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Heaven and Hell in the Tetons

This little adventure was my October session of Turns All Year, (the unapproved pursuit of skiing every month of the year). I refer to this as “unapproved” in reference to Ann’s attitude towards this latest installment of my ongoing insanity.

I was getting nervous about this trip actually coming to fruition, due to the fact that partners were not materializing. It is one thing to go do one of these things in August when the Tetons are literally crawling with other climbers, but in October that is not the case. Plus the conditions are harsher in October. Fortunately, Jackson, Chris and Jay decided that this looked like as good of a way to spend their weekend as they could think of. (Quick road trip from Bozeman (MSU).

Most of the day was spent in Heaven – as far as I’m concerned, any day in the Tetons is like being in Heaven. The climb was fun, the scenery was beautiful and the skiing was fantastic. We had some cool steeps, variable conditions that did actually include some powder from earlier in the month and the young guys got to charge a challenging crux on the glacier.
So where did we encounter “hell” in the Tetons? Well, let’s just say I have yet to figure out an easy way to get down from the bottom of the snow field in the Dike Couloir to Delta Lake. The distance as the crow flies is 2/3 of a mile, but on this trip it took us 2.5 hours. The whole trip was 14 miles and took 14 hours. The first time I did this in August, I crossed the canyon to my left and descended through scattered boulders and steep scree. This time, based on advice from a lone climber that we encountered, we stayed right and descended the boulder field directly. This was 500 vertical feet of down climbing thru school bus sized rocks, small cliffs and scree. Normally I would consider this “fun”, but with a full backpack laden with skis and boots it felt more like a descent into Hell. I will say this; our rock climbing/descending skills must be improving – trial by fire I guess… (Oh, no pics/vids of this section because we were too focused on just getting down).

My GPS went wacky on me on this trip, so no GPS data. I know from the last trip that it was a climb to right at 12,000 feet, and 14 miles car-to-car. 5,000 plus vertical and lots of fun.
The video above is the shows most of the glacier climb and skiing, plus the skiing in the Dike Couloir. There is a wreck that was caused by a binding pre-release. Not a good place to have that happen, but I figured out the issue and it is being fixed at the shop as I write this.

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