Grand Teton
Home Up Live Music 14'ers Log 13'ers Log Lost Creek Wilderness Wedding & Belize Ice Climbing Colorado Pictures & Stories Wish List

[Devil's Tower]        [Granite Peak]        [Yellowstone]        [Grand Teton]

07/04-08/2007155 Tetons.JPG (124850 bytes)

Definitely my highlight of the trip!! After Yellowstone we had a day and a half to kill before starting up the mountain. We stopped all through the Grand Teton National Park for pictures and information from the climbing Rangers. Weather and good climbing conditions were definitely in our favor! Wayne and I hit town for some quick gear shopping, pizza, and beer. We met up with Rich, Jan, and Stan at the brewery for drinks, laughs, and the best fireworks display any of us have ever seen! Seriously! It lasted 50 minutes and seemed like it was never going to 165 Cascade Canyon.JPG (172387 bytes) end. Very impressive for a small mountain town.
Thursday was a rest day, so Wayne and I headed out on the trails around Jenny Lake to Hidden Falls, Inspiration Point, and Cascade Canyon. A mile or so up Cascade Canyon we saw three moose hanging out in the river. They were lounging about and chewing branches off of the bushes. Good stuff! That evening we all packed up our gear and had more laughs at the Merry Piglet eating "Roger Wendells". HA!172 Tetons.JPG (129636 bytes)
Friday was the much anticipated start up the mountain. It was about 6.2miles and 4400ft to camp from the Lupine Meadows TH, switchbacking up between Grand Teton and Middle Teton. Beautiful views all around and we were quite surprised when about 15mins into the hike there was a black bear about 10ft off the trail looking for food in a rotting log. He didn't seem to mind our presence and just kept searching around. At the start of Garnet Canyon was some fun boulder hopping then the Meadows camping area. Steep switchbacks took us past the Caves camping area and eventually to the Moraine after 4hrs, which would be our home for the next couple of days. We found some flat spots with rock walls for the tent and set up 180 Grand.JPG (155993 bytes) shop. Pumped water, eating, checking out the great views, and chatting about the climb helped to pass away the afternoon. Wayne and I did a recon hike up to the headwall since we would do that in the dark the following morning. Gary showed up and set up camp as well. Next the dark clouds rolled in. Wayne and I enjoyed the comfort of a tent during the rain, sleet, hail, and rain... but Rich, Jan, and Stan were trying to stay warm and dry in the bivy's since they chose not to bring a tent! Whooops! After an hour of storms it stopped just as184 Grand.JPG (162961 bytes) fast as it started. While tossing and turning that night, I was really doubting if we would be able to climb the following day.
The 3am wake up call brought us outside to surprisingly dry conditions! The warm wind all night helped to dry things out. We made our way up to the headwall and used the giant rope to pull ourselves up the 3rd class chimney to the Lower Saddle (~11,600ft). At the Lower Saddle we took a long break for water and gearing up, I was getting pretty cold standing around and was ready to get moving.
From the Lower Saddle we turned North and headed up past the black dike (or was it a Mexican lesbian?!) 193 Grand.JPG (120048 bytes) and towards The Needle. We couldn't see these features, but the faint trail sure did help! The class 3 scrambling started almost immediately and we tried to find the easiest path on dry rock... almost impossible. Catching up to the guided groups we asked some questions and found ourselves not near the "Eye of the Needle" but on a 5.1 pitch climbing up and over unroped. As the sun was coming up we could see Wall Street and the start of our route on the Upper Exum Ridge. We roped up and started up Wall Street. Here, Gary let us know that he wasn't feeling well and wanted to end the day. He was our lead climber for the day so we needed a Plan197 Grand.JPG (139136 bytes) B. I suggested getting back on the Owens Spalding Route since its slightly less difficult and easier to follow. We all agreed and headed back up towards the elusive Eye of the Needle.
From here we continued up the class 3 gulley and along the ridge about the "Black Rock" then popped out on the Upper Saddle (13,160ft) just in time to see a team rappelling down the giant 120ft free-hanging rappel. We checked out our route descriptions and roped up once again. Following the scree ledge around to the North, Rich lead us over the "Belly Roll" (basically a flake of rock with thousands of feet of air below) then the "Belly Crawl" (an 18" ledge you crawl along with thousands of feet of air below). He set up an anchor and brought the rest of us over. Next was the 5.5 "Double Chimney" that Rich lead like a true professional and we all climbed our cold bodies up afterwards. It was only 47 degrees on the mtn despite close to 100 degree temps the last few days! The climbing wasn't too hard, but at altitude with lots of air under our feet, and in the cold it was pushing my limits. The 199 Grand.JPG (188905 bytes) next pitch, the "Catwalk", was quite wet and exposed so Rich chose to lead up the "Owens Chimney" above our belay spot. This pitch was wet also, but a nice chimney with plenty of holds. So far the climbing remained about 5.4ish. Above here we stayed roped up and simu-climbed farther up in chimneys and broken cliffs. Next was "Sargents Chimney". Not too hard, once again, since we took our time and found the best route. We knew we were close to the summit so we unroped and climbed the rest of the slabs and broken cliffs carefully while enjoying the warm sun that was popping over the ridge. One last chimney, 75ft of scrambling and there we were on the summit!!!! I got a bit choked up but was SOOOOO excited! It took 7.5hrs due to being real careful and having to change routes earlier. We relaxed and ate enjoying the summit and great views of the gnarly looking Tetons all around. Wow, I couldn't believe that we made it!203 Grand.JPG (139040 bytes)
After 30mins it was time to head down. Luckily we followed a guide most of the way which helped with the route finding. At the top of the rappel we untangled the ropes and took turns roping in and dropping down the 120ft, about half of it was free hanging!! Nothing to touch except the tiny 8mm rope holding us up. Yikes! Definitely very cool. After pulling the ropes and dodging some rockfall from the group above us, we picked our way allllll the way down the class 3 gulley back to the Lower Saddle. This was tedious and full attention was still required. We were able to find the "Eye of the Needle" in daylight, and went through there to avoid the 5.0 downclimb. Back at the Lower Saddle we exchanged high-fives and took one last break before climbing down the headwall and getting back to camp. Just over 11hrs total! Though exhausted, the thoughts of warm food and cold beer influenced us all to pack up and hike out to the trailhead. It only took a couple hours but sure seemed longer. Back in the parking lot I couldn't stop staring up at the Grand Teton still in disbelief that we were on top of that monster. WWWOOOOO HHHHOOOOO!!!!!!

152 Tetons.JPG (107959 bytes)    158 Tetons.JPG (143678 bytes)    161 Cascade Canyon.JPG (141260 bytes)    166 Cascade Canyon.JPG (131682 bytes)    174 Grand.JPG (194778 bytes)    179 Grand.JPG (173647 bytes)

181 Grand.JPG (153726 bytes)    183 Grand.JPG (137857 bytes)    185 Grand.JPG (139255 bytes)    188 Grand.JPG (131888 bytes)    192 Grand.JPG (173542 bytes)    201 Grand.JPG (187728 bytes)

204 Grand.JPG (126298 bytes)    207 Grand.JPG (174535 bytes)    210 Grand.JPG (172896 bytes)    212 Grand.JPG (127856 bytes)    215 Grand.JPG (169177 bytes)    216 Grand.JPG (193203 bytes)

[Devil's Tower]        [Granite Peak]        [Yellowstone]        [Grand Teton]