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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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
2020 Trip Reports:
- Trip Report: Mt. Dana, CA – “Dana Couloir”
- Trip Report: Mt. Dana, CA – “Solstice Couloir”
- Trip Report: Mt. Timpanogos, UT – “Grunge Couloir”
- Trip Report: Mt. Timpanogos, UT – “Cold Fusion Couloir”
- Trip Report: Snowbird, UT – “Pipeline”
- Trip Report: Mt. Superior, UT – “South Face”
- Trip Report: Little Cottonwood Canyon, UT – “Tanners Gulch”