In Episode 11 of "The Fifty", Cody Townsend goes after another big line—his biggest yet in his endeavor to climb and ski all the lines outlined in the ski adventure bible, “Fifty Classic Ski Descents of North America".
Giant Steps Couloir, located in the Eastern Sierra of California, is a beautiful couloir boasting 3,000 feet of vertical. It's skied by few because it requires some serious grit and determination to access—only those willing to climb around 12,000 feet over the course of the 20-mile roundtrip are granted admission.
Watch another grueling adventure: The Fifty Episode 10: Spearhead Traverse
“Go get some soggy socks and blisters. Bring your electrolytes,” says Nick Russel, token knuckle-dragger of The Fifty Project and Townsend’s partner in crime for this mission.
When Townsend and Russel scout the couloir and realize that skiing the line would be the easiest part of the adventure, they call for someone more knowledgeable about the orienteering aspect of the mission. Enter Eastern Sierra backcountry expert, Nate Greenberg, the “Guidebook Guy”. With Greenberg’s help, Townsend, Russel, and photographer Bjarne Salen become one of the few parties to bust out the Giant Steps Couloir in a single day.
“How amazing does something have to be where you can have the longest, most brutal day of your life, ride something where if you fall you’ll probably die in variable snow, and it still be the best day ever?” asks Russell near the end of the crew’s journey. “There’s very few things in the world like that that bring you euphoric joy like that.”