Anyone who’s read this blog for a while knows that I favor light gear and little skis for most of my outings. This stuff works best for the long tours and vertical gain I prefer. I’ve pushed the use of thinner, shorter skis and light race bindings onto steep, technical terrain with generally satisfying outcomes. With like-minded partners encouraging this behavior, my ski quiver has stayed skinny…. until now.
Entries in ski mountaineering (30)
Thought I'd give a shout out to my friend Michelle Smith, a film maker from Jackson Hole who has been steadily upping her game with these fun videos featuring my old stomping grounds. The Grand Teton is getting some love lately from TGR and will be featured on Jeremy Jones' next effort, Higher.
Michelle beats him to the punch here with this tasty nugget. She was preceeded by the Otter Body Experience, a film by David Gonzales but that awesome movie is MIA on the internet now.
So, sit back and check out the fun on one of the coolest lines on the biggest peak in the range along with some perspective from Teton skimo pioneer, Mark Newcomb.
I was an alpinist long before I was a ski mountaineer. And, although I love skinning uphill, booting up steep couloirs still has an honored place in my heart. In the right conditions, booting is more efficient. There’s nothing I hate more than zigzagging up a narrow chute on skis doing kick turn after kick turn. On the other hand, conditions can dictate a skis-only approach rather than sink crotch deep and “trench” upwards.
The best performances in the mountains arise from a combination of preparation, fitness, conditions and some luck. Watching the antics on Mt. Rainier the past few weeks made this perfectly clear. The players were certainly fit. The route was well known to Andy and Jason while Eric Carter and Nick Elson had the advantage of the cattle trail being in. The weather cooperated for both parties and everyone had the chops to ski the line. The result was two brilliant performances and standard-setting times. Daunting, to be sure.
Admittedly, attempting speed ascents of mountaineering peaks on skis is a niche sport right now typically practiced by skimo racers worldwide. Numerous records are set in the Alps each season and have been for years. But similar practices in North America are just starting to be more common.