Sunday, March 08, 2009

South Fork Waldron doesn't disappoint

Jim Heckel assesses South Fork Waldron Creek
I’ve been feeling under the weather for the past two weeks, so Saturday’s ski was designed to be more exploratory and easy going than a push.
Jim Heckel and I went to the Front in search of snow and found plenty of powder at the higher elevations, along with high winds and biting cold.
The most popular backcountry ski run in the Front is probably the North Fork of Waldron Creek just south of the Teton Pass Ski Area.
We went further south and dropped into the South Fork of the Teton that drains the Teton Peak basin. This is the quickest route to the top of the peak.
This has long been the province of snowmobilers.
I reasoned that the trail to the Teton Peak headway is wide enough to accommodate both machine and man.
But just in case, we went right to the bottom of the creek and skied back and forth across the Waldon South Fork, enjoying untracked powder and scenery that could best be described as a combination of O’Brien Creek in the Little Belts with Bob Marshall reefs as the backdrop.
We did encounter two snow machines late in the ski and heard them throughout the trip.
We gained about 2,000 feet of elevation and got into the basin just below the small lake that drains the headwall separating the Front from the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area.
Up high we cut across one fork of the creek to another to get to that basin and found a nice tele slope, which we used, natch.
The Front never disappoints. The vistas are incomparable and there’s a feeling of being in truly wild country.
I’m glad to have returned here after a four year absence from the South Fork..

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