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Mini JH Gathering - Teton Pass 6-14-08

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Y'know how sometimes things turn out great even though you suspect the odds are stacked against you?

Today was that day.

When my wife and I arrived at the top of Teton Pass at 6:45 this morning, my car thermometer was reading 44 degrees. That is outrageously warm for that elevation and that time of the day if you're planning on a fairly long ski tour. Especially if you've gone out on a limb and suggested a trip the others are going to join you in undertaking.

Kate Howe is an EpicSkier from Bozeman and she's spending the weekend in Jackson. She's skied the last couple of days with a mutual friend, Jonathan Selkowitz, and I had recommended that we meet at the top of the Pass and go for a tour to the north of the top of Glory Peak. As they (and additional friend Mike) pulled into the parking area, I was more than a little nervous about the fact that ours were the ONLY cars in the parking lot. Did everybody else in Jackson Hole know something that I didn't?

Once we were there, though, we figured we might as well load up and start the hike up Glory. We could always bail out if things looked REALLY crappy once we got to the top, right?

So, we embarked upon the endless Stairmaster that is the boot up Glory Peak. Kate, Jonathan, and Mike were considerate enough to stop and wait several times while senior citizens Ruthie and I gasped our way to the top.

We finally arrived at the top around 8:00am in gorgeous sunny weather and then clicked into our skis for the summit-hopping traverse toward our primary destination, the Great White Hump.

Here's Ruthie and Kate skiing along the top of Little Tuckerman's Bowl as we work our way north from the top of Glory:



Did I mention that Jonathan Selkowitz is one of the best ski photographers in the world? He is the primary photographer for the U S Ski Team and he spends most of his year traveling all over the world with the team. That's why it's so fun to hook up with him on the rare occasions when he's home here in JH. He's also an ex-racer and ex-racing coach. He's an incredible skier and it was a real joy to ski with him. Here's his website if you're interested in some outstanding images of some of the greatest skiers in the world: http://www.selkophoto.com/selkophoto.html

So, when a hack skier and a hack photographer like me has a chance to ski with somebody like Jonathan, OF COURSE my strategy is to hand my camera to the pro and have him take my picture. So, this photo was taken by Jonathan Selkowitz (but with my inferior camera):



Here's a shot of Ruthie, Jonathan, and Kate (on the right) as we did a little boot traverse north from the top of Little Tuckerman's Bowl:



And here's one more by Jonathan. This is our group perched on a little cornice just to the south of our primary destination, the Great White Hump. From left to right is Ruthie, Kate, Mike, and me. That's the Grand Teton a little to the right of my ski tips:



Now here's a shot of the Great White Hump. We'll boot to the top of it from the little saddle in the foreground. I love skiing the Hump in spring conditions. It's pretty steep right at the top but there's no real consequences to a mistake. Nevertheless, it takes a little bit of commitment to drop off that top cornice into the main bowl. Here's what it looks like from afar:



Here's Ruthie standing at the top of the drop off the Great White Hump. The photo doesn't do justice to the feeling of standing there getting ready for the first step:



And here's Kate in full commit mode, dropping into the void:



And here's what she looks like enjoying herself in the main part of the bowl:



And here's Jonathan showing that he's had just a LITTLE bit of race training:



And here:



And here's Epic representative Kate Howe showing how little fun she's having:



Maybe we were lucky with the weather. By all rights, the temperatures were WAY too warm for the skiing to be as good as it was. The SMART thing to do would have been to pack the cars back up and drive down the Pass without ever having done the hike to the top.

As Jonathan pointed out before we started hiking, though, legendary Jackson Hole Mountain Resort alpine guide Lori Davis always says "You don't know until you go." A day that Jonathan, Mike and I *knew* was probably going to result in crappy skiing turned out to be great fun.

I ascribe much of that outcome to Kate's amazingly upbeat attitude. If you haven't visited her blog, I highly recommend that you do. She's fun to be around and she really brightens up an outing. When they reached the top of the Hump, she and my wife were singing "We Are The Champions". And we all felt that way.

It was just a great day. Thanks, Kate, Jonathan, and Mike.
post #2 of 17

Hmm Corn

Very nice
post #3 of 17
Wow! As a flat lander this blows my mind. Gotta get me some of that some day. Thanks for the report and thanks for the blog link. Cool stuff
post #4 of 17
Glory is looking good.

Too good to be the only cars on the pass.

Whatta day!
post #5 of 17
Bob, what a WONDERFUL post! Thanks for taking so many great photos!!! I really enjoyed skiing with you guys, as well.
post #6 of 17
great Tr guys, I am 2 months away from turns year round this year which will be the first year. i only have to catch up to bob who has like 10 year head start on me.

I shouldnt even have to leave utah either to do it.
post #7 of 17
Great report... this ski season ain't done yet.
post #8 of 17
Thanks for the great report Bob. Say hi to Ruthie and tell her she's looking good out there, as always!
post #9 of 17
That looks like some good skiing still, it doesn't even look sticky & plenty of coverage. How many vert. could you get from there?

In my experience it seems like this time of year & later, the snow actually remains supportable even with non freezing nights. My speculation is that alot of the water has perculated through the pack & everything has consolidated a bunch, keeping it from getting rotten.

What makes it less desirable to ski later in the summer are usually giant suncups & dirt on the surface. It looks like you guys had a little whitewash on the old snow to make it even that much better!

Thanks for the pics,
JF
post #10 of 17
Bob, don't kid yourself. You've got mad photographic skills as well. Most excellent report.
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Emmett View Post
Bob, don't kid yourself. You've got mad photographic skills as well. Most excellent report.
While I have no expertise I'll ditto Bill's comments. When I first met Bob a number of years ago he was a very good photographer. Over those years his skill has continued to improve in all areas. Of particular note, his ability to get great action shots has really shot up.
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
great Tr guys, I am 2 months away from turns year round this year which will be the first year. i only have to catch up to bob who has like 10 year head start on me.

I shouldnt even have to leave utah either to do it.
If you ever want to know, I can tell you all the little reliable snowfields for August and September skiing in the Wasatch. I think I've been to all of them. The first five years of my summer turns were mostly there. With all the snow you have, do you think Wolverine might be skiable in early August?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Si View Post
Thanks for the great report Bob. Say hi to Ruthie and tell her she's looking good out there, as always!
I'll tell her but it'll have to wait. She's on a raft down in the Grand Canyon right now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4ster View Post
That looks like some good skiing still, it doesn't even look sticky & plenty of coverage. How many vert. could you get from there?

In my experience it seems like this time of year & later, the snow actually remains supportable even with non freezing nights. My speculation is that alot of the water has perculated through the pack & everything has consolidated a bunch, keeping it from getting rotten.

What makes it less desirable to ski later in the summer are usually giant suncups & dirt on the surface. It looks like you guys had a little whitewash on the old snow to make it even that much better!

Thanks for the pics,
JF
After hiking to the top of Glory, we did a bit of hiking/skiing/hiking/skiing during the course of our tour. With that, we probably only did about 3,000 feet total vertical of skiing.

As to the snow surface, you're right that we would "normally" have that kind of surface. This year has been interesting, however. From almost the end of April to nearly the middle of June, we had cold, cloudy weather. The temps never really got either high or low. So far, then, the snowpack hasn't really done a good, hard, freeze that sets things up really solid. It's still pretty easy to punch through. Now that we've finally had some serious sunshine and warm weather, what we need is a good two or three-day cold snap to really seize things up lower in the snowpack. Once that happens, we'll be golden.

We *did* have a little whitewash. A good 6-10" of snow just two days before our trip. That snow was actually what we were concerned about because it hadn't fully consolidated yet in a lot of places. Here's Kate skiing some of that much on another aspect. It wasn't quite so much fun:



Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Emmett View Post
Bob, don't kid yourself. You've got mad photographic skills as well. Most excellent report.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Si View Post
While I have no expertise I'll ditto Bill's comments. When I first met Bob a number of years ago he was a very good photographer. Over those years his skill has continued to improve in all areas. Of particular note, his ability to get great action shots has really shot up.
Aw, shucks. That's nice of you guys to say. I appreciate it.

The key, however, is digital photography. With digital, I can just fire away and then delete the 99+% of the images that I blow through the camera. On this particular tour, I took 247 photos. Even a blind monkey ought to be able to get one or two okay shots out of 250.

Thanks, everybody.

If the weather cooperates (it might be too warm), I've got a fun one planned for this Saturday.
post #13 of 17
august maybe its hard for me to find summer touring partners but this is a photo TH snapped today.

post #14 of 17
Hey, Bob, my mom (who is taking classes to be a travel writer) read your TR and said it was a mighty fine example of travel writing! She asked me to pass on to you that it was terrific, engaging and exciting. And thanks for photos of her daughter. (hee hee). Lets go AGAIN! Drop me a line whenever, you guys are so close, i think I can get away on the weekend! xo Kate
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KateHowe View Post
Hey, Bob, my mom (who is taking classes to be a travel writer) read your TR and said it was a mighty fine example of travel writing! She asked me to pass on to you that it was terrific, engaging and exciting. And thanks for photos of her daughter. (hee hee). Lets go AGAIN! Drop me a line whenever, you guys are so close, i think I can get away on the weekend! xo Kate
Thanks, Kate, and please thank your mom for me. You probably don't know this, but I wrote some articles that were published in Powder quite a few years ago (I think you would have been about five years old). If you become a Supporter of EpicSki, you can read them (hint, hint). Strangely enough, the topic of the articles is skiing in Jackson Hole.

I'm still seriously aiming at a day of skiing up on Beartooth Pass sometime around the middle of July. When I get back from Alaska, I'll start watching the weather and try to pick a window of nice weather. You and anybody else who wants to participate will be invited.

Si of Epic and I had a fun outing there last August, although the trip back from there turned into quite an odyssey. We found this cool, dying glacier that's only about a 20-minute hike from the highway. It's a fun and scenic place to ski.
post #16 of 17
Hey, Bob! Okay, you can quit buggin' me, I'm a supporter now. :-) I'm doing a Find Your Bliss Day on my blog, and I want to let folks at Epic know about it... where would an appropriate place to post that be? (Sorry to ask that here, I can't find your regular email!)

Thanks,
Kate
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KateHowe View Post
Hey, Bob! Okay, you can quit buggin' me, I'm a supporter now. :-) I'm doing a Find Your Bliss Day on my blog, and I want to let folks at Epic know about it... where would an appropriate place to post that be? (Sorry to ask that here, I can't find your regular email!)

Thanks,
Kate
Hi, Kate.

No problem with asking here. If you click on my web link below, it'll be pretty easy to find my email, too.

Thanks for becoming a supporter. This is a great site but it can't continue to operate without the help of people like you.

Once you are a Supporter, you're allowed to include a web link in your signature line. That's one way to "announce" your site.

As a second idea, I would suggest you send a private message to ssh to ask about whether what you have in mind would be acceptable as the subject of a post in the general skiing forum. He and the admin folks are the ones who decide that sort of thing.

I hope you're having a great summer.

Thanks,
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