Monday, September 3, 2012

Summiting the Grand Teton

I just got back from an awesome trip to Wyoming with my friend and business partner, Chris Latham.  We flew into Jackson Hole on Sunday with the intent to climb the Grand Teton later that week.  Upon arrival, our first mission was to find some white gas for our stove so that we could cook dinner.  Much to my surprise and chagrin, this process took over an hour and visits to 7 different stores before we finally found the much-needed fuel.  Finally successful in our mission, we then proceeded to the American Alpine Club's Grand Teton Climber's Ranch to crash for the evening.

View of the Tetons from the Climber's Ranch.
Monday saw us up relatively early to meet the rangers at Jenny Lake Ranger Station for our camping permit to be used later in the week.  After filing our paperwork and getting a bear canister, we hopped the shuttle across Jenny Lake to the Symmetry Couloir for an acclimatization hike.  After hiking to 10,000 feet, we decided to head back down due to building afternoon weather.

On the way up the Symmetry Couloir.
Jenny Lake, as viewed from the Symmetry Couloir.
On Tuesday it was time to start the hike up Garnet Canyon to the Grand.  In an effort to travel a bit lighter, we cooked dinner ahead of time while we ate our breakfast at the ranch, thus saving ourselves from having to carry a stove and fuel on the 5-mile, 4,000 foot hike to camp on the Middle Teton Glacier moraine.

On the way up Garnet Canyon, Nez Perce on the left, the Middle Teton on the right.
Chris below Spalding Falls.
The Middle Teton, from the Upper Exum Ridge
We began our day the next morning at 3:15am for the summit push.  Our plan was to hike to the Lower Saddle, climb the Upper Exum Ridge (III 5.5) to the summit of the Grand Teton, descend the Owen-Spalding route, break camp, and hike all the way back to the Lupine Meadows trailhead in time to grab dinner in town.  Needless to say, we needed to get moving early.

Chris approaching the base of the "Friction Pitch"
After a little tricky route-finding in the dark, we made it to the base of the famous "Wall Street Ledge" in time for day break.  A few hours later, we were lucky enough to have the summit to ourselves!  The climb was truly awesome, and the pizza and beer that evening never tasted so great.

On the summit!

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