Catherines Pass is a beautiful area in the winter, spring, summer, and fall seasons. In the summer the parking lots are full, the trail crowded and finding any sorts of solitude proves to be quite difficult. Once late fall and early winter arrives the atmosphere completely changes. The crowds deminish and the backcountry skiers take over the hills. With popular ski runs like Sunset Peak, Mount Tuscarora, Rocky Point and Pioneer Peak so close to each other it is easy to get multiple laps in a day here. The best time of year to ski Catherines Pass is early and late season when Alta's Supreme chairlift is closed, thus limiting the crowds. Be aware that if you are comming up from Alta they do have a very strict NO UPHILL POLICY.
From left to right. Sunset Peak, Rocky Point, Catherines Pass, Mount Tuscarora, Mount Wolverine and Patsy Marley Mount Tuscarora
The 3 Ways To Get There
Alta- Start at the Grizzly Gulch parking lot and hit the giant snow covered road. You can follow the flat roads many switchbacks (3 total) or you can short cut all 3 by heading straight up at the 1st clearing you see. Eventually the road leads into Alta Ski Resort and beware, they have a strict "NO UPHILL" policy when they are open for winter operations. When you reach the well marked entrance gate, skin up and along the rope boundry. Keep skinning along the base of this west facing slope (Patsy Marley) until till you hit the giant left hand bend off in the distance. Head left at the bend and continue till you hit the massive meadow. Keep skinning up through the meadow till you hit the pass.
The Summer Road, just keep going and take the left bend in the distance Troy taking a senic short cut up the Summer Road Troy skinning along side Alta. They have a strict no uphill policy there
Brighton- Starting at the Brighton Ski Resort, this is the most popular route to Catherines Pass. On any given weedend their is usually a well defined skin and/or snowmobile track that leads one right to the pass. In early season this area is know for some huge rocks.
From left to right. Sunset Peak, Rocky Point, Catherines Pass, Mount Tuscarora, Mount Wolverine and Patsy Marley Troy skinning back up to Catherines Pass Troy skinning back to Catherines Pass after skiing Sunset Peak
Starting at American Fork Canyon this is the longest and hardest way to get to Catherines Pass. The trail starts at Tibble Lake located in the North Fork of American Fork Canyon. This trail is flat and goes for mile after mile after mile. For an approach this route is not suggested.
Troy looking into Dry Fork
Ski Route DescriptionsRocky Point-
Not as rocky as the name implies this area is nestled between Sunset Peak and Catherines Pass. My advice, use 1 of the chutes as a warm up lap and then take on the bigger peaks in the area.
An early season, skier tiggered avalanche on Rocky Point. Rocky Point
This mountain is home to one of the steeper couloirs in the Wasatch. Known to some as the Seagul Couloir (aka East Couloir) this line usually has a large cornice guarding the entrance, followed by steep slope that is sure to make use some of your more advanced skiing skills. Skiing this couloir in perfect conditions is sure to make any backcountry skiers season.
Mount Tuscarora Mount Tuscarora's East Couloir Mount Tuscarora Mount Tuscarora's South West Bowl
- A beautiful and known killer in the area, this peak is quite steep on all sides. Getting over there from Rocky Point is also (in one section) steep as well. From the top of Rocky Point the best route up this peak is by traversing the steep and avalanche prone North Face. Skiing right off of the summit down to the lake is the suggested line of choice. Ski this mountian and repeat as neccary.
Troy skiing right off of the summit of Sunset Peak Troy on the summit of Sunset Peak Troy skinning back to Catherines Pass after skiing Sunset Peak
- A canidate for the most gentle run around, right off the pass is perfect for beginners.
Troy skinning back up to Catherines Pass Catherines Pass from Cecret Lake
Avalanche skills, beacon, probe, shovel and a partner. Skis are highly recommended.
An early season, skier tiggered avalanche on Rocky Point.