Mt Raymond Utah / Backcountry skiing

Mt Raymond Utah is smaller than it’s 11,000 ft neighboring peaks. However it’s steep face, steep chutes, and steep cliffs make Raymond a little Giant. We had to be careful because when you dance with a Giant, one misstep and you could get squished.  After climbing Butler fork we emerged into Mill-A basin, but one of us was missing.  I was second in our touring party of 3 but the third member, Filip, was nowhere in sight.  A couple minutes went by and we began to wonder if we should go look for him.  Then from out of the trees he emerged.  We were relieved, but he was struggling up the mountain and there was something wrong about his equipment.

Mt Raymond Utah backcountry skiing

Mt-Raymond-&-Gobblers-Knob

My friend Filip’s left snowshoe had broken completely off the binding and he was carrying it around his arm.  It was only 2 hours into our day and it looked to be over.   Adversity in the mountains is to be expected and as experienced ski mountaineers, we come prepared.  The fix wasn’t easy but with 2 pair of pliers and about 18 inches of cordage, we reattached the binding back to the snowshoe.  Due to the repair, we lost some time so the objectives had to change.  The original plan to summit Mt Raymond was now out, and our focus turned to our new objective the Raymond cliffs on the south ridge. (lookers left in photo)

Raymond Cliffs

Skier Michael Mckinney sends it off Raymond Cliffs

 

The South ridge of Mt Raymond Utah Backcountry skiing is STEEP!  Slope angles measured 44* to 48* degrees.  Atop the ridge we cut off a large cornice.  Cutting a cornice and dropping it on a slope you’re about to ski is a good way to test avalanche stability.  If the slope can hold for something the size of a Buffalo, it likely can support the weight of a skier.   I had to be the 1st one down to spot the cliff landing and setup for the photo shoot.  The descent was steep and there was a large cliff band beneath adding to the danger. One fall and I would certainly be carried over and off the cliffs.  Dancing with this little Giant could get you squished.

Final Push

Mt Raymond

Three days later we returned to Mt Raymond Utah Backcountry skiing and to complete our summit bid.  This time everything went according to plan. We scouted the North side for skiing possibilities but there is nothing but cliffs and nothing suitable for backcountry skiing.

If you are going up the Big Cottonwood Canyon looking for backcountry skiing, you can’t go wrong stopping at the Butler Fork Trail and heading up to Mt Raymond.  Raymond isn’t the biggest mountain but, with it’s steep face, steep chutes, and steep cliffs Raymond is a little Giant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About Christopher Comstock

Park City photographer. See more about Christopher at his website https://theoutdoorclick.com