For years I've wanted to ski the length of the majestic northern crest of the Wyoming Range. Known as Grayback Ridge, this fantastic alpine ridge extends for 20 miles from Pickle Pass all the way to Hoback Junction.
Derek Collins, Wyoming Range
Last Sunday, in the company of Derek Collins, I got my chance.
Starting at the Palmer Creek Trail near Hoback Junction we skied the entire length of Grayback Ridge all the way to Pickle Pass. After descending into Willow Creek we wearily walked the 10 miles from Hunter Creek to the Forest Service Trailhead at Bryan Flats. In just over 18 hours we traveled over 34 miles and ascended over 6,300 feet.
Ski-raftoneering, Willow Creek
Utilizing packrafts, we had intended to return to our starting point on the Snake River by paddling Willow Creek and the Hoback River. Unfortunately, a broken paddle, numerous strainers, and a descending sun hindered our plans. After battling our way down the uppermost reaches of Willow Creek we opted instead to hike out the Wyoming Range National Recreation Trail to the Byran Flats Trailhead, where my wife kindly met us just before midnight with two hot pizzas and root beer.
Forrest McCarthy, Grayback Ridge
photo by Derek Collins
“The true skier does not follow where others lead. He is not confined to a piste. He is an artist who creates a pattern of lovely lines from virgin and uncorrupted snow. What marble is to the sculptor, so are the latent harmonies of ridge and hollow, powder, and sun-softened crust to the true skier.” - Sir Arnold Lunn