We’ve been profiling Green Mountain Freeride’s adventures this winter as well as the tragic accident to their member and friend Ryan Hawks. Green Mountain Freeride is a collection of VT born and raised rippers who are traveling the globe shredding. Here is an update we received earlier this season from member Louis Erickson and his rare descent of the East Ridge of the Grand Teton. – Erme
Words and Photos: Louis Erickson
The February high pressure period was full of sunny days and sub-zero temperatures, so with our sights set on some big lines, we decided to head up to Teton National Park.
By 6:30 am, I was bumping down the road in Brady’s white pick-up to get our third climbing partner. With our crew assembled, we switched cars and drove from Teton Valley to the park. Upon arrival, we decided to climb and ski the East Ridge of the Grand Teton.
After skinning for two hours up Garnet Canyon and into Surprise Lake we stopped to take a food break and look at the objective ahead. Half an hour later we were under the East Ridge of the Grand putting on crampons and fueling up with the last of the home-made cookies. Our ascent was carefully planned as we began up a small choke which led us onto the Eastern ridge, and once we were on the face we began to pick our way through the rock bans. As we began to get higher on the route snow conditions quickly deteriorated and we encountered rotten snow along with a four inch wind slab.
After some debate we decided to head down from roughly two thirds of the way up the face. While skiing we triggered pockets of wind slab on the steepest pitches of the run?the line definitely had my full and undivided attention.
This ski mountaineering route is a classic and was first pioneered by Rick Hunt and Hans Johnstone in 2006 on their second attempt. Since then only a handful of skiers have attempted this route. It is probably the longest run off the Grand Teton, and is a very technical climbing route never the less a ski descent. I cannot wait to get back on this again!