Pinedale Canyon

Grand Teton National Park

Jackson Hole

Steep tree skiing at its finest.

Ski Touring Severe

Distance
3.9 km
Ascent
19 m
Descent
858 m
Duration
1-2 hrs
Low Point
2.2 km
High Point
3 km
Gradient
48˚
VIEW ON MAP
Pinedale Canyon Map

Description

Pinedale is a lesser known canyon just past Four Pines Ridge. The canyon bottom is not particularly steep and full of benches and short pitches, much like Green River or Rock Springs, but the real reason to go to Pinedale is the steep, tight north-facing trees. The protection from the trees can produce wonderful, consistent powder, as the wind doesn’t usually affect this slope as much as others. Though many sections have clear alleyways through trees and cliffs, the forest is convoluted and there are mysterious obstacles scattered throughout. The dense patterning of the trees makes it hard to discern particular runs, meaning the best way to descend is cautiously.

Access Pinedale by taking the same system of boot packs as you would for Four Pines. Click in atop the four Pines Bootpack and head south/southwest into the trees. You’ll find yourself traversing across a large bench, do not drop off this bench! It may require some skating, sidestepping, and poling, but keep any height you can during the traverse. You’re aiming for the skier’s right of the canyon along the southern ridge. There are two tricky sections to accessing Pinedale Ridge, the first is making it to the ridge. To gain the ridge, you must traverse a ways from Four Pines and cross two avalanche prone slopes. Once on the ridge, ride along it watching for overhung cornice sections. You will come across a saddle in the ridge and at the end of the saddle is a cliff section. On high snow years, you can sneak through fairly easily, but with low snow there is a small mandatory air into an avalanche prone slope. If in doubt, do not attempt to stay along the ridge, instead drop into the trees and then ride the canyon bottom. If possible to maintain the ridge, drop into the trees once a couple hundred feet past the creak through the cliff at any point for incredible tree skiing. Aim slightly skier’s right to extend your run, avoiding the canyon bottom. Watch for closeout sections and avalanche prone chutes. Traverse back to resort, skier’s left, between 8,000’-7,500’.

Difficulty

Severe

Steep skiing at 38-45 degrees. This requires very good technique and the risk of falling has serious consequences.

Medium Exposure (E2)

2 out of 4

As well as the slope itself, there are some obstacles (such as rock outcrops) which could aggravate injury.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May

Features

  • Trees
  • Cliffs
  • Walk Required

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area