Most people I've skiied or climbed with in the past years have somehow encountered my obsession with skiing the grand. I've worked hard to coerce partners, and even when I managed to convince someone I failed to make a descent for a number of reasons. Usually we've underestimated a big day on a complex mountain with unpredictable conditions. In spring, stability goes up and the travel gets easier. This May I decided to go it alone.
|The view to Nez Perce, with the weather allready developing at 7:30am.|
|The start of the ice.|
|The upper east face, with cloud moving in|
I had climbed at too hard a pace earlier, and either due to that or the rolling fog, I was feeling dizzy. In climbing there is no cheating, only lying. Full Disclosure: I didn't do a true ski descent(nor has anyone, as far as I know), because I did some rappels. But I decreased the purity of style further by down climbing the last part of the lower Ford to get to the first rap. The snow wasn't soft or responsive, and I didn't feel psyched about making full consequence turns on crust. (the Ford is a hanging couloir, ie. death is assured if you fall and can't arrest).
|The end of the snow rib on the upper face. The ford couloir drops off to the right. North face of the Middle Teton in background.|
|The lower Ford.|
|I stashed the 60m of 5.5mm cord at the bottom of the Ford-couloir.|
I brought: a harness, rap-device, cord, three nuts, one ice screw, a coathanger-abalkov threader, two tools, crampons.
|On the last raps, the snow started coming down briefly.|
I drove back to my parents house in Lander, where I slept hard. I drove back to Colorado Springs Monday morning, missing my Partial Differential Equations class.
|Back on the Teepee Glacier with the Kitty-cat skis.|
|The grand from the South Teton, 2012. We were stormed out of the stettner. The day before, talking to people on their way down, we heard stories of powder on the upper east face.|
I hope this isn't the last time I ski the grand. I still hear legends of mid winter rime formations on the summit, and even murmurs of rare powder conditions on the upper east face. In the future, I would like ski it with friends. It has nothing to do with the sketch--I felt safe throughout my day.
Instead it's because I want to share a day like this with others.
|Self-buttshot, North ridge of the Middle Teton, on a simul-solo with Erik. With featured but solid rock, the Tetons welcome steep scrambling.|