Once you crest the resort boundary and drop down the other side, towards the Grand, away from ski patrol's purview, into no-man's-land...Targhee is a completely different beast. The peaks that make up the resort appear to have been bluntly bisected along their north-south axis and its east faces are a multi-storied stack of increasingly massive cliff bands and stark faces. Now that the snowpack has far surpassed a hundred inches, everything previously rocky or bushy has filled in and while the resort is clogged with Mormons and young rippers, we prefer to partake of the Playground, the very accessible but very daunting area below the initial huge cliff band, where the record is held for the largest cliff jump, where (if you are so inclined) you can easily huck ten foot wind-established cornices or fifty foot dun and tan diving boards that loom above the supple powder field.
|Behind the resort...take one lift, kill yourself|
We brought a span of rope (along with our friend Dapper Dan who actually knows how to use rope) because, why not? Ambitious lines require ambitious precautions, right?
After a quick pow wow the guys behind me finished the couloir. Tyler had unearthed my wayward ski at the bottom so I had only to wait, growing colder in the shadows as they made their way back up to begin the difficult ascent. I hugged the slope for a long time, curiously watching them mill around at the choke point. Finally Dapper booted up to me, using my errant ski as an anchor, and let me know that our slough had uncovered a head-tall cliff at the bottom of the couloir and that he had clambered up with Ben and Tyler's help and now would attempt a rescue by rope.
|The boys stranded under a newly-exposed cliff|
|The climb out into the sunshine|