|Otter Body marked, photo from|
As we drove up, we were in contact with Zahan Billamoria. He successfully guided a group up and down the Grand that same day and offered a few reassuring thoughts on snow stability. He was also kind enough to offer us a garage to pack gear and a room to sleep in before our ridiculous 12 AM wake up. Right when we pulled in, he opened his computer and showed us what he and his clients were up to earlier in the day. It looked magical. They skied from the summit of the Grand in powder.
|Zahan's beta photo|
You would think waking up at midnight the day after working a 30 hour shift would be hard. It wasn't. We all jumped up and were off to the Bradley Taggart trailhead. Skinning from the car was easier than expected and before we knew it we were at the meadows under calm skies and a full moon. If travel stayed that easy we were going to summit with multiple hours of darkness left and be on perfect pace for our link up goals. Just when we started talking about how easy the morning had been, conditions began to change. The majority of the Teepee Glacier was covered in slough/debris from the day before which made for difficult travel. We slowly fought our way up transitioning from skinning to booting and back a handful of times until we popped out at the Teepee Col.
|Andy and Tom at Teepee Col|
It was still pretty dark and Andy happened to have two headlamps, one of which was 700 lumens, so he won the lead. We climbed the Chevy roped and were pleasantly surprised at how filled in it was. The ice bulges were similar to two year ago and only 5 or so feet tall. Tom dominated the ice even though it was his first time swinging a tool. With all the wallowing, the wrong turn, and messing with ropes, we managed to waste hours getting from Glencoe to the Ford. My hope of a moonlight descent was now gone.
|Tom on the 1st ice bulge|
|Andy's self portrait mid Chevy|
|Tom and Andy heading up the Ford|
|Andy and I skinning the upper snowfield, photo by Tom|
|Tom skinning to the summit|
|Andy about to summit|
Tom had never summited the Grand before and I think he was sincerely blown away. And with good reason; it was still, the lighting was amazing and we were about to ski! We took a quick photo and started back down with the plan to regroup at the top of the Ford. We skied the moguls and then had a discussion about what to ski. My main fear with the Otter Body was that a fresh wind slab that would rip and graphically send us over the massive cliffs between us and the Teepee.
|Tom skies off the summit|
|Starting to ski the rollover, photo by Andy|
|A bit lower, photo by Andy|
|Tom coming in to our "safe spot"|
|Andy skis towards the first rap station to gain the Otter Body|
|Tom's first rap|
|Andy on the Otter Body|
|Approaching the sun/shade line, photo by Andy|
|The boys down-climbing the tail|
|Tom on the final rap to the Teepee|
|Freedom! Andy on the Teepee|
SCARPA Alien 1.0 with gaiter
Ski Trab Maestro skis
Plum Race 145
Black Diamond Whippets, Vector Helmet, Viper ice tools
Ski Trab Dragon speed suit and wind pant, and gloves
Outdoor Research Centrifuge Jacket, Transcendent Hoody, Helium II Shell
Also, one of the best trip reports I've ever read is about the Otter Body. Christian Beckwith wrote about his descent here.