Skiing Lofty Peak in the Uintas
Updated: May 20, 2022
I have skied several peaks in the western Uintas including Reids, Watson, Murdock and Hayden but I had been scouting Lofty Peak for quite a while. Based on the topography maps of that zone, I believed it was feasible to get a snowmobile in between these peaks. Last March, I approached this area from the east from Camp Steiner off Mirror Lake Highway.
We took the sleds through the camp, past Scout Lake and then followed the Lofty Lake Trail up the eastern saddle between Lofty and Scout Peaks. There was one area that was a little sketchy but an experienced snowmobiler shouldn’t have any issues punching it up this passage. The north side of Scout Peak is too flat to ski but the south side of Lofty Peak has a nice pitch and you can get the snowmobiles to the top.
On this day, I didn’t check out the north side of Lofty Peak but I was super curious if it was skiable. So, when my buddies, Evan and Dave, said they wanted to ski Lofty Peak the following year, I was 100% in.
We ventured out on April 2, 2022 from the Soapstone parking lot on our snowmobiles and we had received about 6” a few days before so the ride along Mirror Lake Highway wasn't to bumpy. I prefer taking the snowmobiles to the peak of a ski run if possible, but Evan is much more of a purest and prefers man power over machine power. As such, we took the sleds just past Scout Lake and we then slipped on our skins.
The vertical rise was under 1,000 feet to the summit of Lofty Peak.
When we achieved the summit, we walked out on the north tip which overhangs a big cliff but just about 50 yards to the west is a nice chute. From the summit, you can view the entire chute so we were assured that it didn’t cliff out.
The top of the chute was firm and wind scoured so we elected to send Dave first (Dave likes to be first in everything). Standing at the top of the chute was intimidating as it was fairly step and none of us had skied it before. There were a few small rocks protruding at the top but after a few turns, the conditions improved drastically as the winds had blown in the new snow. About halfway down, the chute opened up allowing for some wide arcing turns.
Once we all got to the bottom of the run, we unanimously agreed that the conditions were much better than expected so we elected to do it again. After the 2nd run, we made our way back up between Lofty and Scout peak with the goal of skiing the east side of Scout Peak. It was now around 1 pm and since it was a warm spring day- the east facing shoots of Scout had been getting cooked for several hours. These shots short with only about 700 feet of vert but they were quite steep at approximately 40 degrees. This time Evan was the guineapig and halfway down his run, he set off some sluff/wet loose slide. It was not that concerning because it was just the new snow that slid, and it was slow rolling but definitely something to be aware of. I was next and knowing that it was going to sluff, I made a ski cut at the top that sent some rollerballs and then I skied at a slight left angle on my way down to avoid getting caught up in the sluff.