- CJ Wolf
Skiing Hobbs Peak in Neffs Canyon
· Base Elevation: 5,600
· Peak Elevation: 9,770
· Elevation Gain: 5,769
· Round Trip Distance: 8.58 miles
· Total Time: 7:38
· Date: Feb 11, 2023
Neffs Canyon is often overlooked as a quality place to ski but it offers some incredible chutes and steep terrain. However, it requires a good snow season because the trailhead is at 5,600. 2023 had been a banner snow year with Alta reporting 500” by mid-February thus enabling us to put the skins on at the parking lot just above SLC.
The objective of the day was to ski Hobbs Chute which is on the northeast side of Hobbs Peak at 9,410. Hobbs Peak is visible from highway 215 as seen below and from the trailhead parking lot.
The one downside to this zone is that you have to skin along the Neff’s Canyon Trail at the beginning which is a popular hiking and sledding trail that becomes a luge track on the exit. After skinning on the trail for 1.12 miles, you veer right (south) into Thomas Fork. If you are using Gaia or FatMap, there will be two blue trails and the one on your right/west is the preferred out even though we took the one on the left/east. It is pretty easy to get to Hobbs basin as the peak will be visible most of the tour.
It is about 3 miles to the base of Hobbs Chute which sits at approximately 8,700 and this is where the fun starts.
I had seen photos of skin tracks going up the chute which is ambitious but probably doable on a soft powder day. It had been over a week since it snowed the day that we skied it so due to the firmer snow, we elected to boot up the steep chute. Two people in our party had “verts” and they flew up the 700 feet ascent. I, on the other hand, didn’t have verts and was postholing the entire way up.
Halfway up the hike, I measured the slope angle with my inclinometer and to my surprise, it measured 45 degrees. Yes, it was steep but I was expecting low 40 degrees. Although the summit of Hobbs Peak is only 9,410, it feels like you are standing on top of SLC given the near 4,000 vertical rise in just 3 miles.
Since we hadn’t had any new recent snow, there was a thin wind/sun crust on top but that didn’t deter my nephews from stomping it. The width of the chute is plenty wide and if you are looking for an even more gnarly chute, there is one to the east (lookers left) that is steeper and narrower.
Once we got to the bottom of the chute, we collectively decided to ski the Abyss run to the southeast.
The Abyss sits slightly higher at 9,700 and we thought it would only take us 30-45 minutes to skin up the face. However, the slick and crust layer proved to be a more formidable task then it appeared. Two of the four people in our party were able to skin up it and the other two resorted to bootpacking the final 300’ vert. The Abyss summit also gives you access to the Whipple Couloir on the south side and it offers amazing views of Twin Peaks, Broads Fork and Stairs Gulch across Big Cottonwood.
Much like Hobbs Chute, the Abyss had a thin crust layer on top but since there were no tracks on the run, it still offered an entertaining descent. As we dropped in elevation, the ski conditions actually improved because Thomas Fork is more protected from the wind. And then you finally hit the dreaded luge track at the bottom and if this was a poor or even average snowpack year- this section through the tight trees and shrub oak would be miserable.