The Main Chute, as well as the entire northeast face of Mount Baldy, is within the boundaries of the Alta Ski Area. While the ski area is open (typically end of November through early May), traffic within the couloir is regulated by the Alta Ski Patrol and is not accessible to climbers. But pre-ski-season or post-ski-season climbing is open to all. The Main Chute is one of just a few couloirs in the Wasatch that may be stable and solid for climbing by November.
The Main Chute is one of the more popular couloirs in the Wasatch. It fills with snow early, then the snow gets compacted by all the backcountry skiers eager for their first turns of the year. With warmer temperatures, and the dry spells that typically follow early snowstorms, the couloir becomes a firm, solid climb. Although the Main Chute is mainly pursued as a ski line, the couloir is a short, enjoyable snow climb, in a great environment, for those itching to put on the crampons in the early winter season.
Taken from the main Mount Baldy page:
"Take the 6200 South exit (exit #6) off I-215 and follow highway 190 south-east approximately 2 miles to the intersection with Big Cottonwood Canyon road. Continue straight through the stoplight and follow the road another 4 miles to the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon, where an electronic billboard on the right provides current road and/or weather conditions. Continue east up Little Cottonwood Canyon."
Go up Little Cottonwood Canyon approximately 8 miles to the first entrance and parking lot to the Alta Ski Area, called the Wildcat Base. Park in the southeast corner of the parking lot, closest to the ski lifts.
Skiing down the Main Chute
View west from the summit
View south from the summit
The route to the Main Chute is short and simple. Start at the base of the Wildcat ski lift. Follow the groomed ski run along side the Wildcat lift until you get to the base of Mount Baldy. The Main Chute is the major couloir on the right side of the northeast face. The couloir is wide with no major obstacles. The majority of the couloir averages 35 degrees. The upper headwall of the couloir has a 38-40 degree max, depending on the snow formations.
The location and aspect of this route can make it a dangerous avalanche zone depending on snow conditions. Avalanche gear, skill and experience is necessary.
The return home. Mount Baldy and the Main Chute route in the background.
Crampons, axe, helmet.
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