By: randosteve|Posted on: March 2, 2007|Posted in: Middle Teton, The Tetons | 9 comments

I was fired up to get into the mountains today, especially when Brian Harder and I drove north past the Fish Hatchery and saw clear skies over the mountains. We got going right as the sun hit the mountains and it was a beautiful morning.

We were headed to the Middle Teton and I can tell you, it was slow going. We broke trail from the parking lot to the summit. It was weird too, the skins felt like velcro today and offered zero glide. We powered through some pretty cold temps and deep snow conditions on the way to the top.

Here are some photos from today’s trip skiing the Southwest Couloir on the Middle Teton, Brian is the star today.

Beautiful alpenglow sunrise on the high peaks.

Sunrise on the Tetons

The first couple hours of the trip were the warmest and the temps dropped as we got higher. The clouds forming over the high peaks didn’t help either.

Clouds begining to cover the South

Brian enjoys the last bit of sun as we cut the corner before the saddle of the South Fork of Garnet Canyon. We skinned a few hundred feet higher before throwing the skis on our back and bootpacking.

Skinning towards the Middle Teton

We were both feeling beat down after slogging so far, only to have the clouds roll in and kill the visibility, as well as contribute to the frigid temps. Here, Brian gets back into some deeper snow as we move into the Southwest Couloir on the Middle Teton.

Harder breaks trail again

The sun popped out a little bit as we took our final few steps to the summit of the Middle. We were cold and tired, but the sun made things much better…for a few minutes at least.

Final steps to the summit

The Summit of the Middle is a cool place cuz there are a lot of things to look at. Here Brian peeks into the Northwest Ice Couloir. I have never skied the NW…but sometimes I think about it. Today, it looked like it needed a lot more snow.

Brian gets a view of the NW Ice Couloir

We hiked back down to the skiable high-point and picked our way back to the top of the Southwest Couloir. You definitely don’t want to slip to the left here.

Brian Harder skis from near the summit of the Middle Teton

A small notch offers a view into the upper portion of the Chouinard Couloir. That would be cool if it snowed so much that you could ski it from here. Brian offers some good advice as well.

Harder offers some good advice

The skiing is always a little interesting in the Southwest and it is rarely stellar. Although we did have some good pow turns in the the actual couloir, there was always that looming ice chunk waiting to grab your tip and send you tumbling into Idaho. This couloir cuts a hard left at the bottom and if one were to take a slide for life over the cliffs below it wouldn’t be pretty.

Always a little interesting in the Southwest

The visibility slowly came back as we skied down into the South Fork of Garnet Canyon. We stayed high and left and were able to catch the Cave Couloir back down to Meadows, which skied phenomenally! Milking the north side of the lower canyon on the way back to Bradley Lake, the temps slowly warmed up and we were able to shed the heavy layers, happy to have pushed through the conditions and get on a summit today.

Skiing back into some visability in the South Fork