Death Canyon Early Season Ice Report, Grand Teton National Park (11.10.22)

A first for Ten Thousand Too Far, this is not a trip report – but a simple conditions report on the main ice climbs at the mouth of Death Canyon in Grand Teton National Park, after a futile ice trip on November 10th, 2022.

On November 10th, 2022, Connor James and I packed a smorgasbord of gear for both ice and mixed climbing, with the intention of an early season strike on Prospector Falls. At the hands of a botched weather report, which forecasted partly sunny skies, cold temps and mild wind, we were dealt blizzard conditions. With a laser show of spindrift rocketing down the north and south walls of Death Canyon alike, we succeeded in little more than an arduous scouting mission. Sadly, the only photo we could take was of the Albright South Gully (737 Earful?) route, as horizontal blowing snow only allowed for brief snippets of the upper canyon flows. Banter aside, the report follows.

Have you been out ice climbing in the Tetons? Feel free to drop a comment about conditions below!

Death Canyon Ice Climbing Conditions Report (11.10.22)

General Canyon Conditions

The spur road to Death Canyon trailhead, from Moose-Wilson Road, was closed for the season as of 11/10/22. 18-30 inches of snow adorns the road and summer trail. Skis or snowshoes are recommended, if not mandatory, for approach. A skin track to the Sentinel Ice Gully and and Prospector Falls was set on 11/10/22.

Significant loading has occurred during the storm system between 11/06/22 and 11/10/22. The cliffs above both Prospector Falls and Sentinel Ice Couloir were chocked with snow and releasing regular large sloughs. Wind drifts up to thigh depth were encountered on the approach trail. Winds were still gusting in consistent excess of 30mph at 9:00AM on 11/10/22.

Conditions By Route

Prospector Falls (Death Canyon South)

  • The first three pitches of Prospector Falls appeared to be climbable, with a possible few short bands of rock on pitch two (though these should be covered in a matter of days with the forecasted cold snap). Pitches one and three appeared fully iced. Pitch four was beginning to form on 11/04/22, but was difficult to ascertain on 11/10/22.

Sentinel Ice Couloir (Death Canyon North)

  • The Sentinel Ice Couloir was completely bare on November 4th, and has formed a significant amount of ice since. The couloir may be climbable, however, compared to peak conditions in March 2021, it is still quite thin. The ice was dark and lumpy, indicative of probable poor quality.

Sentinel Gully (Death Canyon North)

  • The easy WI2 flow in the sentinel gully appeared formed, but was already covered in significant snow, as it is much of the season – and small, as it is much of the season.

Mouth Of Death Canyon, Albright South Gully (737 Earful?)

  • The small east facing flows at the mouth of Death Canyon were also bone dry on November 4th, are beginning to come in, though remain unformed. See pictures below.

Route Photos

Albright Peak, South Gully flows on 11/10/22
Prospector Falls on 11/04/22, before the most recent storm system
📸: Connor James

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Ski mountaineering, rock climbing, ice climbing and all other forms of mountain recreation are inherently dangerous. Should you decide to attempt anything you read about in this article, you are doing so at your own risk! This article is written to the best possible level of accuracy and detail, but I am only human – information could be presented wrong. Furthermore, conditions in the mountains are subject to change at any time. Ten Thousand Too Far and Brandon Wanthal are not liable for any actions or repercussions acted upon or suffered from the result of this article’s reading.

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