Apollo Couloir

I’m skipping a TR that I should have written first, but this quick mission is fresh on my mind. Our education morning was cancelled this week so that senior residents could go to a conference, but I’ll be damned if I was going to tell the OB service that and work an extra morning on a sunny day.

75f and sunny. Is there really skiing up in them hills?

After coming in to the hospital after the brutal 4:15 am wakeup necessary for the obstetrics service and making 5:30 am wake-up-new-mothers-to-ask-about-their-sleep rounds, I took off at 7:45 for “conference”.

A fine trail in my trail shoes.

The Apollo was on my mind. I’d tried to ski it earlier in the season but ran away from wet avalanches. Yesterday, I saw that Jason and Tom, back from a blistering FKT on Mt Rainier, had linked the West Slabs scramble to the Apollo and the couloir was still in fine Spring condition.

Out of the bushes and into the lower couloir.

Sneaking through a rich man’s neighborhood makes this a fun approach, as does the stream bushwhack. It was better on dry ground and in Aliens than it was previously in punchy snow and F1s, and after a quick hike I hit snow and put on spikes to punch it up the couloir.

Looking up from the couloir’s dogleg.
From the top. Great conditions and the summery Wasatch foothills beyond.

The snow was in good condition, with a clean stripe through the melt debris cleared out by the Dorais/Goth/Harder crew. The only other tracks around were a very melted old bootpack and mountain goat tracks that were quite fresh, headed, as I was, straight up the couloir.

Psyched on good timing for skiing steep snow on race gear.

I hit the top in a bit under 50 minutes and in perfect time for a fine ski. The snow was soft but not sloppy and made for a quick descent back to the dirt. A scramble jog back down the faint trail/streambed led back to the car in 1:20 round trip. Light gear + the access in the Wasatch = amazing.

And down the polished swerve back into summer.

Now, I’m headed back to work for the afternoon after driving home and riding my mountain bike in to work. Life is good.


Category: Adventures, Travel, & WritingSkiing



  1. Do you have the map for this? I have seen multiple couloirs on Olympus been called Apollo couloir. Thanks!

    1. There is only one apollo, though much confusion about the various couloirs and often the memorials are mislabeled.

      This couloir terminates at a gully which ends at the top of Gillead Lane.

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