EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › EpicSki Community › Trip Reports  › Losing my way in Grand Teton NP 7/11
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Losing my way in Grand Teton NP 7/11

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Well when I passed through Jackson a few days ago. I was on a mission to get in some July turns. Bob Peters pointed me the right way, but I managed to take a wrong trail, then I hugged the highline too close and got cliffed out. I did find some snow eventually, and take a few pictures too. Such as the obligatory image of the Grand Teton.



After a SUBSTANTIAL breakfast at Bubba's (Denver omelet, hashbrowns, toast, coffee), and a tremendous amount of fussing with my gear, I headed up the trail, obstensibly to reach Stuart's Draw, but I didn't make it that far, regardless, the snow seemed quite far off, and was.



I stopped periodically to document my passage through a beautiful day in the Tetons.





I enjoyed the green mountainsides with yellow flowers:



Red flowers:



Blue flowers:



Purple flowers:



I went high on the hillside, after taking the wrong trail, and I kinda knew it was the wrong one too, but figured that was part of the adventure, I looked down from on high.



Eventually looking off of a cliff band that made me back track a bit.



Eventually I curled around to the north side of the cliffs where I knew there would be some snow. Bingo, a first patch, but I went further.



A bit further northwest found the patch of snow I'd settle with (I wasted much energy bushwhacking after getting cliffed out)



OK, so it doesn't look like much, but it is July, and it was a fun adventure.



It's this steep:



The narrows of the patch is also thinning from below.



Looking down it:



Looking outward toward the valley:





Across the valley is a long snakey couloir:





A terrible picture of my turns:



Looking back on the snow as I decend:



Looking up the valley from from further down:



Then I beat it on down to my truck and went to Teton Village to stare longingly at the slopes, and tilt a 20 oz Fat Tire, before driving back to Missoula. A pretty full day.
post #2 of 21
Yes! Nice adventure
post #3 of 21
Hi, VA. I wondered if you were going to post your trip report.

Based on this photo:





I think you made it into the right drainage, but I think you started up-mountain a little sooner than you should have. It's a little hard to say for sure, but I think the summit in the middle of this photo is a knoll-top called "Wimpy's" and the higher, snow-covered summit on the left is Mt. Albright. If that's true, then you were in the meadow that leads to Stewart's Draw when you took this photo, but you would have needed to go very hard right from this position to cross a little lateral moraine to get into the main Stewart's drainage.

Anyway, I like the snowfield you picked. That snow bridge looked especially impressive. :

I also want to thank you because the cryptic phone message you left on Friday afternoon prompted me to drop my plans of trying to head up to Stewart's and go to Lake of the Crags yesterday instead. Based on what I skied yesterday, that was a good change.

Next time you're going to be in town, maybe you can give me a bit more notice. I would love to go on one of these adventures with you.
post #4 of 21
Thanks for the post. The title immediately reminded my of a 'minor epic' in GTNP a couple eons ago over a Labor Day weekend. Got caught in a major blow and snowstorm backpacking behind the Grand and decided to get out by fumbling down ice and snow covered rocks and drops to Taggert Lake, and back to town for beers at the Cowboy the next morning.

How far is Stewart's Draw from Taggert Lake?
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post
Hi, VA. I wondered if you were going to post your trip report.

Based on this photo:





I think you made it into the right drainage, but I think you started up-mountain a little sooner than you should have. It's a little hard to say for sure, but I think the summit in the middle of this photo is a knoll-top called "Wimpy's" and the higher, snow-covered summit on the left is Mt. Albright. If that's true, then you were in the meadow that leads to Stewart's Draw when you took this photo, but you would have needed to go very hard right from this position to cross a little lateral moraine to get into the main Stewart's drainage.

Anyway, I like the snowfield you picked. That snow bridge looked especially impressive. :

I also want to thank you because the cryptic phone message you left on Friday afternoon prompted me to drop my plans of trying to head up to Stewart's and go to Lake of the Crags yesterday instead. Based on what I skied yesterday, that was a good change.

Next time you're going to be in town, maybe you can give me a bit more notice. I would love to go on one of these adventures with you.
Hey Bob, I think your appraisal is spot on, I went up too much too fast, but I got that cool pic from where I got cliffed out.

Anyway, I've found where I was relative to Buck Mountain using Google Earth. I was most of the way to Stuart's Draw I think which would be up the valley on the right of this:

post #6 of 21
This makes me realize how much I miss the West. Thanks, VA.
post #7 of 21
Nice summer turns! Do you plan to continue skiing 'till next season?
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tele mark View Post
Nice summer turns! Do you plan to continue skiing 'till next season?
There's not much snow around Missoula, so maybe not, but we'll see.
post #9 of 21
How was the skiing? Sweet corn? Did you ski the crux? Looks knar. Beautiful pictures. Good story. How many vertical feet do you think you skied? The snaky coulior across the valley looks like it goes a long way. By Maryland standards anyway. Probably very nice run in winter!
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post
How was the skiing? Sweet corn? Did you ski the crux? Looks knar. Beautiful pictures. Good story. How many vertical feet do you think you skied? The snaky coulior across the valley looks like it goes a long way. By Maryland standards anyway. Probably very nice run in winter!
The turns were very good, the surface was soft (except for the various rock fragments and tree branches), and the base was solid. I was careful to ski directly over the center of the crux where the snowpack was at least three feet thick. It was maybe a bit more than a hundred vert, but it was pretty steep, around 40 degrees probably. It was about seven or eight turns of sheer bliss.
post #11 of 21

Tetons

VA - great photos, big hike glad to see you made some turns.
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpinord View Post
Thanks for the post. The title immediately reminded my of a 'minor epic' in GTNP a couple eons ago over a Labor Day weekend. Got caught in a major blow and snowstorm backpacking behind the Grand and decided to get out by fumbling down ice and snow covered rocks and drops to Taggert Lake, and back to town for beers at the Cowboy the next morning.

How far is Stewart's Draw from Taggert Lake?
If you came out by Taggert Lake you may have come down Avalanche Canyon past a couple small ponds and a lovely waterfall. Nice hike!
post #13 of 21
More like a nice 'survival stumble' in a white out at times. I'm pretty sure it was Avalanche, but still not clear on proximity to Stewart's....
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpinord View Post
More like a nice 'survival stumble' in a white out at times. I'm pretty sure it was Avalanche, but still not clear on proximity to Stewart's....
My guess is the next canyon south, which I think is Death Canyon, based upon the prominent trail visible in the photos. I was slated to hike into Alaska basin to Death Canyon shelf via this trail last summer whem a minor cardiac event brought a halt to my plans. Must've been the forbidding name of the place!
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by oisin View Post
If you came out by Taggert Lake you may have come down Avalanche Canyon past a couple small ponds and a lovely waterfall. Nice hike!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpinord View Post
More like a nice 'survival stumble' in a white out at times. I'm pretty sure it was Avalanche, but still not clear on proximity to Stewart's....
Quote:
Originally Posted by oisin View Post
My guess is the next canyon south, which I think is Death Canyon, based upon the prominent trail visible in the photos. I was slated to hike into Alaska basin to Death Canyon shelf via this trail last summer whem a minor cardiac event brought a halt to my plans. Must've been the forbidding name of the place!
Maybe I can help.

Avalanche Canyon is the major canyon to the north of Stewart Draw. The stream out of Avalanche comes into Taggert Lake. There is no "developed" trail in Avalanche Canyon, which is why your "survival stumble" would make sense. Avalanche is another of the canyons that the Park Service doesn't want to encourage travel in. What trail there is is reached from the trail that connects Taggert Lake and Bradley Lake. With a fair amount of boulder-hopping, route-finding, and scrambling you can reach Alaska Basin via Avalanche Canyon. The upper thousand feet of the canyon would probably be pretty snowy right now. It's a gorgeous hike, by the way, if the weather is nice.

Death Canyon is the major canyon to the south of Stewart Draw. The stream out of Death Canyon drops into Phelps Lake. The Death Canyon trail is accessed via the Death Canyon trailhead, which is about five road miles south of the Taggert Lake trailhead. About a third of the way up the Death Canyon trail from the JH valley, you reach a major junction. One arm goes north and east and tops out on the Teton Crest and then drops down into Alaska Basin. The other arm goes west up Death Canyon and arrives at the Teton Crest right at the south end of the Death Canyon Shelf. The trail along the Death Canyon Shelf has to be one of the prettiest walks I've ever seen.

Stewart Draw is sort of a sub-drainage between Avalanche and Death. It leads up a steep canyon to a lake (which I'm fairly sure is still frozen) called Timberline Lake. Timberline sits at about 10,000 feet of elevation and right at the base of the southeast face of Buck Mountain. There is a well-defined (but again, not marked) trail that goes all the way up Stewart Draw and up Buck Mountain. You reach Stewart Draw by knowing where to turn right shortly after starting up the Death Canyon trail from the trailhead.

If I get ambitious, I'll take a couple of photos this weekend and post them.
post #16 of 21
Beautiful pictures! Thanks!
post #17 of 21
Quite a few years ago I hiked up Avalanche Canyon and down Cascade Canyon and back to Jenny Lake campground, circuiting the Grand in a day. This was indeed a beautiful walk, completely solitary until reaching the ridge and descending toward Cascade when, feeling mighty proud of myself and my stamina, I met two cowboy types wearing pointy toed boots and carrying no extra clothing or gear of any kind who'd hiked up from a campround near Targhee. These guys had no map and only a vague idea of where they were and seemed to be out for a leisurely stroll. My feet seemed to hurt just at the sight of those boots but they appeared to think nothing of it. I don't recall much snow except up beyond the last lake, which still had ice in it at the end of June. Last summer there didn't seem to be snow anywhere in mid July except the glaciers which looked mainly ice. This must have been quite a snow year!
post #18 of 21
Doh! Of course now I can find Stewart's Draw on the map! Working on LMO, previously. I guess....... Thanks all for the descriptions, images and stirring up memories of past adventures. It is a beautiful area. It was as a 14 year old on a western family vacation from the midwest crossing Jenny Lake, I absolutely knew I was moving west ASAP. College was my ticket.

(Click on map to enlarge.)

post #19 of 21
Nice trip and post! I've been focusing on the rivers and the lake as well as working to save enough nuts to make it through the winter. I can't ski anyway as I managed to break my foot on dry level ground. Good job getting some July turns in.
post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 
Judging from this map and google earth, my line was somewhere in the red circle.

post #21 of 21
You're the man! Rock on, rock off, rock in and rock out, brotha! The snow bridge makes me moist!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Trip Reports
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › EpicSki Community › Trip Reports  › Losing my way in Grand Teton NP 7/11