NOTE: The snow is falling pretty good today…finally. Unfortunately I’ve been working the last few days, but I look forward to skiing the pow (lots of it) later this week. I did manage to get out for some intervals on the King this morning with my race gear. I was a little queasy from all the rich food and drink at last night’s work Christmas party at the Blue Lion. It felt good to sweat it out though and managed to get the heart above 170 for a bit as well. Anyway, in an effort to populate this site, this TR is from December 11, 2005.
It is just great to be able to ski the Tetons early season. I tend to have much more time to ski, since racing/traveling isn’t taking up my weekends. Anyway, Buck Mountain was on the radar today, seems kind of weird to be skiing Buck this early in the season, but it was well covered and had some good skiing.
Today I skied with Dustin Lempke (a good friend and ski partner) and Rob Sigori (who I know from TCSAR). We approached the peak via Stewart Draw, following the summer route, as I have on previous ascents. Recently, some folks have said they prefer to gain Timberline Lake by Static Draw. I guess I will have to try it next time. We booted up from the lake and then contemplated slapping on our skins as the snow got deep and very punchy on the East Face.
I swallowed my pride and finally let Dustin help break trail and inevitably leaving it up to the 6’6”+ Sigori to stomp a path up the steeper pitches near the summit through a breakable, boot packing nightmare. I talked to some friends (who still telemark) who watched us from another Teton peak and they said it seemed to take up forever to reach the top. At the time I thought the same, but I none-the-less wouldn’t have wanted to break trail…it looked painful!
We took dorky summit pics on top, I think it was both Dustin’s and Rob’s first time to the top of Buck. Edgeable wind-scour off the top turned into nasty breakable on the big East Face. The Havoc’s and the quads battled through, but the snow miraculously transformed into what I call ‘corn-slab’ (sun-softened wind slab) in the couloir back down to the lake. It was like spring skiing in December! Another LIVE TO SKI moment…I love it!
The sun that nicely softened the upper slopes also baked those down low…but they where now in the shade. We were forced to ski more breakable on the south facing slopes in the beginning but where able to milk the north side of the creek bed as we jibbed on down to the valley. It’s always nice to have soft snow down low…ends the trip on a good note.