Top Notch Peak Summit
ElevationAscent: 1,840' 561 m
Descent: -103' -31 m
High: 10,200' 3,109 m
Low: 8,463' 2,579 m
GradeAvg Slope: 18% (10°)
Max Slope: 36% (20°)
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“A favorite Yellowstone Park spring ski in big mountains with endless options”— Andrew Wilson
After making it up onto the snow is a gentle tour south through the forest up onto the ridge. Route finding is straightforward with a compass and map, additionally it is high traffic and usually has a few skin tracks to pick from. There are a few faux-hills to avoid that may seem like the start of the ridge but be patient and the ridge line will reveal itself. Continue up the ridge, taking in the views and observations of the snow. This is really when you get your first look at potential ski lines. If avalanche dangers are high or skier abilities are low you can always ski back down the skin track and have a great day. Many people simply ski lines off of the ridge and skip the summit.
If you want to bag a peak and have some breathtaking views at 10,000' then make your way down the backside of the ridge to the southeast and skin back up to the summit to the east. Sparse trees and open terrain make the route finding obvious enough. There are places along the ridgeline and on the backside of the mountain that can produce avalanches. Additionally, large cornices will form on the ridgeline so be cautious.
From the summit views of surrounding mountains and Yellowstone Lake make for a stunning tour. On a clear day the Tetons can be seen as well. From the summit there are a number of routes down, including two large bowls, steep chutes and mellow trees. Ski back down from the summit the way you came. Stay to skiers right, near the ridge line and find a suitable chute down. If avalanche dangers are high or anyone in the group feels uncomfortable on the terrain just follow your tracks back.
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Land Manager: National Park Service - Yellowstone National Park