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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    TR: Terminal Cancer Couloir

    Date: May 22, 2022

    Location: Ruby Mountains, NV

    Skiers: Enginerd & UCL

    Photos: Enginerd & UCL

    Synopsis: This is another super belated trip report, but I figured better late than never! In May 2022, the snow coverage in the Eastern Sierra in CA was basically non-existent, as we had a very bad snow season. As a result, Enginerd and I thought through alternatives for a week-long adventure and came up with a road trip from Tahoe to Utah, with the goal to mountain bike in Park City and then Moab.

    Given the drive was across northern Nevada on I-80, we knew we'd drive right past the Ruby Mountains outside of Elko, NV – home of the super aesthetic line of Terminal Cancer Couloir.

    We really couldn't find any beta on whether it had snow – aside from rough Google Earth imagery. But we just loaded up ski gear in the car together with all of our mountain biking gear and hit the road, figuring it was worth a shot.

    When we first hit Elko around the nice alpine start of noon, things did not look promising. The Rubies seemed bone try, but we figured it was a short drive up the canyon to just take a look at the couloir given it was North facing, shaded and basically had zero approach so you could see it from the car.

    Upon pulling over, we were treated to a surprise – there was snow!

    Of course we had no idea what the conditions would be like. It was fortunately not too hot out and pretty windy, so we weren't worried about the late start.

    The river was running pretty high, so we spent a good bit of time trying to find a good place to cross. We finally did though.

    Then about 45 minutes of hiking up the talus and apron, including navigating around some water flows.

    The snow was surprisingly supportable at the base, so we started the boot up.

    Honestly throwing in the ski stuff in the car for what was intended to be a mountain bike road trip caused me to skip some stuff. I had no crampons for one (Enginerd did) and also forgot my climbing helmet. Hence – the bike helmet!

    As we worked up into the shaded parts, the snow got firmer. The bigger issue was there was a waterfall half way up on the wall that – because of the wind – was blowing water all over the snow surface. And it was getting colder and shaded, causing it to start to freeze like glass panes on the snow surface.

    Where Enginerd is at is when the snow starting getting kind of "glassy" on the surface.

    This is also the part I started to get concerned about (1) not having crampons (as I wasn't getting much beyond my boot toes in and (2) the snow getting even firmer cause of the refreeze. I shouted up to Enginerd I was just going to dig out a plateau there to put my skis on and ski the bottom half. Because Enginerd had crampons and a stronger sense of adventure, he was going to keep going up the top half to see if it softened (spoiler: it didn’t!).

    Looking rad in a bike helmet .

    From where I stopped, there was still a nice long line of skiing below.

    Enginerd topped out and said it was super windy and super firm snow with variable surface conditions. He skied from the top and then we exited out the bottom together.

    Here I'm looking up at Enginerd after stopping near the bottom – where there was good corn snow.

    Looking back up.

    Going down the last section.

    After a fun ski, it was time for the hike out and one last river crossing before heading to Park City and Moab for some unreal mountain biking.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Nice work!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Bottom feeding
    What a great time. On my list.
    Well maybe I'm the faggot America
    I'm not a part of a redneck agenda

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Paper St. Soap Co.
    Nice work, I have always wanted to ski it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Rad! Like everyone, it's on the list!
    dirtbag, not a dentist

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    shadow of HS butte
    So cool, great pics

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    N side, Terrace, BC
    First rate!! Prudent decision to stop UCL. Been in similar situations (without a bike helmut though...haha) and no point getting all banged up for a couple more turns. Thanks for putting something else on my list. Fucker.
    “I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.”
    ― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

    This is OUR mountain - come join us!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    idaho panhandle!
    That’s really cool! Can’t believe there was snow in there during that timeframe.

    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Quote Originally Posted by 2FUNKY View Post
    Can’t believe there was snow in there during that timeframe.
    Also crazy that PC was rideable at the same time.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2005

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Maine Coast
    Back when trip reports were in fashion yours were some of the best. Strong work, thanks for sharing

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Was UT, AK, now MT
    Quote Originally Posted by cat in january View Post
    Back when trip reports were in fashion yours were some of the best. Strong work, thanks for sharing
    Wish they’d come back in fashion.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    base of the Bush
    Great afternoon read, thanks for remembering to post.

    This really shows what the meaning of Live to Ski is all about.

    "If the road You followed brought you to this,of what use was the road"?

    "I have no idea what I am talking about but would be happy to share my biased opinions as fact on the matter. "

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