Grand Teton Attempt

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Grand Teton on Feb. 15, 2011

We both were silent.  The Teepee pillar loomed above us.  And even bigger than that loomed the Grand Teton.  We were sitting at 12,200 feet.  My skis were stuck into the snow vibrating, chattering together in the wind.  The base of the Stettner was a stone's throw away, but it looked dangerous.  There was an avalanche crown, fairly recent.  Above the crown hung a large wind pillow that we would need go over or through.  If the pillow were to release, it would slide down a slick football-sized snowfield, and then off a cliff.  If it were to go, we would probably go with it.

I was worried.  I asked my partner, Brian, "What do you think?"

 "I'm not feeling it," he said.  After a minute or two, he started to remove his skins from his skis.

 "Does that mean we're going down?"


Middle Teton and the RT


"Doesn't matter if we go up or down.  I'm not going to need these," he said.

"True."  After another minute or two, I started taking my skins off too.

"You missed a night's sleep and drove a long way, but those are shitty reasons."

I agreed.  None of those factors should be a consideration here.  Without saying it, we both understood that it was time to go home.

"Plus," Brian said, "you still need to teach your boy to ski."

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