In May 2013, Kim Havell became the first woman to ski the Otterbody on the east face of the Grand Teton in Wyoming. They chose the perfect day and skied the Otterbody and hanging snowfield in nearly perfect springtime conditions.
Can you imagine skiing that first hanging snowfield and getting towards the end of it, which you know is an unsurvivable cliff, and having to ski right to the edge and find that anchor point? It’s a tough pill to swallow. Props to Brian Warren who makes it look easy. To me, that’d be the toughest part.
You know you can do it and you know you can make an anchor, but will your nerves hold out long enough to allow you to ski right to the edge of that cliff and set that anchor up right? That’s a true ski mountaineer.
This video also features Mark Newcomb recounting his first descent of the Otterbody with Doug Coombs in 1996. “That’s the line,” said Coombs.
The ultra-classic Otter Body route on the Grand Teton was first skied in 1996 when Jackson locals Doug Coombs and Mark Newcomb headed up to give it a try. It was Newcomb’s job interview for a guide position with Coomb’s heli-ski operation in Alaska. He passed the test, and the duo headed up north shortly thereafter. The route has seen more skiers since then, including a few in 2013, with Exum guides Zahan Billamoria, Brendan O’Neill, Dan Corn, and a few others pulling off winter descents, and Kim Havell completing a first female descent in the spring. This short film documents some of what goes into skiing one of the biggest lines in the US with The Otter Kind.