Mt. Wister – East Ridge: April 30, 2014

This spring in the Tetons was a good one.  However, a consistent slow trickle of precipitation made most days unsuitable for venturing into the high country, as clear skies were somewhat of a rarity.  This trip report comes a few days after an unseasonably cold weather system coated the Tetons with wonderfully dry, wintery pow…something I hadn’t expected to experience again on this season’s snowpack.  While the snow was settled and well bonded, it was looking like it’d be a warm day, and we opted to start skinning towards Avalanche Canyon shortly before dawn to avoid sloppy skiing and deteriorating stability.  Today our sights were set on the somewhat obscure and infrequently visited Mt. Wister, which is usually unskiable from the true summit.  With an unusually deep spring snowpack, we found coverage through the upper rocky portion to be adequate for a continuous ski descent, although snow cover through this short section was still somewhat marginal.  There are two sides from which Wister’s East Ridge can be reached, and on this trip we elected to skin up the Northeast Snowfield for our approach.

 

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Nearing Lake Taminah

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Looking up at the Northeast Snowfield and East Ridge from Lake Taminah

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Skinning up the moraine , above which the winds had erased any previous tracks

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Pat and Kevin moving from the moraine to the snowfield proper

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Pat and Kevin booting to gain the ridge after skinning up the main snowfield

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Pat and his Phantom bindings.  A little gusty on the ridge.

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Pat traversing the ridge, with Buck in the background

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Pat and I getting ready to drop in from the top

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Great perspective on many of the popular ski lines off the South Teton

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Looking out over both forks of Avalanche Canyon

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Ro-sham-bo champion Kevin Bradford making the first turns in the gully next to the ridge

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Hardboot Pat dropping in to the first section of good coverage

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Milking the smooth, dry pow on the upper snowfield

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Kevin cruising down the Northeast Snowfield

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I think he likes it

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Looking back at our tracks

 

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