The weather was predicted to deteriorate today and Reed heard from his ski patrol buddies that it should be snowing by noon. We got an early start, to beat the weather, and drove up to Togwotee under uncertain skies. We had planned to go to Mt Moran this week, but not with the predicted storm in the forecast.
The plan was to ski some stuff on the south side of Breccia Cliffs, but the snowpack was looking a little thin. Our plans changed and we decided that French Spy Bowl was the next best thing. We followed a track to the saddle that overlooks the bowl and took in the scenery.
The so-called French Spy Bowl area holds many nice lines and will push the ski mountaineer as far as he wants. I find it to be a good training ground for larger, more consequential descents. I have only skied on one side of the bowl, which is were we skied yesterday, but someday I will make turns on the other side. I thank those who have turned me on to this area…you know who you are (JP).
We were at the top of the plateau in no time and the wind was ripping. Here comes the storm! After poking around a bit, we decided to ski a pretty tame coolie, but one we hadn’t skied before, down to the valley to check things out from below. Togwotee is hurting for snow, much like the Tetons, but a few of the steeper, more technical lines still went through. We made a quick transition and skinned back to the top under threatening skies.
We got to the top of our line and I realized that I had skied it before, with Dustin…maybe last year. The couloir was nice, steep and narrow. Too narrow to turn in some spots, especially at the top. I wanted to try something new and thought that it might be fun traverse in from the side…avoiding the rocky ‘spacewalk’ directly down the fall line. The traverse in was a little exciting…over some cliffs…on some uncertain snow…but I managed to slide in without incident. Reed took the ‘spacewalk’ entrance and we hooked up above the next section.
Originally the line looked tame from where we were, but it narrowed considerably. I liked the steepness, but the wind had carved its own path through the already thin cover and left the surface very rutted. We were forced to sidestep through it. The snow was variable on the slopes below the couloir and we could see flakes staring to fly on the mountains to the north.
The weather was coming in like a freight train and we got blasted in the face with blowing snow on the trek back to the road. We had already gotten facials skiing the couloirs, so it only added to the battle. The snow was coming down nicely by the time we got back the rig and I drove home slowly. Some dumb-ass tried to pass me on the way back to Jackson and caused a car coming in the other direction the spin off the icy road.
It wasn’t snowing anymore when we got back to town, but thankfully it is snowing now…and we need it. Looks like powder skiing today.