Tag Archives: Back Country

4800 y/o Human Remains Found in the Tetons

Friday, April 1st, 2016

I can’t believe this is being erased from the internet!

Only known photo of remains found in the cave

A couple weeks ago local ski enthusiasts, Clarice Prairie and Becca Tacloet, took off for a quick hike up the Grand Teton for what they thought would be a non-eventful spring ski. They noted several new rock slides  from the early March earthquake swarm along the way, but continued their hike to the top. As Prairie and Tacloet were climbing over some lose rock from a slide, Prairie slipped and fell into a narrow space in the rocks that opened into a small cave. She nearly landed in the lap of some human remains, next to the remains were some modern electronic devices. Prairie and Tacloet took several photos, noted the GPS location in their iPhones, and continued with their ski. When Prairie and Tacloet arrived at the trail head they notified the local authorities of their discovery, and texted photo of their find to me.

Archaeologist and global warming expert, Vika Starkington, was in the area doing a study of ancient human dwellings recently uncovered by melting glaciers. Starkington excavated the site and sent samples to Washington for carbon dating and DNA testing. The carbon dating concluded everything found in the cave was approximately 4,800 years old. “This is very confusing” said Starkington, “The lab ran [the carbon dating test] 4 times, and the results were the same.”

JJ Wrightner Feb 2015
          JJ Wrightner

The DNA results were even more confusing. The remains were that of JJ Wrightner, a local inventor that went missing last June. On the day of his disappearance his VW Bug was found at trail head with his journal and a note on the seat. Wrightner had been working on a time travel device, the note said that he had found the secret to time travel, it’s elevation. He planned to go to 1955 to prove his hero, “Doc” Brown, was based on a real person. His note said that if he did not return something may have gone wrong, and he was leaving his journal for further time travel study.

Grand Teton National Park SAR found Wrightner’s day pack and hiking stick on the top of the Grand Teton but never located his body, until now. Geologist Liv Klinger hypothesized Wrightner’s time travel device was a success but tragically put him in the Tetons at at the time of the last big earthquake on the Teton Fault, and Wrightner’s time travel device being the cause of the earthquake. When called for an interview, Klinger said she was focusing all her time trying to pass a bill banning time travel.

Clarice Prairie and Becca Tacloet

Local news papers, Jackson Hole News & Guide, Plant Jackson Hole, and Buckrail.com all ran this story earlier this week, but now the stories are gone! Prairie and Tacloet were last seen yesterday getting pushed into a black SUV near Albertson’s by two men in black suits. Witness Kay Krachy said “I was waiting for Wolfie to do his business when this black SUV stopped then two men in black jumped out and grabbed the girls. It was just like something from the X-Files.”

In addition, all of Prairie and Tacloet’s social media accounts have vanished.

My First Time Skinning

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

Last week was crazy! Along with working every day, I had a performance Tuesday with the Jackson Hole Community Band for the Wyoming  Special Olympics, then an Avalanche classes after work Thursday & Friday, and classes all day Saturday & Sunday with field work, AND I went to the Banff Mountain Film Festival Saturday night.

My turn to be the victim

The field work for Saturday and Sunday’s courses needed either Back County Skis, snowboard & snow shoes, or just snow shoes. I have snow shoes and am comfortable on them but I thought I’d have more fun on skis so I rented a back country ski package. Backcountry ski gear is different than downhill and come in a couple different skiing types, I rented an AT set up. The skis are the same as what I’m skiing on this year (fat skis) and  the boots are just a little different than downhill boots. The bindings are different, they lock down and ski just like alpine skis but the heals release for hiking and climbing, mechanically they are quite simple. You attach a ‘skin’ to the bottom of the ski, a removable traction enhancer that allow the skier to walk uphill on snow, referred to as ‘skinning.’ (I found a nice report on backcountry skiing at: http://everything2.com/e2node/climbing%2520skins ) I’m not the best skier out there, but can ski almost anything, but I need to work on my technique.

View from the top

Saturday we skinned Philips Canyon off of Teton Pass, we dug snow pits, we skinned, we searched for beacons, we skinned some more, at the end of the day we skinned up a ridge, took off the skins and skied down. That was the second worst ski run of my life, I fell every turn, the snow was so crusty I could not make my turns! (My first worst run was my very first day on skis when I was a senior in high school and fell in the lift line.)  The snow was so crusty I could not make little adjustments to my skis to balance, trees were everywhere so I did not have a long stretch to figure it out, and trying to lift my ski out of the crust was messing with my balance. Whenever I tried to lean back a little to get my tips out of the snow crust I fell on my ass, so I tried to pick up some speed to let my weight power through the turn and did a face plant. I did find one spot with better snow where I made 3 good turns, the instructor that had to say stay with me said “there you go” and BAM! back to the crust and more falling. I resorted to snow plowing just to get to the bottom. Once we got near the bottom, out of open area and between all the trees I did much better but by that time I was so tired I was moving pretty slow. I only had one moment where “what was I thinking” ran through my brain and that was on the way UP the ridge, I was pretty winded. Sunday we did it again! This time we skinned from the top of Teton Pass to the top of a bowl called Avalanche Bowl stopping to dig a couple of snow pits along the way. There were a few inches of fresh snow, I had a much better ski down. My calves were sore for 2 days!

Teton Pass

I learned a lot in the class including I have a lot to learn, I’m wearing my transceiver wherever I ski, I’m perfectly happy skiing a 25 degree slope, I need to add some more cardio exercises to my daily exercise routine, every one who plays in the snow should take the class, and “Pucker Factor” is a technical term used by avalanche experts.

I’ve driven over Teton Pass many times over the last 29 years, whenever I saw people hiking up the snow covered mountain to ski down I’d think “look at those crazy people” who knew I’d be one of those crazy people and have fun doing it.

Overall I would still say I had a fun weekend.

Digging Snow Pit