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Duo ski North Face of the Grand Teton

JACKSON, Wyo. — Just looking at the photos of the North Face of the Grand Teton that were published in the Jackson Hole News&Guide is enough to make the acrophobic feel queasy. It's nearly vertical, a feat for only the most gifted climbers even in summer, included in the book "Fifty Classic Climbs of North America."

Now, it has been skied. The News&Guide reports that two mountaineering guides, Greg Collins and Brendan O'Neill, skied a route called the Direct North Face. Although unable to ski directly from the summit, they descended via crampons to ski a series of ledges. One of the ledges was only slightly wider than their skis and 610 metres above the highest point on the glacier below.

O'Neill, who has skied mountains around the world, said that the Direct North Face, while hard to compare with 7,000-metre mountains, is as "technical a ski descent as there probably is."

Miller N. Resort, the story's author, dryly noted that the two men had "found powder stashes nobody had skied before" in their March 31 feat.

Mountaineer killed by fall into Banff crevice

LAKE LOUISE, Alberta — Experience helps, but some things are just flat-out more dangerous than others. That seems to be the story from Banff National Park, where a 32-year-old mountaineer died after falling 35 metres while descending a glacier about 17km north of Lake Louise.

The skier, who was from Calgary, and his two companions had roped up, as is common for travel across glaciers, but for the descent had chosen to go untethered. Visibility was very good, and there were relatively few crevasses.

"It wasn't unreasonable to travel in the conditions they were experiencing, in my opinion," Banff public safety specialist Brian Webster told the Rocky Mountain Outlook.

"In this case, the crevasse was covered by a snow bridge, and there was no visible indication that there was a crevasse there," he added. "It was just very unfortunate."

Once again, avalanche victims were experts

I-70 CORRIDOR, Colo. — Early last week, the Aspen Skiing Co. reminded people who might climb the slopes of Aspen Mountain and Snowmass that the company wasn't doing avalanche control on the slopes, and that with the wet, heavy snow that had been falling that there were risks.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CACI) also issued a warning even as skiers and snowboarders prepared to gather on the east side of Loveland Pass for a fundraiser for the organization. A weak snow layer near the ground remained, making snowpacks above or near timberline weak.

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