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Chasing The Winds - Splitboarding In The Wind River Range

Brendan Burns, Halina Boyd, Jimmy Goodman
6
Apr

Photos by Chris Figenshau

Every season we award a special grant to a Jones ambassador to help fund a unique backyard expedition. In 2016 we awarded the Jones Adventure Grant to Teton ripper Halina Boyd for a splitboard mission into the Wind River Range to ride Gannett Peak, Wyoming’s highest peak at 13,809 feet. After waiting out months of bad weather, Halina launched into the Winds in June 2016 along with fellow Jones riders Jimmy Goodman and Brendan Burns plus videographer Aharon Bram and photographer Chris Figenshau. Faced with a healthy balance of suffering and success, Halina and the crew brought back an amazing story and awesome views of a stunning but seriously challenging range. In the spirit of Adventure Season, we’re thrilled to premiere the video documenting the trip along with a photo gallery and thoughts on the week long expedition from Halina and Jimmy. Don’t miss the full length video at the end of the article.

Every time I talked to someone with experience traveling in the Winds, I was met with expressions of awe followed by concern. “It’s big… it’s beautiful… it’s a really long walk,” was the general consensus. This only fueled my interest to explore the region more, especially considering the trailhead is only 90 minutes from my home in Jackson Hole. - Halina Boyd

We thought it would be a long yet manageable one-day, 13-mile tour to our base camp on Dinwoody Glacier starting from Cold Springs trailhead. Instead it became a two-day post-hole struggle fest through knee-to waist-deep isothermic snow, hillsides of rushing water, muddy dirt paths and swampy marshes. - Halina Boyd

The amount of water in the Wind River Range is insane. I’ve never been in an alpine area where the rivers were that wide. The valleys were wall-to-wall waterways. Every wall was a stream coming down filling the main river. It was impossible to stay out of the water. Our boots were wet the entire trip. - Jimmy Goodman

Once we got to the glaciers travel became ten times easier. After working so hard to get there it felt like night and day, we were flying around at that point. - Jimmy Goodman

After six months of planning, plotting and rescheduling, we could not have asked for better conditions on our summit day. Heading up the Gooseneck couloir, we had perfect boot-packing conditions. With not even a breeze or a cloud in the sky, from the summit of Gannett we could look across and see the Grand Teton dwarfed by our vista. - Halina Boyd

Gannett’s summit is a long, gradually inclining ridge that eventually tops out on its northern most point. After checking out the north couloir and deeming it too slabby for a safe descent, we headed over to the south couloir. Creamy and edgeable, the spring snow was all-time—we enjoyed perfect spring corn on our descent of Gannett Peak. - Halina Boyd

There were plenty of other terrain options to salivate over near Gannett. Only the snow conditions limited our choices. We were working with a rain crust and rapidly warming temps maxing out around 50 degrees by noon. We ended up riding Le Dames Anglaises couloir which seemed like it would have the best chance of softening without getting too soft. Unfortunately, the line was the perfect angle and aspect to stay firm no matter how long it baked in the sun. - Halina Boyd

The Winds are huge alpine mountains that stick out from everything else around them. Once you’re up in there everything around you is enormous. Pretty amazing to be able to spend a week in a new range that I had heard so much about but never visited. Always stoked to be able to explore somewhere new on my splitboard. - Jimmy Goodman

This expedition tested our mental and physical strength in every way. Yet through that struggle, and pushing myself past my perceived limitations, I eventually reached a place of peace and acceptance. Stripped of all societal distractions, only thoughts of our basic needs for survival occupied our brains—the pleasure of eating around a fire at night, of finding warmth and comfort as we thawed out our wet bones. It’s in those moments of simplicity, those moments in nature that we ultimately discover ourselves. - Halina Boyd


Video By Aharon Bram

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Author
Brendan Burns, Halina Boyd, Jimmy Goodman
Published on
6 April 2017
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