Skiing Murdock Mountain in the Uintas
Updated: Nov 25, 2019
The winter of 2019 showed no sign off letting up so after another modest snowfall of about 4”, we decided to make hay while the “snow fell”. I had never gone snowmobiling/skiing with today’s crew but anyone that is willing to sled to ski in mid-May must be solid. About two weeks before this excursion, I was walking my dogs and started chatting with a friend of a friend who shared that her son loved to snowmobile and backcountry ski. She connected me with her son, Cameron, and we had been chatting about hitting the backcountry the next time we got some snow.
Cameron was joined by his buddy and his girlfriend. Even though Mirror Lake Highway was still closed for the season, they opened the gate at Soapstone and allow motorized vehicles to drive up to the snowline, which on this day was just beyond Cobblerest Campground. There was a snow wall created by a snowplow but beyond it was blacktop so I got out my shovel and cleared a small pathway and then rammed through it with my 4Runner.
We rode the snowmobiles along Mirror Lake Highway and stopped at the Upper Provo Falls for a pic and to chill. We then proceeded up the highway to the summit and started to play around on the east side of the summit just below Murdock Mountain. Cameron and I decided to make a few turns so we drove our sleds up to the top of Murdock while Justin and his girlfriend stayed down below. The north facing chutes of Murdock are short but they have a nice consistent pitch that is lined with trees. Cameron went first and skied the chute like a pro. I took the line just to his right through the trees and the ankle high powder provided a fluffy and fun run. With two of our sleds left on top, three of us jumped on Justin’s sled and bumped back up the mountain. The top of Murdock is a wide open flat playground so took our sleds for a full throttle spin around the summit. We took two more runs after this and then decided to snowmobile around Bald Mountain and Reids Peak.
We circumnavigated these mountains counterclockwise as we scoped out potential ski lines for our next trip. The east side of Bald Mountain offers some steep chutes and one of them enticed Cameron and Justin to charge up with their sleds. I told myself I was going to be conservative on the snowmobile today but after watching them conquer this apron - I couldn’t refuse. My first attempt up the chute was successful as I played it safe which embolden me to get more aggressive on the next crack. A little higher up the hill was a snow overhang that my buddies cleared so I decided to go for it (bad idea). I had the sled pinned but when I hit the overhang, it pushed the sled up in the air (envision a wheelie) and gravity took over. The sled wanted to go down but I was off balance and had to jump off thus sending the sled tumbling head over heel about 5 times. Oh shit, I thought. I ran after my sled expecting the worst but to my surprise and elation- only the removal windshield popped off which was an easy fix. Needless to say, I dialed it back after that scare. As we worked away around the west and then the south side of Reids, we encountered a very attractive south facing chute that screamed “ski me”. It was getting late in the day so we didn’t have time today to bootpack up this shoulder and ski it but I set a goal to ski this before the season ended. See my June 7th post.
It was a great day of riding, skiing and exploring but the best part of the day was the fact that Justin proposed to his girlfriend after I had left.