Analysing terrain data
The exposure grade does not take into account objective hazards (stone fall, seracs, etc) but only the consequences of the skier falling.
Low Exposure (E1): Exposure is limited to that of the slope itself. Getting hurt is still likely if the slope is steep and/or the snow is hard.
Medium Exposure (E2): As well as the slope itself, there are some obstacles (such as rock outcrops) which could aggravate injury.
High Exposure (E3): In case of a fall, death is highly likely.
Extreme Exposure (E4): In case of a fall, the skier faces certain death.
Rock Springs Canyon is many people’s first introduction to the backcountry of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and for good reason.
It’s easy to access, you don’t have to hike, it’s full of fairly mellow terrain, and you are not far from the boundary line.
Often, this area is chock full of tracks and even moguled at times, providing the illusion of safety and security due to the number of people accessing this area.
However, Rock Springs is not just a walk in the park.
There are numerous sections steep enough to avalanche.
There are also plenty of cliff bands with blind takeoffs.
Despite the relative ease of access and plethora of tracks, if you are new to this area take it slow and make good choices.
There is no such thing as “sidecountry”; you are out of bounds and on your own as soon as you leave the gate.
The easiest access to Rock Springs Canyon is by using the backcountry gate at the bottom of Rendezvous Bowl on the skier’s righthand side.
Head south out of the gate through an alleyway in the trees.
There is a hard to notice split in the alley as the slope gains a slight steepness.
Stay to the skier’s left and find yourself in a large chute that will bring you into the skier’s left side of Rock Springs Canyon, or continue south at the split to a large bench in the canyon.
Traverse along the bench to make your way to the skier’s right side of Rock Springs Canyon.
In between these two entrances, below the bench, is a sizable cliff band spanning most of the canyon, to be sure you’re at an actual entrance, make sure you can see all the way down your line.
From either of these two points, make your way through the canyon.
The terrain is full of benches and basins with short faces in between.
There are cliffs, trees, and boulders abound so watch where you leap! To return to the resort, follow the system of single track paths through the woods heading skier’s left towards the Hobacks around 7,500’.
This bushwhack of a traverse will lead you to the bottom of the South Hoback and the Union Pass Traverse.
There will undoubtedly be a track already set, but if not, head just past the backcountry yurt in the large basin.