The Terminal Cancer Couloir is a bucket list line for many backcountry riders for a good reason. Tucked into the deeply glaciated Lamoille Canyon, the mere sight of Terminal Cancer Couloir beckons one to climb and ride it. The Ruby Mountains are Nevada's wettest mountain range, and good snow can almost always be found above 8,000 feet during the winter months.
The approach is straightforward: Simply ski or drive, depending on the snow pack, up Lamoille Canyon road until you see the couloir on the south side of the road. Find a safe place to cross the creek and skin up through thick aspen trees and continue up slope until the couloir comes into view. Skin to the base of the couloir, at which point you can either boot pack or skin depending on preference and conditions.
The couloir ranges from 25 to 40 degrees. Most of the couloir is pretty narrow, which makes for some exciting turns down. About half way down the line the couloir opens up and allows for more playful turns up on the banks of the walls. The end of the couloir opens up into a gully that leads straight back down to the creek.
Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.