UPDATE: Today, Utah residents Jared Inouye, Andy Dorais and Jason Dorais teamed up for a group solo ski descent of the Ford/Stettner Route and set a new bar with a time of 5:17 car-to-car. These guys are pretty speedy rando-races and the time will be very hard to beat. See the comments section of this post for Jared’s breakdown of the day. Well done fellas!!! (On deck…Brandon, Harder???)
Well, it sure seems like there is a lot of traffic on the Grand Teton lately. I’ve been hearing of multiple groups making daily descents over the past couple weeks. I haven’t skied the GT this year (yet?), but I’ve skied it in perfect corn, a foot of fresh powder, had a true “winter-descent” and also skied it in sloppy mank over the past few years. Rumor has it that conditions on the Ford/Stettner Route are what you might call “cruiser” right now and will probably be that way for another couple weeks. Get in line early though, cuz it sure seems like the Ford/Stettner is turning into a trade route.
I’ve heard of a few folks out there trying for the record of the fastest car-to-car ski descent time of the Grand Teton, Ford/Stettner Route. I’m not totally sure there is definitive current “record”, but I think it is safe to say that the bar was set this weekend by Jackson-ite, Nathan Brown, with a time of 7:15:33…car-to-summit-to-car. This is pretty darn fast, but of course…Nate thinks it can be done faster.Â For the record, Nate went solo, used steel crampons and two ice tools, Dynafit TLT5 Performance boots, custom 160cm Igneous, and down-climbed the Chevy Couloir, as opposed to rappelling.
Personally, my days of wearing lycra while truly ski mountaineering (as opposed to racing) were probably over well before they even got started, but I would think one could probably move through the Chevy Couloir faster if they rapped it with their skis on, but the added weight of a long rope on the ascent might negate any time saved on the descent. Obviously, current conditions will inevitably dictate what one chooses to do and the deep snowpack for sure makes down-climbing easier, compared to when there is less snow.Â Â
I also think that one could probably use lighter skis, but then you have to worry about durability, as rando-race skis don’t really have the best history regarding durability for real skiing.Â Aluminum crampons, one ice tool and a Whippet.?Â Maybe.Â No harness, no belay device or any climbing gear all together?Â Well…that’s up to the guy with the most guts I guess.
Anyway, congrats to Nate on his accomplishment. It will be interesting to see how long his time holds as the fastest and I wouldn’t doubt if someone tries to break it in the near future. One thing to note though is that right now, no one is skiing all the way to the car, so one could question the purity of the descent to claim a “record”.Â Either way though, it’s pretty dang fast for sure and IMHO, fun to pay attention to.