I found this nice little write-up in the Jackson Hole Daily today:
Group of Skiers Almost Summit Middle Teton
On Sunday April 27 history was made as three Idaho residents made it almost all the way to the top of the third tallest mountain in the Teton range. Julia Tellman, Tyler Nelson, and Dan Rogers climbed for over seven hours, skinning and then bootpacking up Garnet Canyon and the Southwest Couloir, until ferocious winds, negligible visibility, and crippling fatigue forced them to turn around within three hundred feet of the summit.
Rogers, a veteran, homeowner, future public official, and snowboard mountaineer, was the strongest of the three and probably would have gone for a second lap on the Middle if not hindered by his colleagues. "Tyler and Julia were riding the struggle bus, for sure," he remembers. "The wind was really blowing and the altitude is always tough to cope with." The Middle Teton is 12,804 feet tall. Says Tellman, professional granola maker, "I've never been so high!...I didn't mean it like that."
|The walls of Garnet Canyon loom over Tellman and Nelson|
Photo courtesy of Dapper
Crusty Idaho native Nelson said, "We all put in a lot of preparation for this mission. Julia learned how to ski, which is really an integral part of skiing the Middle. Dan has been playing croquet almost every day to stay limber. And I've been hunting down all the good session IPAs, because when you're on the mountain, you need a beer that's high in flavor but low in alcohol."
The action started before the group even hit the trail. As they left the house at 4 am, a cop pulled Tellman over, mistaking Sunday morning adventurers for Saturday night carousers. The drive over the Pass proved treacherous, with almost half a foot of snow on the road--the most accumulation the area has seen since mid-April. The voyage stayed exciting even after the turn-around: in Garnet Canyon Meadow, Nelson was caught in a small slab slide but lived to see another day. When asked if he had any good pointers on avalanche safety, he said, "All you really need is an airbag and a GoPro. The rest will take care of itself." On the exit stretch, the group's progress was halted by a mother moose and two yearlings, who crossed the path at a very leisurely pace.
When the three adventurers, weary and wind-battered, made it to the local brewpub, all of the grizzled skiers at the bar stood up and applauded*. This reporter spoke to filmmaker Todd Jones of Teton Gravity Research over shots of vodka. "They are really pioneers of the sport. It's been at least a week, maybe even a week and a half since anyone got that close to the summit." When asked if he would consider any one of the three to be the newest athlete at TGR, he said, "I think another production company has already picked them up...Poorly Planned something-or-other." This claim could not be verified.
*Added for dramatic effect; did not actually happen