Adv Log: Grand Teton

The Grand Teton

A two day summit attempt

What's up clay? Tyler and I are going to climb the grand teton tomorrow and Friday. We have a permit for 5 people and our one roommate just backed out so there's an open spot. Would you want to come? 

- Jason @ 18:55 Wednesday July 31st, 2019
6:30 the next day I was loading my pack into a minivan with a cold cup of leftover coffee in my hand, wondering if I was ready for this. The Grand Teton is a 13,775 ft / 4199 m tall mountain in NW Wyoming; famed for looking super cool especially from the right angle, being the second tallest peak in the state, and have sections with a technical (read: roped up climbing) ascent. My highest peak to date.

About 9:30 we rolled into the ranger station to check in for our backcountry camping permit and get bear cans. In the ranger station is a board with climbing gear attached and a scary story of a group who got struck by lightning. The gear is a combination of melted and broken, showing just how bad a storm near the upper parts of the mountain can be. We, of course, noted that some of the gear still looked bomber. After learning what the acronym WAG meant, (Waste Alleviation and Gelling), we headed to the trail head.

From the trailhead we got a group to take our photo. We set off, quickly falling into a line with a good pace. Having hiked Mt. Borah, ID last week, the start felt kinda easy. It wasn't nearly as steep as Borah and gave me the sense of athleticism I needed to power up these long switchbacks. As the trees thinned out, we became increasingly in the sun, reminding some of my compatriots that they forgot sunscreen. The group who took our photo had been alternating breaks with us so we kept passing one another along the trail, until we hit a split in the trail leading one way to a pleasant lake and the other towards our camp.

Shortly after the divergence, we came around this corner. Now before this, I'd say the trail was nothing special. Just some switchbacks and some trees on a very well maintained dirt trail. But wow. We rounded this corner and the park opened its door to us. It was an amazing rock lined trail with a waterfall in the distance and our first peak at the Grand since starting. It was magnificent. I didn't even think to take a photo; at that moment I was focused in on just that scene.

Tyler and I sat on some rocks, pulled out a quick snack and waited for the rest of the group to catch us. I'm not the fastest hiker there is, not even close. Tyler is well on his way to being the fastest though. So I mean it when I say that I was happy I could keep pace with his lead. The gang shortly caught us and seeing snacks in hand, they bust out lunch. Happy to continue eating, I grabbed my lunch and chowed down as well. The waterfall in the background and the joking between bites made for a great impromptu feasting ground.

Carrying on, from what felt like a long enough hike already, we hit the first boulder field. Basically there was no trail anymore and you had to maneuver yourself across man-sized boulders hoping to connect once again to the trail. I'll be a it a bit less dramatic than that. It's more like hopping on rocks towards a much taller rock and then finding the trail to said tall rock. Navigating over areas such as these is one of my favorite parts of hiking. Big, beautiful gneiss and schist rocks crossing back and forth across this river. Don't slip.

... to be continued