.  But if you want to go backcountry skiing Box…

Backcountry Skiing Uintas Castle Peak Area

By Christopher Comstock | November 24, 2018

Backcountry skiing Uintas Castle Peak Area theoretically would be awesome.  I have however yet to “PROPERLY” ski it.  In the late year of 2017 we aimlessly skied the area. We found some snow and came back with some photos.  I felt like the area wasn’t skied to it’s potential.  Hopefully anyone who goes backcountry skiing in…

Related Articles and links:

Chuting Gallery

Park City People YouTube

Backcountry Skiing