It has been a long weekend of working and partying, but unfortunately not much skiing. I’m working today but doing intervals on Snow King this morning. I won’t really be rando racing until February…so I still have some time to whip myself back into shape. I have the rest of the week off from work, so I’m psyched to get some longer days in too, and I think it is supposed to snow. Note:This TR is from December 24th, 2005, one to remember.
Some days stand out as just ‘the best’. The best snow, the best line, the best views…but occasionally you have a day that has all three. Sentinel Couloir is a rarely skied line on the north side of Disappointment Peak and offers a great ski mountaineering experience with steep, technical skiing in an insane location, it is also a loop ski to boot. This December day…it was ‘the best’.
Reed and I got a relatively late start, cuz we weren’t going very high, knew exactly where we were going and getting into Garnet Canyon is a breeze. Traveling light, we reached The Meadows in about two hours and then skinned directly up the summer trail to the beginning of the South Sentinel Couloir. The skis went on the back and we booted the final 1000′ or so to the col just east of the Red Sentinel. When we reached the col the views exploded, with a rimmed Middle Teton winning top prize. A view across the canyon shows a side/slough where I had skied the previous weekend…yikes!
I have scoped out this couloir many times on previous trips in Glacier Gulch, and I had just skied the south side of Teewinot so it was still fresh in my mind. It proved to be quite exciting non-the-less and required a ‘reverse entry’. From the col and facing left, a wiggle-turn brings you to an exposed location with a full plate of the east face of the Grand Teton right up front. A steep rock face sits below and the Red Sentinel looms over you like a higher power. The ledge behind is the only way out, so a backwards entry is used. Nicely, this is the way you want to be setup for the thinly covered rocks to come. This section must fill in later in the season I’m sure, but the early season space-walk is fun just the same. The couloir is steep and it rolls over to some cliffs with only one way out, besides hucking carcass. It’s hard to see, but down to the left, the line goes through. It is surrounded by the pinkest rock you have ever seen. Good powder skiing continued down to glacial moraine and the amphitheater of Glacier Gulch.
Occasionally, I feel like the mountains are truly alive and I get this weird feeling…like I’m lighter and tingly…or energized. This is the feeling I strive for and the main reason I venture into the mountains. Sometimes it all comes together in this enlightened experience that makes you really feel alive…these are ‘the best’. LIVE TO SKI!