Saturday, February 5, 2011

A weekend in the park

Taking advantage of stable snowpack and high pressure in the Tetons, Slody, Molly and I hit the road Friday and rolled into Jackson around 9. After being amazed by the very trendy scene at a local watering hole we retired to Danny's pad and set the alarms for Early.

The East face of Teewinot is one of the classic lines in the Tetons, none of us had ever skied it, so it seemed like a good place to start. Several miles of flat approach (which is why it's much more popular in the spring once the park road opens) leads to the bottom of a 5500' fall line shot.
I had figured the track would be in, but this was not the case, we were the first people out to Teewinot since the last storm. This was kind of cool, but meant we were in for a hell of a day breaking the skinner and then the booter up the face...

Danny helpfully pointing out the line from the Apex (the end of the treed hill below the face),

Somewhere after passing the Worshipper and Idol formations, near where we switched to booting. Perhaps the most foreshortened face I have ever been on, inches from below became thousands of feet on the face...
Danny's photo

The booting was difficult, knee to thigh deep penetrations with every step. We rotated the lead often, but even between the four of us it was exhausting. Danny's altimeter watch was the only real measure of progress since the face appeared endless above and below us. The numbers ticked upward at a cruelly slow pace. Eventually the football field wide face condenses to a couloir only a few feet wide.
Danny's photo

This is the narrows, the crux of the descent, and with only a short distance to go before it opened back up into the final snowfield, we found that powder concealed ice and rock slab. Climbing through it would be difficult, and skiing down through it would be impossible. We called it, and clicked into our skis.

The skiing was pretty damn good. Variable wind buff that after jump turning in the initial 45 degree section provided consistent carvable turning the length of the face. It was awesome to see worshipper and idol specked out below us at the start of the descent, only to have the two rock formations towering above a few minutes later.

Slody getting it done.

Once we hit the trees, we had ripping fast powder skiing, a super fun way to finish off a 5,000' descent. By the time we got back to the car, we'd had a 10.5 hour day. We somehow dragged ourselves up the Sliver on Nez Perce the next day, but I'm gonna have to write about that later. I'm psyched to make my first entry on the Skierboyz blog, I hope it is the first of many!

- Gramps

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