-members of group: Ricardo Moreno-Contro, Joel Paula, and Zach Taylor
-ascent route: southeast shoulder from Coal Creek
-descent route: east face
10,352' Taylor Mountain
Between being buried in pre-requisite course work for nursing school, applying to nursing schools, applying for financial aide, working, and a shitty, sketchy, avalanche prone snowpack in Colorado I had not climbed any mountains in months. It was finally spring break, I was able to sneak away from work for a few days, and Joel, Pollo, and I headed to Jackson for three days of touring and riding in the Tetons.
Over the week prior I closely watched the weather and avalanche forecasts for the area. Sun and warm weather dominated the forecast. Avalanche danger ratings in Wyoming continued to trend downwards and we were stoked for the trip. I had a good friend, Elizabeth, who lives in Jackson that said she would show us around and I was excited to see her too. We climbed many mountains in Colorado together between 2002 and 2007 when we both lived in Boulder. Then she moved to Jackson and I moved to Avon. I was excited to have a tour guide and to see a close friend that I am lucky to see only once a year or so now.
Discussions of skiing the Middle Teton and other high peaks in Teton National Park abounded as we planned our excursion north.
A day before we arrived Steve Romeo and Chris Onufer were killed in an avalanche while bootpacking up a north facing couloir on Ranger Peak in the northern part of Teton National Park. I had some brief e-mail correspondence with Steve over the past couple years about ski routes in Wyoming and both were good friends and ski partners of Elizabeth. Their tragic deaths overshadowed our whole trip. Rest In Peace Steve and Chris and cheers to lives well led. I hope there are mountains wherever you are now to climb. Even though their deaths happened far too young they lived more in their 40s years than most do in their entire lives.
Knowing that the Tetons were in a transitionary period between winter and spring snowpacks, that the Bridger-Teton Avalanche Information Center only forecasts avalanche ratings/information for up to 10,000', and because of the tragic deaths of two such great ski mountaineers recently in the area we decided to stick to lower elevations where the snowpack was more stable and information was more accurate. We spent the first two days riding classic lines on Teton pass. We hiked up Glory Mountain and rode Glory bowl amongst other great lines.
photo- Joel hucking a cornice off Teton pass. photo by Ricardo Moreno, 2012.
photo- Zach Taylor on the summit of Glory Mountain. photo by Ricardo Moreno, 2012
photo- Joel skiing Glory bowl. photo by Ricardo Moreno, 2012.
photo- Pollo riding out the bottom of Glory bowl. photo by Zach Taylor, 2012.
From Teton pass, looking west towards Idaho, the most prominant summit is a peak called Taylor Mountain which towers above Coal Creek, just west of the pass. Although barely 10,000' in elevation it is a large, beautiful peak that is on par with Colorado 14ers. We decided to give it a go on the last day.
We got up early in our hotel in Jackson and headed up and over Teton pass to the Coal Creek trailhead. We skinned briefly up the drainage and then began a steep bootpack up the southeast shoulder of Taylor Mountain.
photo- Zach Taylor riding Teton pass. photo by Ricardo Moreno, 2012.
We repeatedly switched between skinning, booting, and full on snow climbing to reach the summit. I think there is an easier way to the summit but we were not familiar with the area, and the topo was not revealing so we did it the hard way.
Regardless, after much work and transitions we reached the summit and enjoyed beautiful views of western Wyoming and eastern Idaho from the summit.
photo-Joel near the summit of Taylor Mountain. photo by Zach Taylor, 2012
photo- Zach Taylor near the summit of Taylor peak. photo by Ricardo Moreno, 2012.
photo- The view from Taylor peak's summit. photo by Zach Taylor, 2012.
photo- Joel on the summit of Taylor, photo by Ricardo Moreno, 2012.
photo- Zach Taylor on the summit of Taylor Mountain. photo by Ricardo Moreno, 2012.
photo- Pollo on the summit of Taylor Mountain. photo by Joel Paula, 2012.
We took a few minutes to admire the views. We were still a little worried about the snowpack due to previous day's events, despite the avalanche center rating the aspect and elevation we were about to ski as low, so he hacked away some chunks of cornice and dropped some good sized snow blocks down the east face before dropping in. We saw no results and dropped in one at a time.
I dropped first riding down several hundred vertical feet to get a pic of Pollo hucking the cornice at the top of the line;
photo- Pollo getting air of the cornice at the top of the east face of Taylor Mountain. photo by Zach Taylor, 2012.
Enjoy the action shots!!
photo- Pollo skiing the east face of Taylor. photo by Zach Taylor, 2012.
photo- Joel skiing the east face of Taylor. photo by Ricardo Moreno, 2012.
photo- Zach Taylor riding the east face of Taylor. photo by Joel Paula, 2012.
-photo-Pollo skiing Taylor. photo by Zach Taylor, 2012.
photo- Zach Taylor riding Taylor. photo by Ricardo Moreno, 2012.
photo- Joel skiing Taylor. photo by Ricardo Moreno, 2012.
photo- A look back up at our line. photo by Zach Taylor, 2012.
The descent off Taylor Mountain was awesome, averaging 35-42 degrees in pitch with a cornice huck at the top and a runout that brought us almost all the way back to the trailhead without much traversing. It is absolutely a Wyoming classic. Big mountain riding at it's finest. I look forward to returning to the range this spring to get out on more peaks in the area. Enjoy a couple more pics of the trip below:
photo-Zach Taylor and Joel Paula enjoying sunrise over Teton pass. photo by Ricardo Moreno-Contro, 2012.
photo- Joel Paula and Zach Taylor enjoying the ride back up Teton pass after a stellar run down Glory Bowl. photo by Ricardo Moreno-Contro, 2012.
photo- Zach Taylor enjoing powder in Wyoming. photo by Ricardo Moreno-Contro, 2012.
photo- Zach Taylor and the Wyoming sunrise. photo by Ricardo Moreno-Contro, 2012
photo- Zach Taylor and Joel Paula skinning on Teton pass with Taylor Mountain pictured in the background. photo by Ricardo Moreno-Contro, 2012.
photo- Joel Paula is all smiles in Wyoming. photo by Zach Taylor, 2012.