June 13, 2018

Mount Moran Skillet Glacier June 9, 2018

In 2001, Rich Lambert and I first climbed Moran via the CMC route. I recall the beautiful canoe across Leigh Lake, the bears awaiting us at the base of the great mountain and the incredible gneiss rock found on the CMC. Back then less people visited the Tetons and the feeling was that of adventure and loneliness. Moran is special in that it takes greater effort to reach it's feet. It is guarded by several glaciers and shoots straight out of two bodies of water.

Last weekend Lars and I left for Jackson around 530 PM on Friday and eventually arrived at String Lake late that night. We left the car at 4:50 AM on Saturday and unable to find a boat, we hiked the Leigh Lake trail, to Bear Paw Lake and then Trapper Lake where the trail then ended and the hell-like shwack began. For, I don't know about 1.5 miles there is no trail to the base of the Skillet Galcier and frankly it is character building, especially with skis and boots! After wandering as lost losers for what seemed like eternity, we finally made it to the drainage. We skinned up arriving at the beautiful and active bergschrund, going around it to climbers left, scrambling over the band of rock. We booted the rest of the ascent, up the handle and took the climbers right to the top. We then scrambled to the summit and arrived at 10:00 AM. 6,000 feet of ascent.

The skiing off the top of the handle was lovely, however the snow had become too soft and the sluff moved quickly in the runnel draining the mountain of excess sluff. It was sketchy as we would time the turns in order to not get hung up in the sluff that then dropped in to the runnel which drained down into the bergschrund.  A crappy place to get sucked into. The setting as always was incredible. Fortunate for us, we saw no one on Moran.

We arrived back at the bushwack area, stayed on a very faint elk or bear trail until we arrived at the trail proper. We saw this guy and gal through the trees on the trail and when they saw us emerge from the forest with skis on our backs they were like what the ....? Eventually we arrived back to the car before 3 PM Saturday afternoon for a quick dip in String Lake. All told it is 18 miles of travel.

High in the Handle

Topping out in the Handle
Scramble to the summit
Summit!
Top of the Handle
Jenny, String, Leigh and upper left Jackson Lakes
Lars frying in the Skillet
Who has more hair?

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