Skiing Gobbler Knob’s Cabin Run from Butler’s Fork
· Base Elevation: 7,150
· Summit Elevation: 10,246
· Elevation Gain: 3,096
· Round Trip Distance: 8.30 miles
· Total Time: 5:40
· Date: Jan 21, 2023
When you drive on highway 80 heading east from the SLC airport and you look up at the Wasatch mountains, you will notice a big open pow field and I have concluded that this zone is off the western side of Gobbler Knob. I have summited Gobbler’s in the summer and I have admired its western ski offering from Mt. Aire. In fact, just the day before skiing Gobbler’s, I was at the top of Mt. Aire and took some pics of Gobbler’s and set my goal on this peak.
Most articles that I read about skiing the western face of Gobbler’s suggested starting at the Butler Fork trailhead up 8 miles Big Cottonwood Canyon so that is what we did. However, when we got to the summit of Gobbler’s, most of the people skiing that area were coming up from Mill Creek’s Porter Fork trailhead. Although Porter Fork starts at a lower elevation of about 6,000 compared to 7,200 at Butler, I believe the Porter route is quicker and you can ski right back down to your car if you are skiing the western face of Gobbler’s. No matter which way you choose, it is going to take 3+ hours to reach the summit of Gobbler’s.
We had three people in our group and when we started gearing up, one guy noticed that he didn’t have his poles which is an important item to ski touring so he decided to go buy some poles and drive around to the Porter Fork TH. This unfortunate mishap actually worked out well for me and my other partner as we were going to ski Cabin Run and then skin back up and then ski the eastern side of Gobbler’s into Butler Basin.
From Butler’s Fork, follow the skin track that takes you along the Butler Fork Trail.
The first few hundred yards is quite tricky as the skin track is steep and off camber. After about .7 miles, you will come to a junction and going right takes you into East Butler Fork towards Soldier Peak but you want to go left into West Butler Fork towards West Butler Saddle. The march up the saddle has numerous switch backs and on your left is Circle All Peak which you will notice has plenty of ski tracks off the north face. This is actually a good little ski run if you are looking for a one hour tour.
Once you reach the West Butler Saddle, you will get your first glimpse of the majestic Mount Raymond’s east face and you will be able to see the shoulder of Gobbler’s.
You are now at 8,600 feet and the skin track will head north briefly then east. The section from West Butler Saddle to Baker Pass is a long, low angle traverse below the southern side of Gobbler’s.
Baker Pass sits at 9,400 and separates Mount Raymond and Gobblers. At this junction, most of the traffic heads to Mount Raymond so we started breaking trail up the western Gobbler’s ridge.
When we got up around 10,000, we started to see several groups of skiers/boarders coming up from Porter Fork. Most of these skiers decided to ski Main Gobblers run but we had our sights set on Cabin Run so we marched up the ridge towards the summit of Gobbler’s.
There are several false summits and then you reach the southern peak which sits only 22 feet below the main summit of Gobbler’s.
In hindsight, this spot would have been a good place to drop in to get a nice long run down Main Gobblers. Once we reached the northern summit, we transitioned and headed a little north to gain access to the wide open Cabin Run face. Cabin Run is a low angle, vast powder field that reminds me of cat skiing runs in Canada.
The skiing was awesome and we debated doing another lap but we were already 4 hours into the tour and we had to meet our other friend in Porter Fork. The one downside to this area is the runout through Pole Canyon which has some bushwacking and a tight gully exit. Once you ski through Pole Canyon, it intersects with Porter Fork and run out opens up more as Porter Fork takes you through a neighborhood of cabins and there a lot of people sledding with kids and hiking.