Today, 1.26.16, Royal T and I took a look at Shadow Peak in GTNP. Due to time constraints and a lot of old ski tracks originating at the skier’s summit we opted to stop at the lower knob just shy of the small saddle and large slide path curving NE into Garnet Canyon.
There has been a lot of traffic up Shadow since the last major storm system pushed through. The skin track was well established but still grippy thanks to a few small snowfall events recently and efforts by skiers to widen the track and freshen it’s bed surface. Also, very few downhill skiers have blown apart the uphill track.
Good work, mountain people! Very community-minded of you!
The snow was good top to almost bottom with the exception of faint crusts on sunny slopes around ~8000′.
There was a big temperature inversion with an impressive intermittent fog layer lingering around ~9200′. The views of the high peaks seemed all the more majestic due to the clouds swirling around their mid-mountain flanks.
We spotted some interesting fresh bootpacks and skin tracks on the SSW side of Teewinot originating out of Glacier Gulch. It looked like a crew had bootpacked up one of the prominent couloirs that tops out at a saddle around ~12,000′. There seemed to be a big chockstone poking out towards the top of the couloir, and from Shadow it was hard to tell if the bootpackers had topped out or not.
Another party on the SSW side of Teewinot opted to traverse East, make a few nice turns, and skin up amid sparse trees right up to treeline. It looked like they were all having a good time.
Personally, I’m currently avoiding steep, rocky South facing slidepaths above ~9000′ in the wake of three recent Teton avalanche fatalities that popped on S aspects around ~10,000′. To each his own. No judgement, at least not personally.
The shady side of 25 Short looked tasty and relatively untracked. As for Shadow itself, the steep shots North off the skier’s summit got hit as did the Tomahawk Couloir.
We didn’t get a good look at the Sliver from our perch on Shadow’s lower knob although it looked like no one had topped out there yet. I bet the snow is delightful in there right now. Safe? I don’t know.
Opting for safety and hunting for pillows we dropped down the NE Ridge. It’s fast, firm, fun hero snow on the ridge trending towards bottomless sugar the shadier and steeper you seek. There are a lot of tracks, but there is also a lot of ridge. 🙂
As mentioned previously we found faint suncrusts around 8000′ on sunny slopes. These crusts were easily avoidable.
Some people had skied the steep cliffy face coming out of Garnet Canyon without incident. We opted to stick to the steep trees instead.
The pond West of Bradley Lake had splooged slush, so we had to scrape ice off our skis before descending to the very well traveled Bradley Lake. We opted to bootpack back up to the ridge rather than throwing our skins back on. It worked out well.
By this point T was almost late for work, and I was still wondering why I don’t have to work tonight. The clouds broke and the Tetons popped in all their glory as we hustled back to town.
Forecast looks good. Relatively mellow temps and winds, especially Thursday with another storm forecast to hit Friday. Yeehaw!
Tomorrow I’m snowboarding the Village with the neighbors. It should be interesting. 🙂