Early Ice in Teton Canyon – Boy Scout Falls (WI3+, M3, R) Trip Report & Eagle Scout Conditions Report (11.24.22)

On Monday November 21st, 2022, Mike Parri and I walked the southern wall of Teton Canyon, scouting the Eagle Scout (Mack-Tyson) Pillar and eventually climbing Boy Scout Falls in precariously thin WI3+, M3 conditions, seemingly the first ascent of winter 2022/23.

We’ll keep this short winded, as the story in this adventure was not in the climbing, but in the early season discovery of ice conditions in the Boy Scout Cirque area of Teton Canyon. Our original plans had nothing to do with the intimidating and infamous Eagle Scout Falls (a.k.a Mack-Tyson Pillar, Eagle Scout Pillar, “The Pillar”) – the brute was visible from the road and appeared to climb somewhere in the WI5+ range, above my November pay grade – but rather Boy Scout Falls, the west side’s resident multi-pitch moderate. What devolved was a botched and bushy approach in low snow conditions, resulting in disorientation and an accidental detour to the back of the Boy Scout Cirque – home of the Eagle Scout.

Whispers through the grapevine propose at least three ascents of the Eagle Scout this year. With ten screws and a single 60 meter rope I was in no position to add my name to that hat, but I enjoyed basking in the aura of perhaps the most striking single pitch ice formation in the Tetons.

The Eagle Scout Pillar in the Boy Scout Cirque

After a break for hot tea and cashews we corrected course and arrived at Boy Scout Falls, approximately one mile-ish to the east. We achieved the almost certain first ascent of winter 2022/23, climbing a dodgy conglomerate of rotten ice ramps, frozen turf and sugar dusted limestone slabs on pitch one (WI2+ R) and thicker, though still thin and technical ice on pitch two (WI3+, M3). A curtain directly above the bolted halfway belay, tucked behind a large limestone flake that necessitated many stemming moves between ice and rock, and even a few chicken-wing wide crack jams, accounts for the aforementioned M3 grade and the most intriguing climbing of the ascent. Great steep ice, albeit short, was enjoyed on the traditional WI4 finishing bulge, which perhaps climbed easier than mid-winter.

Boy Scout Falls in thin November conditions
The beginning of a mixed pitch two
Mike Parri on the upper curtain of pitch two of Boy Scout Falls

Ice season is heating up, and so long as I continue to venture into new early season terrain I will continue to post pictures and route beta on 10K2Far (subscribe below for notifications). Lest someone is of Eagle Scout caliber, the mortal routes in Teton Canyon will need another few weeks to be considered “in”- or better said, worthy. At this point, Grand Teton National Park seems a little ahead of the west side.

Happy Thanksgiving, and icicle bashing, everyone!

Ten Thousand Too Far is generously supported by Icelantic Skis from Golden Colorado, Barrels & Bins Natural Market in Driggs Idaho, Range Meal Bars from Bozeman Montana and Black Diamond Equipment. Give these guys some business – who doesn’t need great skis, gear and wholesome food?

Errors? Typos? Leave a comment below or send an email to bwanthal@gmail.com

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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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