Sailing Mission To Ski a Teton Classic

Like most of the best trips, it started with a simple message.

This was no small mission, we were attempting to ski one of the ’50 Classic Ski Descents of North America’ – The Skillet.

The crew of this mission consisted of Chris Burton, the Jackson Hole local that had the dream for this line

Katie Burton, Chris’s sister, always down for an adventure.

Benjamin Flook, Montana local coming down to ski the line of a lifetime

And me, the photographer. Also making the trek down from Montana

After a month of keeping an eye on the weather we finally found our window and it was time to pack up.

Getting There

Two hours into packing I felt pretty good about having everything. It seems like you never feel like you have everything on these big missions, but it was time to start driving.

Ben and I had a 4.5 hour drive ahead of us and we wasted no time in it to get over to Jackson, WY as soon as possible so we could get some sleep in before the big day.

As we got into Teton National Park we could start to see our line, and that is when the reality of the whole thing set in…

The Skillet Glacier

We were going to be skiing that

The Approach

Chris looking off at Mt. Moran

Since we were going to be skiing this line in June it was warm enough to boat across Jackson lake and hike from pretty much the base.

The boat of choice was a sail boat

Chris and Katie getting the boat ready

This was Ben and I’s first experience on a sail boat and a pretty rad one at that. But it defiantly took some getting used to coming from a state with just mountains.

With the wind pushing us along and Mt. Moran ahead we took this time to relax and mentally prepare for the long night ahead.

It only took right around two hours for us to arrive at the beach right were we would start hiking.

From there all we had to do was pack our bags and eat dinner before we began the long hike.

The sunset was to die for

The Hike

This hike was tough from the start, with a 9:30 pm start we hoped to summit right at sunrise just in time for the snow to soften a bit for the ski down.

That was the plan at least. After traversing for an hour to get around a cliff, then walking up a boulder field with bus size boulders in the dark we finally took a moment to reassess the situation and think about the reasonability of what’s ahead.

At 2:15 in the morning, not being able to find a way around the next boulder in the dark and being behind schedule to hike up in reasonable snow we made the hard decision to call it a night on the semi-flat boulder we were on. We didn’t pack sleeping bags so we just put on all the layers we could and found a comfy spot on the rock.

It’s never fun to have to make the call to turn around. But in some situations it really does save a life. The snow would have been too warm while we hiked up, on top of that the boulder field of an approach before the glacier was taking far too long to navigate safely in the dark which only made the situation worse.

On the bright side, we did get to wake up to a stunning and very unique sunrise with Jackson lake below us.

And we didn’t let the trip be a total defeat. We managed to find a couple large snow patches around for us to take a shred on and get our June turns checked off.

And just like that it was time to head back down to the boat.

The crew ready to start the down hike

Heading back

The down hike was significantly better being able to see and now knowing how to get around the massive cliff below.

And luckily it wasn’t very eventful either. We just trudged right the way down

Seeing the boat on the shore line after hours of hiking was one of the best feeling ever

We took no rush to set sail after getting packed up.

The End

All in all I would and probably will do it all again, all except the not making it up part.

Here’s to next years attempt 🤞

Summer Skiing the Beartooths

Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all

– Helen Keller

This week I’m going to take a quick break from talking about my big winter trip and talk about a more recent even that happened just last weekend.

If you’ve never been to the Beartooth Pass let this be your alarm saying its time to pack up and go, especially if your a skier.

Friday June 4, its 8:30pm and our crew of 5 that was supposed to set off about three hours ago, we still have that same three hour drive ahead of us.

Luckily not much later we manage to pack up and knock out the drive.

We arrive just before midnight with snow fields ahead of us and the stars above us.

The next day we have planned out to ski one of the few resorts still open in the northern hemisphere, Beartooth Basin.

With stoke high and adrenaline higher we get right to the skiing.

Lapping everything from slushy snake turns to cornices and cliffs.

After our legs couldn’t take it anymore we set off to go and find a spot to eat some dinner and call it a night

Day 2, We waste no time on day two and get right after it. The night before we had an incredible vision for a jump we have all been wanting to build for years.

A Tunnel Jump!

After many hours of shoveling and a few sunburns we finally had it complete and ready to hit.

As a photographer I had a lot of pressure to be able to capture everything that was going on in this special moment, and in the end I think I was actually able to do it.

The light, the skier, the snow, It all lined up for me to get the dream shot.

After that sesh we had to get back to the valley for work the next day! What an amazing trip that I will defiantly be thinking about all summer as the days quickly get to warmer and the snow becomes thinner.

Sunrise At 12,000 Feet

“It is currently 4:30 am, I have already been awake for an hour, hoping to get to the peak by sunrise”

Its noon of March 6, 2020, everyone is finally packed up and ready to start hiking the popular trail up to Pine Creek Lake.

Hannah, Jericho & Benjamin Hiking Up

The crew we had for this trip consisted of:

  • Benjamin The back country expert keeping everyone at a good pace.
  • Jericho Brand new to skiing and back country adventures.
  • Hannah Benjamin’s sister along for the adventure.
  • Me The photographer & sunriser

The Hike Up

The hike up Pine Creek is always a beautiful one. Around a mile in you pass the falls, which at this point was frozen so it was extra cool.

The hike up to Pine Creek Lake is one of the harder 7 mile hikes with 3,500′ of vert and lots of switchbacks, but it defiantly doesn’t lack in the views on the way up as you can slowly see more and more of Paradise Valley below.

As I said, Jericho was pretty new to the whole back country skiing world and about 2 miles in he snapped his pole in half on a tricky tree crossing.

Lucky for him we managed to make it work again with some sticks and duck tape. Good As New!

After that it was rather smooth sailing as we made our way up to the lake and set up camp. I got to bed in a hurry knowing what I was in for the next morning.

Here Comes The Sun

After a long night of being woke up by the harsh wind, I checked my watch and saw it was 3:30 am. Time to go

My plan was to leave camp by 3:45 and make it to the summit of Black Mountain by 5:30 when the sun rises.

With 2 miles and 2,400′ of vert ahead of me, I set off.

I had to stop every once and a while to check my digital map and take pictures like this one to make sure I was on track as it was too dark to see what was ahead.

Once I got to the ridge I thought it would be smooth sailing from there, but little did I know that only the easy part was done.

Once you get on the ridge the walk to the summit is quite treacherous, not to mention it was partially covered in snow and ice, and I was in ski boots. The ridge consists of a lot of rock scrambling, a little rock climbing and a lot of butt clenching. But I was determined!

Eventually I finally made it and was rewarded with the best sunrise I was ever witnessed.

After running around on the top taking pictures and taking some time to relax on top, I turned around and began the trip down.

I didn’t pack my skis up so I was actually butt sliding down on the snow which was terrifying at points, but actually pretty fun. Once I got back to camp I made sure to tell everyone what they missed out on.

After that the morning consisted of starting a fire and eating lots of food.

As we packed up camp, I looked back at the mountain I had just conquered with a big smile on my face.

Headed down

The skiing down was a good time, we were stopping every once and a while to let Jericho catch up. But he was keeping up amazingly well for his 1st time.

Once you get about 2 thirds of the way down you get back into the trees and that’s when skiing gets hard. You have to point straight and hope that you find a spot to get off to the side before you get going too fast. But we all made it back and alive.

This was defiantly a more simple story than the last one but it was defiantly one that I won’t forget. If you enjoyed consider subscribing below so you can hear more as I continue writing.

Until Next Time, Stay Crazy!

Crazy Trip In The Crazy Mountains

Day One Journal Entry:

“Today was a big day. We hiked 9 miles, 2,500′ of vert, all with 40ish pound packs and one extra sled. The sled added a whole new dynamic in my mountain climbing experience, we tied it off to the end of our packs and switch off every mile or so. Although I will probably be glad we brought it along, it sure was a pain to get up here. But now we have the camp all set up for the awesome week that is to come.”

Or at least that is what I would have wrote had I remembered to journal through the exhaustion that fogged my mind as I drifted off to sleep in my warm sleeping bag.

Sunrise on the mountains to the left, and Jadon driving us up to the right.
The Beautiful Drive Up To The Parking Lot

First you have to meet the crew that made this trip as awesome as it was.

  • Jadon When he’s not hyping the group up you can find him getting inverted.
  • Andrew The new guy just trying to survive the journey.
  • Keegan The hype man
  • Benjamin The quiet guy who pops out of no where and goes bigger than everyone.
  • Isaac The video guy who can’t help himself and gets in on all the lines.
  • Me The Photographer

Day 1: And It Begins

Benjamin breaking trail like a boss

The day started at 4:30 am, started hiking at around 7, just a lot of trudging with the sled, nothing too eventful. We got to the camp site around 5 pm.

We set up camp right on the edge of Granite Lake. Lucky for us there was a layer of slushy water about 2 feet under the surface of the lake which provided easy access to water.

We were all exhausted and got to bed shortly after setting up camp.

Day 2: Sore, but ready to go

Jadon running the camera

We wasted no time and got right to the skiing. I had the honors of the 1st line of the week.

We started off basic with the line you can see in the image above, mostly sticking to the right side to get the feel for things.

Right after we ate lunch we went over to some old slide paths and practiced our avalanche safety.

Keegan (Left) and Jadon (Right) making quick work of this rescue

While Jadon and Keegan were waiting for their round at practice, they decided to build a kicker out of a drift which proved to be a nice pass time while watching the sun set.


Jadon (Left), Keegan (Middle), Benjamin (Right)

After the sun set, we all sat around a campfire, drank hot coco, and dried our boots. We were waiting for it to get really dark to try out some night skiing.

our second shot at night skiing

Once we were happy with how dark it was we suited up, turned on our headlamps, and headed out. Isaac and I set up our cameras and waited with anticipation to watch the dot of light float down in the darkness.

Day 3: Pancakes!

After staying up till midnight night skiing the previous night, we woke up at 6:30 am on a mission to get a big line in with one thing motivating us, Pancakes!

this was our line as we saw it from camp

After the 1 mile approach we peaked over the ridge that was blocking our view of the run and we began to see what we were in for.

Benjamin once again leading the way in this enormous terrain

We hiked up the left most couloir in the picture above. It was right at 800′ of vert, and around 45 degree slope, maxing out at 55 degrees.

Isaac hugging the slope to show just how steep this stuff is. You defiantly don’t want to loose a ski or fall on this stuff.

the view from the top of our run

Once we all dug out or spots to clip in, I set out to find a spot to get some pictures. It was very steep and pretty intimidating, but I managed to sneak a handful of quality turns in there.

Jadon charging down like the boss he is

But then it happened, what we all feared…

As Isaac was making a nice turn his ski suddenly ejected which left him helpless to his instincts and the snow.

Lucky for him he fell in one of the less steep and softer parts and was able to stop his sliding and catch both his skis. But as smooth as it went, don’t be fooled, he defiantly got his fair share of adrenaline from the incident.

After we skied back we finally got to break out the pancake batter.

Jadon (Left), Isaac (Right)

Jadon was our cook who made all the delicious pancakes that everyone had been longing for.

As we devoured our pancakes, we slowly began to think, “Maybe the sled wasn’t so bad after all.”

We all drifted off to sleep in our slightly wet sleeping bags with uncertainty as to what the weather had to hold. Last we saw, (3 days ago) we were supposed to get rain the next day.

Day 4: Heading Out… Eventually

As I slept, I was rustled awake every once and a while by big gusts of wind and the sound of what I thought to be snow falling on our tent.

I finally felt rested and ready to go, as I opened the tent flap I was happy to see powder right at my doorstep.

I didn’t get much in video or picture of this day. But we really had a blast!

We finally got out and skied a gully we had been eyeing up all week and did it in prime conditions. The snow was soft, what a blessing!

Sadly we knew it was going to rain the next day and made the hard decision to pack up and get out of there. We didn’t end up leaving until around 5 pm.

Jadon eyeing up his line

Right after we crossed the lake we walked under a pillow line we couldn’t resist. Maybe a mile into our walk out and we already had to stop for a line.

After that detour, we managed to stay on track and ski/hike the rest of the way out. The first half was fun and filled with skiing, but after that was pretty flat and you know how that goes.

the whole crew making their way back to the car, one step at a time

After a long walk in the dark on the road that had been snow covered only a few days ago, we finally saw the glint of the car in our headlamps. This was just before 10 pm.

And the rest is history. As we all got back to our homes I enjoyed the best cereal I have ever had, and enjoyed the soft and dry feeling of laying in my own bed.

I hope that you enjoyed this story and maybe even learned something from it or got inspired! If you want to hear more stories like this you can subscribe below

Until Next Time! Stay Crazy!