NOLS WOE Tetons Ski Mountaineering Expedition: Day 9 – Blizzard Evacuation Attempt

Another long day, this time battling a blizzard surrounding us, which is supposed to drop at least 3 feet of snow before it ends. Notes:

  • Earlier 06:30 wakeup, and the last breakfast we’ll cook in our communal kitchen. Now in preparation for the impending storm, we’ve created kitchens right outside of our snow cave. Much easier cooking and staying out of the storm. Since it’s made of snow and constantly getting snowed on, the
    kitchen needs constant shovel maintenance.
  • Jake is still sick, and needs to be evacuated so he can receive medical treatment. With the storm bearing down on us and surrounding regions, we heard that teton pass has been closed – so our location is inaccessesable by car. This means that even if we did get Jake back to the road, there would be no way to get him into town. For the time being, Jake is being kept in camp. We’re making sure he’s kept warm, dry, and well fed. Hopefully the storm will break soon and we’ll be able to get Jake out.
  • Carson’s knee is luckily feeling better after yesterdays fall, and he continues to ice it.
  • To keep busy during the storm, a few of us did some runs down the hill on the other side of the meadow. With this much snow coming down, our tracks quickly get covered up. Routefinding is necessary on every lap up and down.
  • Tonight in camp I sat with our NOLS instructors and discussed evacuation decision making factors and process. We also went over standard emergency management procedures. It’a great to be able to discuss this with them and get their unique perspective.
  • Early dinner tonight, and then time in the snow cave prepping gear for more touring tomorrow.
  • Expecting three feet of snow overnight – keeping avalanche beacons with us in sleeping bags, and a snow shovel by the door. Outside temp: -3 degrees C.