Beginner terrain that is good as you develop your backcountry skills and when the avalanche danger is higher. Click for details.
Intermediate terrain that requires more experience in skinning and skiing. Click for details.
Advanced terrain that requires strong skiing and skinning skills. Click for details.
Expert terrain that is challenging and a small mistake can have serious consequences. Click for details.
Extreme terrain that includes insanely difficult chute skiing and beyond. Click for details.
The difficulty of this terrain varies widely. Click for details.
This terrain hasn't been rated. Click for details.
Although this slope was measured, slopes are not homogeneous—this should be considered approximate. Click for details.
This slope angle was not measured. If you get an accurate slope measurement, please send it to me at info@vRigger.com.
The slope angle varies widely. Click for details.
This is the general direction the slope faces. Click for details.
The Utah Avalanche Center says that dangerous avalanches are not expected in this terrain except during extreme or very unusual conditions. Click for details.
The Utah Avalanche Center says that this is generally low-angle terrain although the route may cross under steep avalanche runout zones. Click for details.
The Utah Avalanche Center says that this terrain has significant exposure to numerous commonly-occurring avalanche paths. Click for details.
The Utah Avalanche Center says that this terrain is exposed to significant avalanche hazards often with multiple terrain traps. Click for details.
This terrain can be accessed by resort skiers without skins. Click for details.
This terrain can be accessed by resort skiers without skins. Snowmobiles are allowed. Click for details.
This terrain is commonly skied by helicopter skiers. Click for details.
This terrain is commonly skied by helicopter skiers and by resort skiers without skins. Click for details.
This terrain is commonly skied by helicopter skiers, by resort skiers without skins, and by snowmobilers. Click for details.
This terrain is commonly skied by helicopter skiers. Snowmobiles are allowed. Click for details.
Snowmobiles are allowed in this terrain. Click for details.
|Terrain||Slide Path (brush)|
|Location||40.6310° / -111.6726°|
|Online Map||View on wbskiing.com|
Argenta is a run on the north side of Kessler Peak. It is clearly visible on the right side of the Big Cottonwood Canyon highway, approximately 7 miles up the canyon. Massive avalanches on March 25, 1948 and January 26, 1996 ripped down the north side of Kessler, denuding the slope of trees and burying the highway.
Looking at Argenta from the road, it's easy to mistake the treeless avalanche path for a run at a ski area. And expectedly, Argenta's proximity to the road can result in so many skiers that moguls begin to develop on the lower section. Yet what you see from the road is only one-fourth of a run that drops 2,800 vertical feet (3,400 feet if you ski it from the top of Kessler) over more than a mile.
The lower section commonly has sparse snow coverage and always has protruding willow branches that can catch an unwary ski tip. It's time for another cataclysmic avalanche to flush out the brush. (The photo of lower Argenta, below, was taken in 2008—there is a lot more brush today.)
|Argenta from Argenta Trailhead|
|Skinning Distance||1.25 miles|
|Online Map||View on wbskiing.com|
Park in the turnout on the right side of Big Cottonwood Canyon, 7.1 miles past the digital sign (and about 500 feet past the Argenta slide path). There's an information sign further up the turnout that explains the "Blind Miner of the Wasatch" that is worth a read.
A small road leads down to the creek from the west end of the turnout. Two huge, built-for-eternity, private property signs have been erected here to discourage people from using the private road. Let's hope they're not trying to stop a few environmentally innocuous skiers from accessing our Forest Service land.
Follow the skin track as it switchbacks up the sides of the Argenta slide path. When you reach the rock headwall after climbing 2,800 feet, you can turn around and ski Argenta or bear left or right to ascend either ridge to reach the Argenta summit. It'll probably take two to three hours to reach the headwall.
About the Name
The word "argent" refers to the color of silver ("white-ish") which is now appropriate given Argenta's white ribbon-like appearance.