The Teton Trifecta
Jason and Andy Dorais and Tom Goth and I seem to share an insatiable appetite for ski mountaineering in a light full throttle style. We seem to to line up mountains and stack ski lines to march through with non stop enthusiasm and group mega stoke! This adventure found us taking brakes cooking and skiing in the dark. We were still able to complete a good sized enchainment and the down time along the way was a bit chilly, and awesome!
After a mid afternoon start from Salt Lake we drove to the Tagart Lake Trail head. After quickly packing and splitting group climbing gear and a stove we shoved off at about 2:15PM. After shouldering the packs up the South Teton we skied the NW down to the col. The crew of Andy Dorais, Tom Goth and Jason Dorais and I then booted up the South West Couloir of the Middle Teton in the waining low light. From the summit of the Middle Teton we were treated to a stunning sunset. After rapping in from the towering dark summit we clicked in. It was a surreal experience to ski the cold soft snow on the Glacier Route on the East face by starlight. Once we reached the foot of the Grand Teton we took turns manning the stove and napping while we brewed up some food and water and dozing off for a few hours. Well Tom and I manned the stove while Jason and Andy enjoyed their reclined position in our little pseudo biv snow hole. It’s ok, as they pull their share and then some. The Night air ushered us up the Teepee Glacier to the Stettner Couloir up the Ice bulges of the Chevy and on to the Ford where we climbed to our second snow hole to kill some darkness just below the summit rock. So now it’s about 4am and shiver-bivi only lasted an hour or two until Andy jumped up and shouted “I can’t do this any more I’m skiing!” We taped to summit, looked around at the stars since the stunning Grand Teton ariel views were covered in darkness, and skied off into the icy abyss. Sounds moons but it wasn’t bad as we all had skied it a few times prior. I had only skied it once, though it’s the kind of line that becomes forever etched into my mind. It felt so familiar, like an old friend you once feared and now love. While skiing the Ford Couloir in the total dark I closed my eyes to see the views I’ve seen during daylight adventures there. Turns out the feeling of exposure on a steep icy line goes away in the dark. The sun painted these iconic peaks of the Grand Teton National Park while we rappelled the Chevy Couloir. the word ‘grace’ came to mind. How lucky are we, to move through and take in this beauty? Once back on the Teepee Glacier we skated along the glazed ‘never gonna corn up today) surface to the Dike Couloir and out Glacier Gulch and breakfast at the Bunnery in Jackson Hole.
We completed The Teton Trifecta in a long overnight style quite different than our usual light and fast speed touring ways. And it sure was a unique ski mountaineering adventure. Switch up the style and who knows what we’ll experience!
Early april 2014