The Grand presented itself beautifully earlier this week: clear skies, zero wind, and soft, stable snow throughout the morning hours. Forgoing a night’s sleep in favor of a true alpine start seemed a small price to pay for such great conditions, so Drew and I pulled out of my driveway in East Jackson sometime around midnight to take a stab at the thing. The snowpack down low is getting spotty at best, and the initial slopes of Garnet Canyon make for some pretty heinous skinning when thoroughly refrozen.
One other group with their sights on the Grand left the trailhead at the same time as us, and we leapfrogged past each other on the approach until finally reuniting at the Teepee Col. One of the other climbers was starting to feel pretty rough from the altitude (having spent the week prior at sea level), so we absorbed Sam into our team as his partner skied back down to the valley.
As always, matching the proper equipment to the day’s objective and conditions was an important consideration, and on this mission I was especially thankful to have my Fitwell Backcountry Snowboard Boots, Karakoram Splitboard Crampons, Black Diamond Carbon Whippet, CAMP Alpax Special Ice Axe, and 60 Meter Beal Ice Twins.
I’ll let the pictures tell the story on this one, as I feel they convey the amount of beta I’m willing to provide to the general public for this route. Enjoy the shots!
For more pictures from this day and a great many other adventures, check out Drew’s blog, Drew’s Plan.
Drew skinning up the Teepee Glacier during the first moments of the day (photo: Adam Zok)
Sam leading the way up the lower Stettner (photo: Drew Smith)
First taste of the ice (photo: Drew Smith)
Drew booting mid-Stettner (photo: Adam Zok)
Approaching the upper Stettner (photo: Drew Smith)
Chimney/chockstone time. Props to Drew for soloing up and putting Sam and I on top rope. (photo: Drew Smith)
Up and over the chockstone (photo: Drew Smith)
Top of the Stettner (photo: Adam Zok)
Almost (photo: Drew Smith)
Top of the Tetons (photo: Adam Zok)
Still a great looking snowpack up high (photo: Adam Zok)
Sam dropping in off the summit (photo: Drew Smith)
Sam eyeing the top of the Ford (photo: Drew Smith)
Riding down from the summit (photo: Drew Smith)
Cruising over to the top of the Ford (photo: Drew Smith)
Drew making the first turns in the Ford (photo: Adam Zok)
Sam enjoying some great snow in the middle of the Ford (photo: Drew Smith)
Clipped in and enjoying the high life (photo: Drew Smith)
Chevy (photo: Drew Smith)
Sam dropping back into the Stettner (photo: Drew Smith)
Returning to our gear cache next to the Teepee (photo: Adam Zok)
Sam continuing to find good turns on the upper Teepee Glacier (photo: Drew Smith)