Kessler Peak Triple Feature

I’m in a dark place at the moment. “Rotationally, not psychologically”. Residency has ups and downs and the schedule factors into that fluctuation significantly. This month I’m on trauma surgery– it has its perks, like taking care of really sick folks in bad moments, but from a skiing perspective, working 6a-6p 27 of the 31 days in March is murder.

The Wasatch Range, current March conditions, ripe and ready.

Thankfully, my day off lined up with conditions and with the ever-stoked Noah, who wanted to go big at 7:30 am even though he’d worked the midnight to 7 am ER shift that day. Who am I to say no?

What, me worry?
Uptrack in upper Argenta, with the Argenta couloir dividing the trees on the left.

We set out with a plan to ski as many steep lines off of Kessler peak as possible given the conditions and Noah’s post-call status. We headed up Argenta, a popular moderate ski, to take advantage of the established skinner, and we were atop the peak in a bit over an hour. West aspects were out on account of sun crusts, but the East couloir had just softened and we thought we could get in and out before it got too soft.

Noah leaning into the East couloir on Kessler
Midline. East Couloir of Kessler.
Scrambling back out of the East Couloir of Kessler before the sun wins out against the cornices.

The snow was fine, if getting a bit heavy in the intense spring morning sun. We booted back out looking leerily at the cornices above and opted to harvest the protected snow in the Argenta Couloir before the sun got in the way. The northerlies held protected goods and the skiing was mighty fine.

Noah starts in on the gentle Argenta Couloir.
Mid- Argenta couloir, mighty fine conditions.
Apron powder on the Argenta Couloir.

From the bottom of the Argenta Couloir, I broke a skinner for a finally-tired-looking Noah back to the summit ridge. With the NW facing Argenta couloir in such fine condition we knew that the North facing God’s Lawnmower would make for an excellent exit.

If you only knew what would happen if Noah tripped and fell to his right.
Looking back at the summit of Kessler and a trio of skiers from the tiptop of God’s Lawnmower.

I’ve been looking at this line for a long time. The name tells you everything you need to know. God’s Lawnmower.

There’s no mature timber in the runout, let’s put it that way. Rarely skied from the top, this year it was filled in. Filled-ish. My friend Eric, as I would discover later, had put in the sole track from the summit, and we followed suit. Thankfully, I had brought a RAD line as insurance for the day, because the 60-degree top pitch had had it’s middle scraped clean to rock slab by his bravery. I was left to invent a rappel anchor from a dead tree and a harness from my rap cord. It worked. Noah follow, laughing.

The first ten feet and the last thousand of God’s Lawnmower were a known fact.
Noah giggling his way down a 60 degree rock slab.

From there it was full on Wasatch; 60-degree settled powder in widely-spaced timber, clouds of snow in your face, laughing. What was intimidating from the road was, in these conditions, dreamy.

Noah, engaging the steepness on the headwall of God’s Lawnmower
The top of God’s Lawnmower was steep, deep, and fun to reap.
A fine perspective on the the angle of the pitch, the quality of the snow, and the only photo of me in the lot.
There were plenty of turns left to be had down God’s Lawnmower after the steep top bits.

It’s been more than a week since we skied this and another storm is rolling in. I’ve got another day coming up, and I’m hopeful. Until then, brave skier friends.

Category: Adventures, Travel, & WritingSkiing



  1. For the record, Eric’s camera man scraped that rock clean so he could be brave and “ski” it already scraped 😉

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