Redemption on the South Teton

Some things in life just can’t be explained.
Why do some people love the blue ocean water?
Why do some people just wanna be in the city?
Why do others get their kicks out of NASCAR?
And what makes me want to be here today?

It’s a mountain, each time is different.
It’s in my DNA, I just gotta go do it.
I don’t have the answers – I don’t know why,
I just know that it is there and I gotta go ski it.

Preparing to ski the SE Face.

Preparing to ski the SE Face.

It is different each time, and today is redemption time for me and my Dynafit bindings. The last time I was here, 5 turns into the descent my back binding shattered and although Exum guide, Dan Corn was able to get a jerry-rigged binding using one of those super strong orange strappy things, we had to take a safer descent route down Garnet Canyon. But not today! The new Dynafit heel piece is working great and I’m here with Aaron Dahill getting ready to get my “redemption” and ski the SE face of the South Teton.

When we started out this day, we were going back and forth on the Middle vs. the South, but once we turned the corner into Garnet Canyon the Middle gave us the answer. It would be technical and tedious with at least two rappels required on the summit block. In my heart I had been hoping for another shot at the South. So, I was glad to be heading that way. I find these big climbs as tough mentally as they are physically. My mind is always having constant battles on the climb as to why I do this. And I have to hand it to the Exum guides, (Aaron Dahill today), for their ability to encourage, coach and kick my butt when needed to get me to the summit. Once on top, and within a few minutes, the exhaustion has been overcome with a little rest, some energy snacks and a bottle of 5-Hour Energy! I’m sharp, focused and the adrenalin is kicking in. (There, I admitted it, the adrenalin is a part of this. I guess I am a “junkie”).

Although it is May 2nd and this year was not a huge snow year, I am able to ski from the summit, all the way to Taggart Lake for a total skiing vertical of 5,800. Along the way, we experienced some great corn and creamy snow on the SE face, down into the lower SE Couloir. There was the steep ice section in the crux, where I was on a belay for a couple of pitches. Some more corn snow down into Avalanche Canyon and then some bushwhacking around the lake to the outlet bridge. From there it was a short hike back to the Bradley-Taggart Lake parking lot and a shuttle from Aaron’s girlfriend, Erin, back to the Lupine Meadows parking lot.

Yes, you don’t always get second chances in life. But on this day I got a second chance and made the most of it, for a great day on the South Teton.

1 comment

    • Bert on May 6, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    Good trip , good story well told

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