Mt Moran - Skillet

I have been up the Skillet before but that was for more of a Summer-ski than a Spring-ski by paddling a canoe over Jackson Lake. This time was a little different as Jackson Lake is still frozen with a thick layer of ice.

After doing a one-day push excursion to ski Bivuoac Peak, same partner, we decided it would be beneficial to camp across Jackson Lake at the toe of Mt Moran's skillet. A 2.5 hour later skin across the lake as the sun was dying down on Friday we made it to our proposed spot, set up our tent, made up some freeze dried meals and went to bed knowing we were only going to get a few hours of sleep.

The next morning we woke up at 3:30am but finally got out of bed around 4:00am. Getting gear together in complete darkness we made our way up to the Skillet skinning through the forested area just below it by 5:00am. About 30 minutes or so later we got full view of the Skillet and what appeared to be headlamps high up on the peak. Like really high. I couldn't believe it and was trying to recall how it felt waking up at 1:00am to ski this thing. All in we counted 6 headlamps, which we later would learn there were about 10 headlamps. How were we so much later than everyone else when our plan was to summit and ski by 10:00-11:00am due to the day time high's of 53 degrees. Seeing this, we moved with a snappier pace, my mindset went to trying to catch up to at least the last group but also knew that our timing was just fine.

We skinned about a thousand feet up before switching to crampons for the never-ending stair master that is the Skillet. The snow surface was a mix of rock hard, then the sun came out and softened the snow quickly. There was a runnel in the main shot where the snow from a week ago sloughed off from rapid heating. Also, there was a bootpack the whole way up due to the early risers, that we appreciated. Even with that, we sunk in once we got higher up and later in the day. All in it took us about 5:45 from camp to summit covering the 5000' of vertical. It was a slog and always is but worth the ski down.

Being the last group of the day we had the Skillet to ourselves. Putting boards on snow the snow was fantastic outside of the steep entrance. The entire slope had softened up just enough but not too much where it was sketchy. In hindsight, I think our timing was pretty spot on and wouldn't want to be much earlier and definitely not later.

Arriving back at camp around 12:30pm, we grabbed some beers, dried gear out and made the decision to bail on the idea of Bivouac Peak the next day. We opted to walk back across Jackson Lake and I am glad that is what we decided because my muscles could not handle another four thousand foot day.

Looking towards the future, I read the BTAC afternoon report and they stated that there was "a brief freeze" the night before we skied Moran. Hopefully that doesn't mean the end of our Spring season here in the Tetons. I doubt it but that's just how my mind works, fearing the ski season is near the end.

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