Matterhorn – West Couloir

“I have been blessed to have been in the right place at the right time.”

– Buzz Aldrin

Sunrise over Twin Lakes

PK setting the approach pace

Last weekend PK and I headed towards the Matterhorn in search of good snow. We had each respectively been in the drainage a number of times but for various reasons had yet to check off the classics on the Matterhorn: Ski Dreams, East Couloir or West Couloir. We set out early with objectives of getting to the base of the peak early enough to check one off.

We made fairly good time up the Horse Creek and the benches and ultimately were the first of the day into the amphitheater below Matterhorn. The East Couloir was wind scoured and rocky with visible wind affect on the upper slope and ski dreams looked fairly mellow. The West Couloir was filled in with snow, looking inviting.

The wallowing in deep snow begins; this shot makes it look better than it was!

As we transitioned to booting at the bottom of the couloir we soon realized our quick pace was about to slow to a halt. Deep pow and some sugar snow below made for horrendous boot packing. We waded through nipple deep snow with very slow progress and a ton of work.

Impossible to overstate how arduous this was

Snow blowing down the couloir frosted our faces as we climbed

After over two hours in the couloir we topped out! We were cold from the wind and the snow emersion so we transitioned and prepared to drop in.

…and then the stars aligned for an amazing descent

📷: PK snapped this shot of me arc’ing onto the apron of the couloir

The snow was amazing. Cold, consistent powder through most of the couloir. It was just so perfect… There were two groups in the basin by the time we dropped in and the valley walls echoed with their cheers as we sped down the terrain that was so, so slow to climb up. Lower in the valley we had spotted a classic skiable hallway on the lower benches and made a point to drop in it as well.

Comin’ in hot!

Sweet skiable hallway on the lower benches

Nailed it.

📷: PK

PK’s shot of my satisfaction! You can see the top of the West Couloir lookers right of our tracks

Moral of the story / day: Buy Ascent plates or Verts. Do it.

PK and I decided we “won” the Matterhorn today. The right place, at the right time!

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