Trip Report: Nez Perce, WY – “The Sliver Couloir”

Miles Clark | | Trip ReportTrip Report
The Sliver. image: snowbrains

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Report From January 1, 2021

Yesterday, January 1, 2020, I went for a long walk in the Grand Teton National Park, WY.

It was a great way to start the New Year of 2021.

The goal was The Sliver Couloir on Nez Perce.

The snow in the chute was terrible, the adventure was terrific, and the snow below the chute all the way down was good.

The Sliver Couloir – Nez Perce, WY Details:

  • Summit (actually a notch):  11,200′
  • Car:  6,550′
  • Vertical From Car:  4,650′ round trip
  • Vertical skied:  4,230′ (1,000′ in chute)
  • Max Pitch:  47º
  • Aspect:  ESE
  • Distance:  9.1-miles round trip
  • Time From Car to Summit:  5 hrs
  • Car to Car Time:  6 hrs 45 mins
  • Recommended Equipment:  crampons, ice axe, skins

I started hiking from the Bradley-Taggart trailhead at 9am in a dense, sparkly, frozen fog and 15ºF.

I skinned up the ridge between Bradley & Taggart lakes to the shoulder of Shadow Peak.

Partway up the ridge, I broke into the sunshine and a benevolent, shimmering sun pillar greeted me.

The Sliver Couloir (the notch) on Nez Perce in the Teton Range, WY. image: snowbrains

It looked like a columnar swarm of phosphorescent honeybees.

From that shoulder, it’s a short, easy downclimb to a few mellow turns that drop you into the cirque below the east face of Nez Perce.

A short skin delivered me at the bottom of The Sliver Couloir where I switched to boots and crampons.

The view from the top of The Sliver Couloir. image: snowbrains

It was hot up there.

The snow looked and felt bad in the couloir.

After about 10 steps I had to take the crampons off as they were clumping with snow so badly.

The Sliver from the bottom. image: snowbrains
The Sliver. image: snowbrains

The booting up was terrible.

Snow stuck to my boot soles and nearly every step held at about ankle-deep, then gave way to shin-deep once my full weight was put on the step.

Maddening.

The Tetons, WY with Nez Perce center left. image: snowbrains

Seemingly swimming uphill at times.

After an hour of groveling, I made it to the top of the couloir at 2pm.

The views from within the couloir were spectacular.

Hiking up the ridge between Bradley and Taggart lakes. image: snowbrains

I made my transition and started skiing as quickly as I could.

The skiing was bad.

The only respite from the punchy, grabby, complex snow was lower down where the surface of the snow was hard and supportable and I could actually link up turns.

Nez Perce & the Grand Teton, WY. image: snowbrains

The top of the chute is reportedly about 47º and it mellows down to around 38º near the bottom.

About the perfect steepness for a couloir, I think.

I’m excited to come back in better snow conditions.

Miles happy booting up The Sliver. image: snowbrains

Below the chute the skiing was fun.

Old, recrystallized powder on top of hard bed surface with the occasional pillow pop.

Across the lake, over the hill, through the dale, and back to the car.

An amazing, uplifting, long day.

The Sliver Couloir on the right. image: snowbrains

2020 Trip Reports:

 

Avalanche Forecast:

image: JHavalanche.org, 1/1/21

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6 thoughts on “Trip Report: Nez Perce, WY – “The Sliver Couloir”

  1. Hi Miles

    the reason i was asking about the skis was due to being offered a set of Scott Superglide 95s

    I wasn’t sure if they will be to stiff as I’ve been told the Superlide & Scraper are very siff

    thanks Gary

    1. I haven’t yet skied the new Superguide. I’ve been touring with my lightweight setup (dynafits and Superguide boots) on the Scrapper 105 182cm and it’s light and stiff and strong. I really like it…

  2. hi

    what type of Scott skis are you on and what length do you ski ?

    looking at getting a set up for skking tighter areas

    thanks Gary

    1. Hello Gary, thanks for the question. Here I’m on the Scott Scrapper 115 in the 189cm length. I’m 6’1″, 165lbs.

        1. Welcome and thanks for the kind words. For tight couloirs, I prefer my Scott Scrapper 105 in the 182cm length. 🙂

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