A long solo push from Tahoe put me in Jackson last Monday night. I had made a mid-winter attempt, but the jeep failed me 100 miles east of truckee, so needless to say I was stoked to have made it this time! We woke up with a fun objective planned for the day. Teton National Park is quite an amazing place with endless exploration possibilities, and this adventure was certainty a great introduction!
We headed out in the morning with Adam, Derek, Tom, and myself. The craggy ridge lines and layered mountains were especially encapsulating for me. Accessing the uphill terrain in the park takes a couple miles of mellow skinning until you really start climbing, a perfect warm up for a big day.
We made our way up to “25 short”, a high point that lies 25 feet short of 10,00 feet. This is when the views started to get real.
Our planned route involved dropping a beautiful 1000 foot ramp and then traversing into a couloir called “Chuter Buck”.
The ramp is half shadowed in this picture, and doesn’t do a great job of showing what we skied, but our line is in there, layered behind the cliffs and shadows.
A guided group of four made it to the top about ten minutes before us, and they were unfortunately headed for the same line. Consequently we took our time at the top, re-energized and geared up for our descent.
This picture shows Adam dropping into the top part of the ramp. This pictured section definitely looks a little beat up from 5 people side-slipping the entrance. If only they had known at this point that it would open up into a wide and soft powder field with plenty of harvesting for all!
Adam and I rode “Chute the Moon” in usual elegant fashion and headed left to the top of “Chuter Buck” to see how the first party was doing. After some minor waiting it was our turn to schuss the chute and navigate the two mid-coolie cliffs!
The beta we received indicated there would be some fixed protection at the rappel points, but we brought a set a nuts and some slings just in case they were missing. Adam dropped in first, and after giving him a couple minutes, I followed suit. Despite five sets of tracks there was still plenty of powder left for me. I found Adam secured to the rock right above the first cliff.
I carefully joined him and we prepared to rap.
We both decided it would be better to leave our boards on during the rappel, or at least faster…We simply did not want to go through the process of removing our boards from our feet and strapping them to our backs, it’d be much easier to hop off rappel and ride to the next cliff. Consequently we did some scraping on rocks, but do not worry, Jones makes burly boards and we escaped with only a few scratches! We both rappelled and met up at the next cliff. This second cliff was not as big as the first, and in prime conditions would have warranted a send! Maybe next time I’ll air it out…
Not many pictures of me, but I swear I was there! Playing camera man for this adventure. I collected the rope and prepared to ride the rest of the line. The initial turns were tight, but it soon opened up a bitso I could collect my deserved powder prize! Such a fun route!
We reveled in the moment and excitement that such a line brings and prepared to ski back to the car. The biggest thing a line like this brings is the desire for more! More tight couloirs, more powder, more vert, and more technicality! Luckily those things are endless in the Tetons!
Our descent consisted of a few hundred more feet of powder, with a nice transitional section of corn, to slogging and side-hilling through slushy slop.
Taggart Lake greeted us with some uneasiness about it’s strength. The inch or two of slushy water on top of the blue ice, not to mention the feeling of layer failure steered us to the edge of the lake. Eventually our tired legs took over and we went for the most direct line to the car. It felt solid, it’s always cold here, right?
What a great first day exploring Teton National Park!