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Patsey Marley
Patsey Marley (summit)
Summit Elevation 10,560'
Summit Location 40.5885° / -111.6089°
Patsey Marley (run)
Drainage Grizzly Gulch
Terrain Open Bowl
Location 40.5896° / -111.6093°
Online Map View on wbskiing.com

Patsey Marley is a run and a summit on the south side of Grizzly Gulch in Little Cottonwood Canyon. It has good skiing, is easy to access, and is popular. This north-facing run averages 30° degrees, but the top is a much steeper 38°. If you ski Patsey from the summit, consider it an advanced, rather than an intermediate, run.

The ridgelines and summit of Patsey Marley usually have cornices. The upper portion of Patsey frequently contains avalanche debris.

When descending, you can hang skier's left to lengthen the run or hang right and come down through the Patsey Trees.

 

As mentioned in this sign, Alta does perform some avalanche control work on Patsey (or Patsy) Marley. I think this is mostly done on the Microwave side.

Getting to Patsey Marley

There are two popular routes to Patsey Marley. The first is to follow the route to Twin Lakes Pass from the Grizzly Gulch trailhead and then, from the pass, follow the ridge toward the summit (this is the north ridge of Patsey). When the skin track nears the summit, it departs from the ridge, crosses the Patsey Marley run, and joins the up-track on the west ridge.

When taking this route, be very wary of the cornice that can extend into the Twin Lakes area. The guy in this photo probably doesn't know he is spacewalking. And speaking of cornices, don't forget that they can break further back than the ground underneath them.

The second route again starts as if you are going to Twin Lakes Pass from the Grizzly Gulch trailhead, but when the snowcat road flattens and Grizzly Gulch widens, ascend the ridge on your right. This is the "west ridge" of Patsey which separates Grizzly Gulch from Alta's Albion Basin. (There is a wooden power pole on the left side of the snowcat road when you should turn right and ascend the ridge. The pole is numbered "333002," but I hope that name-tag is buried when you are there.)

The "west ridge" route stays on the ridge and doesn't require any route-finding, although it is steep in a few, brief sections. If you're mindful, you can ascend the west ridge route with minimal avalanche exposure. This approach is more direct (and a little faster) than the Twin Lakes Pass approach.

Both of these routes take about one and a half hours to ascend the 1,800 vertical feet.

About the Name

Patsy or Patsey? Marly or Marley? Only a cartographer could care. Although frequently spelled Patsy Marley, the Alta ski area has a ski run named Pats ey Marley and the Alta Town Council has held numerous meetings about the proposed Pats ey Marley subdivision. So it shall be written.

The Wasatch Powderbird Guides (who named many backcountry locations way-back-when) calls this slope North Facing Grizzly, many Alta skiers call this Grizzly Bowl, and most non-Alta backcountry skiers call it Patsey Marley. And the slope that most backcountry skiers call Microwave, many if not most Alta skiers call Patsey Marley. Go figure. The Wasatch Backcountry Ski Map uses the names that are more common with backcountry skiers. And remember, there's no right-or-wrong to these names.

Wasatch Backcountry Skiing Map