Skiing the Sliver Couloir On Nez Perce in Grand Teton National Park
Location: Nez Perce, Grand Teton National Park
Trailhead: Bradley/Taggart Parking Area
Distance: 8 miles
Time: 5 to 7 hours
Top Elevation: 11,900 ft / 3,627 m
Vertical: 5110 ft
USGS Maps: Grand Teton, Moose
It’s always nice to be back in the Tetons. Aaron Diamond, Matt Schonwald, and I were treated with warm weather and bluebird skies for our ski descent of the Sliver Couloir on Nez Perce in Grand Teton National Park.
The Sliver Couloir is visible from the Bradley/Taggart parking area as it bisects the rocky face of Nez Perce above and behind Shadow Peak. It’s an aesthetic line that’s a Teton classic and sees a fair bit of traffic.
Aaron, Matt, and I left the Bradley/Taggart parking are around 8 am. We cruised across the flats and across the moraine toward Shadow Peak. A slippery skin track weaved it’s way up the east face of Shadow Peak through the trees and clearings.
We summited Shadow Peak, which sits at 10,725 ft / 3,269 m in just under 3 hours. From here we could see our objective – the Sliver Couloir on Nez Perce.
We had a short downclimb to a col and then transitioned to ski a short, firm north aspect down into the Shadow Peak cirque aka the Nez Perce basin. Once in the cirque, we transitioned back to skins and worked up toward the Sliver Couloir.
At this point we ran into a Teton traffic jam as there was another group in the couloir already. This group was on a mission to ski the Nez Perce Trifecta – Sliver Couloir, East Hourglass, and West Hourglass. When it was safe Aaron, Matt, and I started the bootpack.
The bootpack was already set and the snow was soft so the traveling was quick. We reached the top of the Sliver Couloir at about 11,900 feet in 4.5 hours. There wasn’t a ton of room at the top, but it was comfortable.
The views were amazing peering down the couloir, looking down the rappel into the East Hourglass, and across at the Middle Teton. So much to ski in the park.
Finally it was time to ski the Sliver Couloir. The couloir runs consistently 40 to 45 degrees for about 1100 vertical feet before it dumps out into the Shadow Peak Cirque. The top few scraped off turns seemed a bit steeper though.
We leapfrogged down the Sliver couloir making fun, consistent, predictable turns in soft, sun affected snow. It was a blast.
There are many options to ski after you exit the Sliver Couloir – including a short ascent to ski the Four Hour Couloir, but we opted to followed the basin toward Garnet Canyon. The snow was variable on the way down, but we found decently soft snow on North aspects.
We picked our way down the north face toward Bradley Lake hitting a few secret stashes along the route. At the lake we transitioned back to skins to gain the moraine and then went back to the car scaring a few snowshoers along the way.
At the end of the day, we had covered 5110 vertical feet in approximately 8 miles in just under 7 hours. Skiing the Sliver Couloir is certainly a classic line for a very good reason. Highly recommend adding this one to your hit list.
Our route on Hillmap.
Here are some additional photos from skiing the Sliver Couloir on Nez Perce in Grand Teton National Park:
The Sliver Couloir was skied on March 8, 2015.