Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Teton Classic

Andrews Pics found here on his stream;
https://www.flickr.com/photos/aewike/




Jake, Andrew and myself hiked up high into the depths of the central Teton Range on Friday to attempt the Black Ice Couloir, which separates the Grand Teton from the Enclosure. Avoiding the storms to our south, we arrived at the Moraine camp, set up shop and cooked dinner.

Out of camp at 3pm we made quick work of the Valhalla Traverse in the dark, arriving almost to the turn of the SW ridge by first light.  The traverse was still holding snow in certain north facing aspects, but soft enough to plunge step our away across.  We made a quick rest stop to put on our crampons and eat before turning the corner into the west side of the mountain.  

Traversing on the rocky ledges and the snow slopes were pretty straight forward to get past the Enclosure Couloir which was all terrain I have been on before, but was a slight guess in my head after.  I continued to lead the last of the snow traversing up and left to get to the base of the rock, which I believed to be the opening 5.6 slab to gain the route proper.

We pulled the gear out of our packs and tied into the ropes for the first of 7 belayed pitched.  The rock was completely dry (not expecting that!) and looked like it had a lot of good edges to keep my crampons on. I lead out a full 60 meters to the set a belay off a cam and a fixed pin with a fun bit of climbing up and over small roof at about the 40m mark. 



Jake and Andrew came up and we set off up the couloir in another 6 pitches. There was a lot of snow still lingering around from the long winter with small patches of ice below. The ice crux was high up the Couloir, about 60 meters below the top.  It consisted of a stubby about 1/2 the way in for gear, but good ice and quality climbing up and over the small chockstone.

Andrew took the last pitch to the top in sugar snow....that sucked...and we started back down to the valley bottom for pizza and a long ride home to get back to Madison by Sunday night.








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