The Heart of Darkness - Guest Blog from our friend Dustin Butcher

The Heart of Darkness

Late season can be a great time to get in some chutes that you didn't have the chance to ski when the snow was flying.  This is what I was thinking when I decided to ski the Heart of Darkness.  I was wrong.  Sort of.

It was late April and I wanted to get in another chute before I started to focus on training for the Ironman.  I called up a couple friends and we decided on the Heart of Darkness.  It looked super cool and none of us had skied it before.

Bootpacking can be fun.  Cardiac Ridge in the background.  Skier: Molly Barker

The walk in Spring is a little different than the walk would be in Winter.  You have to boot a lot more.

We were pretty sure we were in the right place.  Skiers: Molly Barker and Mark Hammond

From the summit of Mt. Superior you can clearly see the top of the couloir.  Once you drop into Mill B South it is not as easy to see where you are going.  So we just hiked up assuming we would find it.  We did.

Yep.  Those are the walls of the chute behind her, and that is why she looks so psyched.  Skier: Molly Barker - shot on the Holga

The Heart of Darkness is a bit different than the other S5's I did this winter as the rappel is at the top.  This means there are no real "no fall zones."  Just do the rap then figure out how to put your skis on in such a tight and steep area.

The line you can see in the background is called the Skyramp.  Mark wanted to do this on the same day, but changed his mind when we felt some movement on the approach.  Skier: Molly Barker

The rap is fairly short and just a matter of getting past the unskiable stuff at the top.  Then we were hoping for something worth skiing inside the chute.  This wasn't really the case.

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This chute is so aesthetic.  Who would not want to ski this?  Skier: Molly Barker

It was pretty much just ice down the chute.  In ideal conditions I could see how this would be super fun to ski, but in the conditions we were in it was difficult to even try to make turns.  But hey, we got up there, learned some things and got down a classic line.

The Heart of Darkness from the bottom looking up.

Now that the objective was accomplished it was just a matter of skiing down Mill B South to our stashed car in Big Cottonwood.  This proved to be more adventurous than we had planned.

At the end of the skiable patches of snow.  Skier: Molly Barker

We skied what we could ski, but ended up hiking out the last of it.  It was a fun day, but I definitely need to come back when the skiing is a bit more favorable.

Dustin Butcher is an outdoor photographer, videographer, graphic designer, and backcountry skier based in Salt Lake City, Utah.  He was raised just minutes from the Cottonwood Canyons and started skiing at age 5.  Even after making his way around to other US ski destinations, he can't help but keep coming back to the Wasatch.  You can find his work at or follow his blog at Deuter is proud to work with Dustin and we are looking forward to hearing about the next adventure.

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