The vague plan was to head to the saddle between the Middle and the South Teton, scoping out conditions of possible lines along the way. The immediate plan was to enjoy rare December sun somewhere in the Teton Range. We made our way carefully into the south fork of Garnet and cut up towards the Southwest Couloir of the Middle Teton.
After two days of relentless snowfall, we awoke to clear skies over the Cerro Catedral Mountain Range in Bariloche, Argentina. The crew consisted of guide Andrew Berns, Cam FitzPatrick, Chase Josey, Chris Poe, Galen Knowles, my brothers Jack Hessler and Brolin Mawejje, and me. Our mission in South America was to capture the highest level of snowboarding possible for our upcoming documentary Far From Home.
It was one of those rare bluebird powder days in Las Lenas, Argentina. But on this day most of my riding buddies had scored invites on a free snowcat ride to a coveted backcountry zone. Too shy to ask for a spot on the snowcat, and feeling unworthy of an invite, I headed out for a solo mission.
“We’re going up Aguille du Midi with Douds. You should come!” Douds (pronounced- dudes), a.k.a. Jonathan Charlet, is a former world champion and professional mountain guide in Chamonix. The infamous L’Aguille du Midi holds the world record for highest vertical ascent cablecar. The twostage tram ride takes passengers from town at about 1,000 meters to the jagged peak at 3,842 meters. The only way to really put it into perspective is to imagine a two-stage tramcar stretching from the valley floor to the top of the Grand Teton.
For the third time in my life, I boarded a plane with a final destination of Bariloche, Argentina. As a veteran to the area, if that’s what you wanna call it, the laidback airport security and gypsy luggage thieves, who wait for you to walk away for a moment so they can steal your luggage, seemed normal to me. Everything went smooth as sand. I had to run around all of the luggage carousels for nearly an hour to find my duffel bag, and the 45-minute immigration lines were mere child’s play, compared to the 10-hour flight from San Francisco.