After a couple mishaps trying to get partners, Brian Johnson, Stu Ames, and I met in Jackson and headed to Grand Teton National Park in the we hours of the morning. On the drive we laughed at the fact that while we were on our way to go skiing while people were still stumbling out of the Tavern.
We arrived at the trailhead half asleep only to find another car with a solo skier also hoping to ski the Grand. He introduced himself as Patrick from Kelly and left a couple minutes ahead of us. We caught up with him quickly and by the time we had reached the western shore of Bradley Lake our group had become a group of four.
Half awake, we cruised up Garnet Canyon to the meadows where we were greeted by wet slide debris covering parts of the old skin track. The skinning was made difficult with a nice selection of firm, crusty surfaces. Guess it was time to wake up a bit. Who has the coffee? Halfway up the moraine, three of us gave up on the skin track and started bootpacking. Brian had brought his ski crampons (smart man!) and pushed the skin track to the bottom of the Tepee. We stashed skins, water, and some food at the bottom of the Tepee and headed for the Col.
We hung out in the sun for awhile while we sorted gear for the climb ahead. We all soaked in some vitamin D, while Stu called in sick from work. I guess this skiing the Grand qualifies as “being sick”. Right? The bottom of the Stettner was quite boney. I don’t think it really sees enough sun to form good ice until later in the year. Due to the lack of ice we soloed over a couple of rock steps to the bottom of the Chevy. Luckily, the Chevy was quite the opposite of the Stettner and was full of quality ice. From the bottom of the Chevy, we could see three vertical steps between 5 and 7 feet with mixed ice and snow in between. We decided as a group to belay the first pitch and off we went.
The second half of the Chevy was quite filled in and we climbed unroped to the base of the Ford. We found relatively good and firm climbing conditions in the Ford. We picked up the speed and we were off and running. As we neared the SE ridge, I slowed down and gave up trailbreaking. Time to let the two Montucky boys take it from there to the summit. Our new friend Patrick brought up the rear.
My “sick” friend and I down climbed off the summit block a couple feet so that Brian and Patrick could scratch a “true descent” from the summit. After a quick regroup, Brian took the first real turns off the top.
We skied down to the SE ridge before dropping into the Ford. Conditions were mixed, but generally firm, until we pulled into the first rappel station above the Chevy.
We knocked off 3 rappels and approximately 5,000 feet more of skiing. Conditions varied from breakable crust to pow to mush. Eventually we were back at the car. Grand Teton – check. Here are select images from the Photo Gallery:
You can read more about this Grand Teton Trip on TGR. Be sure to follow Aaron Diamond on TGR – _aaron_ Here’s more info on the famous Ford-Stettner Ski Descent from MountainProject.com and another Grand Teton Trip Report from the great Steve Romeo. Do you want to ski or splitboard with Aaron? Get in touch with Aaron today.