Monday, March 9, 2009

Twenty-Five Short

Today we did a long tour in Teton National Park. The route we took was called Twenty-Five Short. The summit is at the elevation of 9,975 feet ( 25 feet short of 10,000 feet). The crew was myself, Jake, Phil, and Jacki.

The start to our day was a little bit of a mess. We were slow getting on the road, had to stop at the forest center on the way out of town to check out maps, and then had to drive back into town to grab Jacki's park pass.

[ Fillin' up ]

[ Jake the driver ]

[ Extreme Juice ]

Once we reached the trail head, Phil realized he had forgotten his snowboard boots in his car when we were loading gear into Jake's subaru. It was already after 11, so he decided he would just try to snowboard in his work boots. Somehow it worked out.

[ Are those timbs? ]

We left the cars at noon. The sun was shining. The start of our journey was a long, flat trail leading up to the base of the mountain. It was probably a good half hour skin before we started climbing.

[ Phil ]

[ Jake ]

[ Jacki ]

We slowly made our way up the mountain- first through heavy woods and then emerging into large open powder fields. As we ascended higher up the mountain, the sun vanished into an overcast sky and light snow started to fall. The skin track seemed as if it would never end as it switch-backed up the mountain.

[ Skin track ]

[ We're a long ways from home...the parking lot is a little dot near the center of the photo ]

After we had been climbing for 3 hours, we started to loose momentum. The clouds were getting lower, we were getting colder, and starting to feel tired. We were at the point of turning around and calling it a day. Jake was ahead of us, so we figured we'd continue upward until we caught him.

We took our time heading up. I finally caught Jake at the top. We reached the summit at about 4pm after four hours of climbing and 3000+ feet of vertical (Our starting elevation was right around 6,500 ft). We could only make out a faint outline of the jagged peaks to our North due to the snow and clouds. I bet the view would be amazing on a clear day.

[ Climbing higher ]

[ Jake peeling off skins at the top ]

[ The crew - Phil, Jacki, Me, Jake ]

The ski down was great. For the most part, it was wooded, low-angle skiing while hopping between open fields of powder. The snow was deep for the top two-thirds before it started getting thinner and slightly crusty on top.

We descended for probably half an hour before reaching the base of the mountain. The trek back to the parking lot seemed long. We were all exhausted. We arrived back at the parking lot a little before 6pm. It was a long day, but very rewarding.

On our way home we stopped for dinner in town at the Merry Piglets, a mexican restaurant downtown. Definitely couldn't have ended an epic day better.

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