Friday, May 10, 2013

Teewinot, again.

Basking in the sun last year
Last week we stood on the summit of Teewinot for the 4th time in the past year.  Weather was far from perfect this time but the psych was still strong. We wanted to ski the SW couloir and then head over to Mt. Owen to see what the Koven had to offer. 

After summiting we found ourselves in the clouds struggling to find the SW couloir. We made one false start down a chute that cliffed and then resorted to following our blue dot on the phone. In the chute we found rock hard snow which made for some slow, thoughtful turns down into Glacier Gulch.  So far weather was great. It was cloudy, cold and  had been snowing lightly all morning but no appreciable accumulation was present, yet.  
Andy high on the E. Face
Heading over the notch to the SW couloir
Andy in the SW off Teewinot
We headed up Glacier Gulch until we were standing directly beneath Mt. Owen.  The cloud cover once again led us astray and we found ourselves a touch too far up canyon.  Instead of backtracking to the base of the Lower Koven we decided to sneak in half way via the ramp that traverses under the large cliff band on Owen proper.  This turned out to be a very straight forward option that I'd take again.
Heading towards the Koven
In the Koven the snow was quite firm and we were all glad to have crampons and a real tools. After climbing the upper portion of the couloir and getting multiple solid sticks with my tools I decided skiing it in it's entirety would not be in my cards that day.
Mid Koven
Heading to the upper snowfields, Koven in the background

As we were climbing the Koven, the winds and snow fall picked up and we found ourselves on the East Snowfield with less than ideal snow.  There were isolated pockets of wind slabs that we wanted no part of.  To make matters worse,  the rate of snowfall and winds kept picking up.  We turned around right under the summit block and decided to down boot the snowfields to avoid taking a potential ride.
Sometimes it's good to force it through bad weather but that was not the day.  We were all feeling the growing strength of mother nature and were not excited about it.   
Bailing off Mt. Owen
I down climbed the majority of the upper chute.  Andy made a few turns and then opted to down-climb as well.  Teague was feeling brave and kept his skis on the whole time.  What a psycho.  This was STEEP and FIRM.  Props to Teague.
Teague easing onto the ice
Ready to get out!  Photo by Teague
Teague cautiously side-slipping over the ice I just down climbed with 2 technical tools and crampons
Teague, looking cool


  1. Teewinot again!! Good for you! I need to get up there before the spring ends! The Koven is a neat spot in them hills for sure.

  2. I down climbed those top turns too. Not too proud to admit that.