Sunday, March 06, 2011

Back to the Fool Creek burn

Nice, deep snow makes going tougher

H. Wayne Phillips on the ridge line 
Glorious, deep powder
You might say I lack imagination.
However, when the snow is this good and the skiing so wide open, why not return again and again to an outstanding area?
Saturday I hit the North Fork Teton area of the Fool Creek burn for some outstanding backcountry tele skiing.
Three feet of powder had fallen on the area in the past week, and by the time we got to it it had settled and was easy to break.
I wanted to show off this “find” to my friend Wayne Phillips and I retraced the trip that Mark Hertenstein had conceived two weeks ago.
We parked at the Teton Pass ski area, hit the road down into the West Fork and almost immediately headed east into the burn.
Here we teled to the bottom in powder that our skis cut like butter.  Then we climbed up to the east below a limestone ridge, which we finally breached at a break requiring us to shed our skis and scramble up through snow and rock.
We skied the relatively flat ridge high above the North Fork of the Teton River before turning around, down-climbing the ridge and then telemarking back down to the bottom, some 1,000 feet below.
This put us at the bottom of our original slope that we now regained for some yo-yo skiing.
The weather was a balmy 28 degrees when we began and the temperature rose to 36 when we finished. My skis slid nicely in the new powder, but Wayne’s skis started to pick up snow later in the day.
It snowed lightly off and on throughout the ski, but the skies cleared and opened up several times revealing astounding views of Mount Wright, the Lockhart complex and the wall of unnamed mountains north along the Front into the Bob Marshall Wilderness.

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