Since moving from New York to Colorado in December 2004, I (Julie Weinberger) have made it a point to ski on (or just about on) my birthday. This year, it fell on a Monday (May 14), so my friend Alex and I set out for Jackson Peak the Saturday before (May 12).
Neither of us had skied the towering peak in the Gros Ventres, across the valley from Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, before. But, we had collected enough beta from friends to make us comfortable with the endeavor. At 5:30am on Saturday morning, we started out on the Goodwin Lake Trail under starry skies. Before we knew it, we were seeing sunrise over the Tetons. Suddenly, being up that early and hiking in the cold could not have been any better.
|About 45 minutes in: the start of a wonderful day!|
Since we started super early, the snow was totally frozen which made the walk out there easy. We didn’t really know where we were going, so we stuck to the Goodwin Lake Trail as Alex had hiked it in the summer. She knew it would get us to Jackson Peak even if it was not the most direct route.
|Cruising up toward the bottom of the East Face of Jackson Peak with a Frozen Goodwin Lake in the background. The snow was firm, yet tacky, we were able to hike in sneakers for most of the hike.|
And, it did. By the time we got to the east face of the peak, we were roasting in the sun. A quick water break, and were making the final skin approach to the top.
|Skinning up the lookers right side of the East Face with some beautiful peaks as our scenery|
|Almost there! Skinning up the final bit of the northern ridge. Our ski line was slightly lookers left of the nose.|
By about 10am, we summited Jackson Peak. The day could not have been more stunning. We wanted to ski the north face as the pictures we had seen of the chutes tickled our fancy. Even though the east face we had skinned up was nice and corned up, it was clear the north aspect would need some time. So, I did what any good daughter should do: call her paranoid mother from the top of big mountain!
|Yup, that's right, I am on speaker phone with my mom on the top of Jackson Peak!|
After a mandatory summit photo shoot and some lunch, we dropped in around 11:30am. The snow was still really firm so we took our time skiing down. Regardless, it was such a gorgeous day for this kind of adventure, and a reminder that it's all about having fun in the mountains with friends.
|Cautiously skiing since the snow was so firm, but the background kind of says it all! Incredible.|
|Because you have to be a little silly!|
Thank you Alex for actually bringing a camera (photos by Alex de Sherbinin) and not just an iPhone like I did :-)