One of my good friends and ski partners Ashton Jenson wanted to ski Squaw Peak. He’s a runner in the summer and it’s a fairly common run for him and so he wanted to ski it just to say he’s done it. We weren’t expecting great skiing, but rather to check off a peak that few people have skied. We made a Strava segment and only 2 other people have showed up so far as people who have skied it.
It’s 3.8 miles up from the Rock Canyon parking lot with around 2800 ft. I only had around 3 hours today between classes and so we figured it’d be reasonable to hit it real quick. It was beautiful in Rock Canyon, and the coverage is the best I’ve ever seen it. With how deep it is, I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t dry out until Mid May. (Normally it’s the end of March/ beginning of May). We also got hit with a decent storm Sunday and Sunday night so there was a lot of fresh snow. It would’ve been a good day for Grr Couloir as well.
After the left turn around 1.5 miles up we saw a couple of hikers. One said, “That’s the right way to do it!” It reminded me of just how awesome skis are! They’re an incredible way to get around in the winter and they allow us to see things that you otherwise couldn’t. And they’re SUPER fun!
We made it to the top in about 1 hour and 20 minutes. We enjoyed the bluebird views for a few minutes before transitioning and beginning the spicy ski down. Being at the top of Squaw Peak was a good chance to look at the North facing wall of Rock Canyon to see if any of it could be skied. I’ve tried a few different spots and haven’t been able to get up more than 500 feet. It looks like it could be possible to ski down from the top of Y Mountain through steep pine trees all the way to the bottom. It would be intense skiing and could be questionable, but it’s definitely doable. Approaching up the Y trail would definitely be easiest, but then you wouldn’t be able to scout the line. You’d have to ski it blind.
The descent is a little intense because it’s all single track with just a little wiggle room on the sides to make turns. The knee deep walls on either side of the single track didn’t help either. Thankfully there was a lot of fresh snow that we could use on the sides to slow us down. It ended up being much better than expected and was actually really fun! Fun enough that I’d do it again. It felt like mountain biking. Ashton crashed three times due to catching branches with his skis, and trying to stop but then having to bail. Thankfully I made it down clean.
Then we had a fun descent down to the parking lot to finish it out. It was FREEZING. When we finally passed the gate where it opens up and you can feel the sun I realized how cold I was. My face and legs were numb. All of the cold air settles into the canyon, and it’s all shaded. It didn’t help that the high was 22 today.
Overall, skiing Squaw Peak is pretty awesome. It’s different, in a fun way.