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 Post subject: Gros Ventre Wilderness, WY: Ski Cabin, Gros/Jackson Peaks
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 5:54 pm 
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Location: The Magic City
Excerpted text and select photos of another wonderful Greater Yellowstone adventure, from my site (link at bottom of page if you want the whole shebang)

It’s funny the grip some places can have on your psyche. Since my first visit in 1998, I have “seen this place in my dreams” (to borrow the cliché) many, many times. And seeing actual, physical places in my dreams is extremely rare for me. No other place I’ve experienced evokes the same sensations, memories, or contentedness as the Jackson Peak Ski Cabin. Words can hardly scratch the surface of description, but hopefully combined with the photos of our journey back there, these can give a rough idea.

That “cabin” and “wilderness” can coexist might be confusing to some, and the history of the Ski Cabin certainly reflects some of that confusion. Built in late ’50s by the Jackson Hole Ski Club, the cabin predated the establishment of the Gros Ventre Wilderness in 1984. The establishment of the GVW’s suddenly made the existence of the Ski Cabin theoretically illegal. After a contentious period in the mid and late 80s and much diplomacy, the Forest Service determined that the Ski Cabin be allowed to remain under a special use permit issued to the Jackson Hole Ski Club. In the mid 2000s, the Ski Club really stepped up its managerial role and organized numerous cleanup/renovation events. The ski community really rallied behind these efforts and the cabin now has an entire new roof, a beautiful, efficient, clean woodstove, and lots of new shelving and cabinetry. Cleanup days occur each summer (I think). If you want to contribute to these efforts, contact the Jackson Hole Ski Club.

The genesis of this trip was actually spawned by Ryan Minton. I had a paltry weeklong break between spring semester finals ending and summer session beginning. Having finished up his season patrolling at Big Sky a few weeks earlier, Ryan was game for a trip of pretty much any nature. All spring I’d been dreaming of a big Teton trip and the chance to climb and shred some of my dream lines on the high peaks. My foray into backcountry snowboarding in GTNP didn’t really begin until after I had moved away from Jackson, so despite growing up under their shadow, I have had yet to shred most of their summits. Numerous solid melt/freeze cycles through mid-March and April made us pretty confident about stability.

However, as finals week progressed and I kept obsessively checking weather, it became clear the magic window of multiday freezing nights and sunny days would not materialize. Instead, a partial return to winter seemed to be in store, with cloudy skies, decently high snow totals and relatively cold temps. I’d had the Ski Cabin in my head as a backup plan, but didn’t seriously consider it until Ryan threw out the idea of skiing Gros Peak, the high point of the Gros Ventre Range and accessed relatively easily via the Cabin. After he mentioned this, the idea slowly “grew” on me, along with a return of all the wonderful memories the Cabin has provided over the years. Add that to the truly endless options for any sort of weather and snowpack conditions, and the Tetons were far from my mind by the time we left Bozeman on Tuesday night.

Wednesday morning found us at a road closure that put us about a mile from the summertime Goodwin Lake trailhead. Hoping this meant we’d hit the snowline quickly, we went “Teton Style” in our ski/snowboard boots from the car in honor of RandoSteve...


Arrival
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Jackson Peak East Face, perfect conditions
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East Face
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Small sampling of other terrain within an hour of the cabin
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Resting up in the evening sun, prepping for the big day tomorrow
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Welcome to the Cabin
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Day 2, heading towards Gros Peak, the summit of the Gros Ventre Range
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First view of Gros's beauty
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Heading up the Tongue on Gros Peak
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Nearing the summit
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Turns down Gros, a long-standing goal for both of us
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Back to the cabin by 2:30 PM, 9 hours after leaving. Just in time to beat the incoming storm and whip up some venison fajitas before exhaustion and Jim Beam overcame us
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Awoke to a nice winterlike powder day, so some big laps off Jackson Peak and surrounding terrain were made until the best of our Goretex was thoroughly soaked.
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Replenishing the wood supply, the only "fee" for using the cabin (all general karmic principles apply)
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Sunset pow run, remembering fallen friends of ours from the past two seasons
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One last night in the Ski Cabin vortex
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...and that's all she wrote. Check out my blog if you want the text.

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 Post subject: Re: Gros Ventre Wilderness, WY: Ski Cabin, Gros/Jackson Peaks
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 11:26 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:10 pm
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Location: Wydaho
nickstayner wrote:
First view of Gros's beauty
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Awesome shot Nick!
I'm stoked . . . I'm jealous . . . looks like an awesome trip!!! :thumpsup:


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 Post subject: Re: Gros Ventre Wilderness, WY: Ski Cabin, Gros/Jackson Peaks
PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 1:13 pm 
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Location: Oakland, CA
Venison fajitas + backcountry pow = so full of win.

Really nice trip, I'd love to get out there some time. How long was the approach to Gros Peak?


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 Post subject: Re: Gros Ventre Wilderness, WY: Ski Cabin, Gros/Jackson Peaks
PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 1:46 pm 
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Location: The Magic City
Thanks guys!
SchralphMacchio wrote:
How long was the approach to Gros Peak?

From the Cabin it took 4.5 hours to the summit of Gros. Unfortunately it's about the same to get back due to the rolling, plateau-like nature of the bench. Not sure on specifics of the other approaches, but I think they are 10+ miles...

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