Trip report by Tim Walther. Photos by Christian Beckwith and Jarad Spackman
First Descent on Sleeping Indian - May 4 2008
On Sunday, May 4, 2008 Jarad Spackman, Tim Walther, Mark Tuttle and Christian Beckwith completed a probable first descent of the southwest couloir of Sleeping Indian in the Gros Ventre Mountains. They left the Elk Refuge Parking lot at 6:30am and after navigating up the Indian and across the belly, reached the summit at 11:00am. It was a beautiful day and they relaxed on the summit, enjoying the view and company. At high noon, they departed the summit and Jarad, with an Elk Antler strapped to his back, dropped into the steep chute, carving through the narrow rocks. Tim Walther followed and soon the steep skiing opened up into a huge couloir. They ripped down the couloir in outstanding Spring conditions. There were pockets of heavy snow that made a few sections challenging, but overall - what a ski! The Couloir was over 3,000 vertical feet of skiing and funneled down through steep narrow chutes, ice bulges and luge-like systems with perfect banks. The ski finished at Flat Creek Ranch, where we were surprised with a cold beer by the Ranch operators. What a treat! That was great, because the 6.5 mile walk out (in ski mountaineering boots!) out came next. They returned to their car at 4:20pm, nearly 10 hours after starting. The route was dubbed the "Horny Indian" because of the elk antler that Jarad had found, and carried all the way up and down with him! Jarad was the leader of the group and the descent was his inspiration. This route probably has not been skied before, because of the difficult access, and the fact that this couloir is only skiable in very big ski year, like this one of over 600 inches! What an adventure. Thanks to Jarad, Mark and Christian for this memorable day…
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