Sunday, May 31, 2009
Ellingwood Couloir Middle Teton
I really wanted to get another big day of skiing before the summer kicked into full swing. I found two partners my photographer friend Johnathan (he took the pics) and Chris Kroeger a awesome ski mountaineer. We left the trailhead at 4 in the morning skis on our back and hiking shoes on our feet. I felt like I was going back packing not skiing due to the heavy pack, but I figured it was great training for climbing this summer. We hiked in our shoes for about 2 hours until we reached the mouth of Garnet Canyon we got a little lost because there was so much snow, it was hard to tell where the trail was. I had tried to put my skins on to early and the warm temperatures made it very difficult for my skins to stay on my skis, so I had to boot pack all the way to the bottom of the Ellingwood. It only took us about another hour to reach the bottom of the couloir. Looking up at it, it did not look great there was a huge runnel down the center of it from the warm temps. Skiers right looked skiable though, so we decided to give it a try. We put on our crampons and started up the right side of the couloir it definitely was a lot steeper than it looked. The couloir was probably about 1000 feet long and a consistent pitch of 55 degrees, most the way up it was soft ice which was perfect for crampons and a ice axe. It was definitely a hard climb because of the elevation and the continual pitch. I followed Kroeger up the entire way and we finally made it to the top in about an hour and thirty minutes. I was so excited to ski down, it was definitely the steepest and most consistent descent I have ever done. I went first and just took my time because there was a lot of slough which made it very challenging to ski. It was nice and soft and easy to carve turns, so fun. I made it to the bottom safe and sound and totally was stoked the climb up and the ski down were such a rush! I can't to ski more in the Tetons.