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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    SW Idaho
    Posts
    636

    Paddle, hike, climb, ski - Mt. Moran 7/1/17

    Being new to mountaineering, I decided to pop my cherry on 12,600' Mt. Moran close to home here in Jackson.

    The idea was hatched in late June. Bags were packed, bindings were adjusted, and crampons and ice axes rented at the last minute.

    Our goal was to canoe, hike, climb, and ski from the top of Mt. Moran, one of the biggest ski descents in the Tetons.

    The plan included a two-day approach, with the first day dedicated to canoeing three miles to the base of the mountain, then bushwhacking to the the snowfield at 7,800'.

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    Damn, this is a big mountain. Sure, I've ski toured the pass, climbed some 10K peaks here in the states, and a volcano or two in Japan.

    However, I was definitely not prepared for how big the journey to Mt. Moran's Skillet Glacier would be.

    Sidenote: this is a horrible bushwhack. There's no trail, and the terrain is extremely steep with deadfall. The last quarter mile is giant boulders.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Approaching the base of the mountain, we hauled in skis, boots, packs, tents, sleeping bags, and food.

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    Along the way, we found this piece of wreckage from a downed DC-3 that hit the mountain in 1950. Wow.

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    Here's a view of our "camp" at the toe of the glacier with Jackson Lake in the background. We tried to go to bed by 8 p.m.

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    Waking up before dawn was necessary. At least the view was nice.

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    Here's the beginning of the glacier climb, pretty easy with crampons and ski poles.

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    The crux of the climb, a 500' foot section of crevasses, including several huge cracks on the right. We picked the left route, which was a 50 degree pitch.

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Name:	Jackson lake from Skillet Glacier.jpg 
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    The best view of the day, somewhere near 11,500' where I ran out of gas and stopped. I had really bad cramps / Charlie horses and started to lose confidence.

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    Here's a pic of my skis after I sheared a pin from the bindings at the worst possible time. This necessitated a switch back to crampons and a climb down.

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    My partner continued another 500' or so beyond, and made turns from near the top. This pic shows how huge the terrain is. I'm cranking my neck and looking almost straight up to take the picture.

    Needless to say, I was pretty frightened climbing down over some big cracks and avoiding several large crevasses. I realized that if I fell, I would slide a very, very long way.

    Near the middle of the glacier, I was able to use a rubber ski strap to fix my bindings, and started to descend carefully on my broken equipment.

    Unfortunately, I immediately took a wrong turn and skied into another steep colouir that terminated in a 150' waterfall.

    That's when I realized that I needed to take off my skis and throw them over a smaller cliff nearby, then climb down the cliff in my ski boots. Not fun.

    In the end, I made it back to our basecamp, drank two gallons of glacier water from a creek, then bushwacked back to the lake, canoed out, and headed to a nearby pizza joint with my buddies.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Between a rock and a soft place. Aberdare and The Brecon Beacons, Wales
    Posts
    2,443
    Fair play

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Wasatch Back: 7000'
    Posts
    7,546
    Bummer about the clamps. Great pics., and effort. Well done!
    "My policies are based not on some economics theory, but on things I and millions like me were brought up with: an honest day's work for an honest day's pay; live within your means; put by a nest egg for a rainy day; pay your bills on time; support the police." M. Thatcher (RIP)
    "...
    Judges smoke it, even the lawyer too...So you've got to legalize it..." Peter Tosh

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    1,071
    Welcome to mountaineering! Sounds about right for your first real rodeo....it only gets better.

    Huge work - and proud line. Now you'll be fired up to go back and get it with a bit more experience. Maybe when a few more years of beers have faded that (notoriousy) hellish approach.

    (Also, Plum sucks.)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Ventura Highway in the Sunshine
    Posts
    19,115
    Shit happens, it's part of the game. Making wise choices is key when things do happen.

    That lump of rock will be there another day, so best just to enjoy a day out in a damn nice area.

    I think it is pretty awesome to choose such a big objective for your first "real" project, well played sir, well played.

    I agree it is a constitutional right for Americans to be assholes...its just too bad that so many take the opportunity...
    iscariot

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Vancouver Island
    Posts
    1,557

    Paddle, hike, climb, ski - Mt. Moran 7/1/17

    Quote Originally Posted by SUPERIOR View Post
    Being new to mountaineering,

    Our goal was to canoe, hike, climb, and ski from the top of Mt. Moran, one of the biggest ski descents in the Tetons.
    Awesome.

    At least you knew to turn around - probably a good idea to do some training and gain some experience.

    Sounds like type 2 fun, a story you'll look back on for years and looks like it was a great trip.
    Last edited by shafty85; 07-17-2017 at 02:14 PM.
    "...if you're not doing a double flip cork something, skiing spines in Haines, or doing double flip cork somethings off spines in Haines, you're pretty much just gaping."

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