By: randosteve|Posted on: June 26, 2009|Posted in: GTNP, The Tetons | 1 comment

Photo Courtesy of

It’s that time of year again when the parking lot fills up at Lupine Meadows trailhead and a line forms in the early morning hours at the Jenny Lake Ranger Station with people looking for permits and information on route conditions in the high peaks. Luckily for us, the rangers have started to post photos and conditions reports on their website again,, as well as getting the Lower Saddle weather station up and running. (See “Cool Websites” and “Weather/Avy” links in right sidebar.)

Now, you would think that this is a resource for out-of-towners only, thinking many of us locals who get out in the mountains a bit would have a pretty good idea of what to expect and we wouldn’t really need to check out how the Exum Ridge is shaping up, or wet/dry the CMC route is on Mount Moran, and to some extent you are right. But can often give us a perspective that one wouldn’t really get and this is what makes the website valuable to all, no matter how much you get out in the Tetons.

Black Ice and Enclosure Couloir looking SICK on 6/23/09! Some might say skiable?
Visit for seriously rad larger image.

Take for example this photo of the Black Ice Couloir taken on June 23, 2009, from what appears to be a helicopter flying over Valhalla Canyon. Now I’m not an expert alpinist or anything, but after years of people commenting about the route being dry, rotten and/or out of shape, it seems like maybe this year things might be a little different. Maybe someone with experience on the route will chime and give their opinion and yeah, the very bottom of the route might be a little thin, but the main couloir sure looks filled with snow and ice to me. And a keen eye will see that the Enclosure Couloir also looks “phat”.

Now obviously things and route conditions can change rapidly with the weather and time in general, so be sure to check in with the Jenny Lake Rangers before you head out to get the latest beta. But also enjoy the fact that you can stay abreast of what happening high in the Tetons on a regular basis with a simple click of the mouse. Thanks Jenny Lake Rangers…this is a great recourse for all of us.