On June 4th Andy Brooks, Eric “ED” Daft, Michelle, and I headed over to Jackson Lake, loaded our gear onto the Keeling Time (sailboat) and headed across the lake to the base of Mount Moran.
We did have a bit of wind here and there, but I have to admit that we motored most of the way. I was hoping for a bit of a wind for two reasons, one being for sailing, but most importantly to keep the snow temps on the mountain down. Of course, with these wishes in mind, it was perfectly calm and warm most of the day, and through the night. The over night lows were just about at freezing at 10,000+ft. This meant we were in for a REALLY early morning. We anchored the boat and unloaded most of our gear for the next morning onto land, much easier to do with the sun still up.
Shortly after eating dinner, Mark Fisher and a buddy of his showed up on a sick ski boat. We all sat around on the sailboat for a bit. Right as Mark and his buddy were heading back to their camp a black bear came out of the trees and was wondering around their camp and boat. In the words of Mark “awe shit man, we just set all of our food and stuff on the ground and came over here,” ha ha ha. The bear eventually left and they were able to get back over there. Now it was time to crash.
The alarm sounded at 1:15am. It was time to get moving and was surprisingly easy to do so. We ate a quick breakfast, ferried across to shore, got our gear together, and started the seemingly endless bushwhacking to the snow field at the base of the Skillet Glacier. Nearing the base of the snow fields, the LEDs from people’s headlamps began to emerge from the trees. About half way up the sun began to rise over the great state of Wyoming. It was quite the sunrise. This meant that we had been going for about 4 hours and also meant that we had limited time to get up the mountain before things began to warm up and create snow and ice fall.
At this point we were all pretty well spread out on the Skillet. Michelle and I took a bit of a detour up the wrong gully, once we made it high enough to see the rest of the crew, we realized we were about half a mile to the north of where we wanted to be. We were already not quite covering the ground we needed to be to make it to the top before things got too warm, and the 45-60 min detour did not help the cause.
We made it to the top of the Skillet Glacier/bottom of the skillet handle (1,000ft couloir to the summit) at about 9am. From here we could see the rest of the group spread out through the upper skillet handle and new that we would need to ski down soon, as things were warming fast. Standing at 11,000+ft with ice & rock fall all around us was a good indication that it was time to ski. Making it to with in 1,000ft or so of the top of a mountain and having to turn around is never easy, but sometimes very necessary. We still had about 5,000ft of perfect corn skiing below us!
The crew eventually reassembled at the boats (after Mark, Mark’s buddy, Andy & ED summited) and thousands of feet of awesome spring corn skiing done by all. We packed up the sailboat, un-anchored and met up with the ski boat in the middle of the lake for some waterskiing, swimming and fun in the sun. All and all, a pretty rad adventure!