Shattered – Story of a Mountain Rescue

I was climbing on the Valhalla Traverse on the Enclosure/Grand Teton when my climbing partner, Michelle Smith, slipped and fell on the challenging terrain. After tumbling 30 feet down the mountain, the rope came taut and she stopped. It was then that she looked down at her misshapen leg and realized the severity of the situation. This is the story … Read More

Stephen KochShattered – Story of a Mountain Rescue


Steve Romeo, skier and blogger of, posed  a question about skis vs. snowboard – which is a better mountain descent tool here.   There are many excellent comments, so check out the link above for those! Following are my responses from that discussion. Randosteve:  I think it might be a little easier for snowboarders than skiers to descend the … Read More


Got Wind?

This is a short video of my partner hiking up from the lower saddle towards the Black Dike on the Grand Teton last week. We started out in the rain and knew the forecast was for storms but went for it anyway knowing we would turn around if conditions warranted it. The gusts were in the 55-60 mph range and … Read More

Stephen KochGot Wind?

New Route on North Face of Grand Teton in Winter

On February 6, 2007, Hans Johnstone and I completed a new route on the north face of the Grand Teton, Squeeze Box (IV M7, A0, 1,000′). The line lies between Shea’s Chute and the Alex Lowe Memorial Route and ascends a weakness up a beautiful granite buttress. I had spotted the line during a flurry of activity with various partners … Read More

Stephen KochNew Route on North Face of Grand Teton in Winter

Grand Traverse – First Winter Ascent

Stephen Koch This was first published in Alpinist Magazine in June, 2004. On January 17 at 4:45 a.m. Mark Newcomb and I began the Grand Traverse, a route that comprises ten peaks (in order: Teewinot, Owen, Grand Teton, Middle Teton, South Teton, Ice Cream Cone, Spalding, Gilkey’s Tower, Cloudveil Dome and Nez Perce) in Grand Teton National Park. Despite several … Read More

Stephen KochGrand Traverse – First Winter Ascent

A few words about my friend Mark “Newc” Newcomb and the Black Ice Couloir

Mark Newcomb and I skied and snowboarded much of the Black Ice Couloir on the Grand Teton in the middle 1990′s. We used a rope to belay the first 200′ because it felt like the right thing to do. I think Mark would have preferred to not have used the rope but acquiesced because I wanted it. There was an … Read More

Stephen KochA few words about my friend Mark “Newc” Newcomb and the Black Ice Couloir