Ski Descent of the Grand Teton

The alpine start is something that many of us have become familiar with over our climbing and skiing careers.  Our relationship with it could be characterized easily by love or hate. It holds the keys to success with many mountain objectives but not without providing a touch of insanity to those who choose it’s path. Sleeping perhaps only two hours in a night and then rustling out of bed to drive to the trailhead may seem as if you had never had awoken from your slumber. You shoulder an unpleasantly heavy pack, spark up your headlamp and take off from the perceived comfort of humanity. Trudging in silence or perhaps cracking a few, “this is crazy” jokes, you find the mileage slipping by quicker than ever before.  After a few encounters with the elusive “shadow moose” or “dead-tree-stump bear” your adrenaline pumps and drives you more quickly up the mountain side. Finally a junction is met, where mode of travel or direction must change, and we as mountaineers must transition from our drowsy state to one of heightened awareness.

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