Perhaps one of the most famous peaks in North America, the Grand Teton near Jackson, Wyo., is a mountain that demands attention. So it's no surprise that when Jimmy Chin saw it for the first time, he was captivated.
"The first time I saw the Grand, I could barely conceive of climbing it, much less skiing down its steep, snowy ramparts," Chin writes in "Fifty Classic Descents of North America."
Since then, Chin has lost count of the times he has summited the mountain. While training to climb Everest, "I skied [the Grand] three times a week for two weeks," he tells Cody Townsend in the latest episode of "The Fifty." So it makes sense Townsend used Chin as his Grant Teton "secret weapon" during his mission to ski all of the lines listed in the book "Fifty Classic Descents of North America."
The climb to the 13,770-foot high summit of the Grand Teton via the Ford-Stettner Couloir is not easy, even for these professional athletes. This episode marks the first time we see Townsend and his filmer Bjarne Salén use ice climbing techniques, and Townsend even takes a shower mid-route. Eventually, the trio make the summit for yet another beautifully long descent with less-than-ideal snow conditions.
Townsend takes on Giant Steps: The FIFTY Episode 11
"Think about how much more moral character you have now," Chin says when the team arrives back at the trailhead as the sun sets behind the Grand Teton. "That was so gnarly."
But, based on Chin and Townsend's smiles, one can't help but remember how Chin closed his essay about the Grand Teton in the book: "Every time you get up and down the Grand is a gift."