We Summited the Grand Teton!

Trip Start Jan 14, 2009
Trip End May 2010

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Flag of United States  , Wyoming
Thursday, July 30, 2009

We prepare to leave our three glorious weeks in Jackson Hole, WY, on all positive notes. We shared more quality time with the Aussies, summited the Grand in style (a couple times!) and spent some great family time with Lindsey's folks! 

Lindsey and Allen (Lindsey's dad) on the Harley!

After a failed attempt at climbing one of the U.S.'s tallest and most dramatic peaks in 2006, we returned to Jackson in better shape, with more experience, and with guns ablazin'.

The Teton range with the Grand Teton in the center (highest peak)

To ensure a successful, safe, summit on the Grand Teton (13,770ft), we did several preparitory steps:

1. Stashed Gear - Ben hiked up Garnet Canyon to climb Irene's Arete and stash our climbing gear for us so that when we both went up to the Tetons, we'd have more room and weight to carry plenty of food.

Irene's Arete is the prominant corner of this large rock shown here. More to come on this route!

Ben climbed Irene's Arete with Dan McNerthney of Pacific NW climbing fame!

2. Familiarized Ourselves with Teton Climbing - We climbed The Snaz (5.10a) in Death Canyon with the Aussies (yes, Dale and Kim met up with us again in Jackson this time for about a week!) to get accustomed to the rock, the grades, and the alpine environment (approaches and not-so-trivial descents).

The Snaz was beautiful but having been put up in 1964 by Yvonne Chinourd, every pitch was quite sandbagged! The long, sustained 5.9 off-width was extremely physical! (Dale climbing up to the exposed roof at the top of the 5.9 offwidth pitch.

Lindsey moving around at slung block at the top of the 6th pitch with Phelps Lake in the background.

3. Packed Plenty of Food - Our big mistake on our previous attempt at the Grand was not brining enough food to ride out any weather. This time, we brought more than enough!

Well, here's a summary of how it went.  We hiked in on Wednesday under clear blue skies and covered the 7 mile, 4000 foot approach with relative ease (since much of gear was already stashed well over half way to the Lower Saddle).  We awoke at 4am and we're roped up and ready to pitch out the Lower Exum Ridge on the Grand Teton by 6am.  11am had us simul-climbing the Upper Exum which brought us to the summit by 1:30pm. 

Heaps of wildflowers line the approach trail to Garnett Canyon

The Middle Teton and the famous black dike that splits its east face (look for the stark black line in the middle of the peak!)

Ben heading up the final snow to the Lower Saddle below the Grand Teton

Lindsey climbing high on the Upper Exum Ridge

The famous Black Face pitch!

Lindsey on the summit of the 13,770 foot Grand Teton

This isn't the summit of the Grand but wouldn't it be cool if it was!

Looking down at the North Fork of Cascade Canyon and Lake Solitude (where Ben proposed to Lindsey in June 2008)

Tim the runningdog Halder then came and met up with us in Jackson for some climbing and some Jackson County Fair Mayham!

Tim, Lindsey and Ben climbed Irene's Arete on Disappointment Peak - Tim's first summit of the Tetons

Our trio then descended back to the valley to catch some good food with the Saunder's family and the Jackson Hole County Fair. The highlights of the fair were the good old fashioned carnival rides and the demolition derby!

We had a great day boating with the family and the Aussies on Jackson Lake. The magnificent view from the boat of Mount Moran in idylic bluebird weather!

demo derby1
The Figure 8 Demo Derby. Most of the winning cars were mid 90s Volkswagen Jettas! Ben now knows what to do with his Jetta when he officially decides to retire it!

demo derby2
Watching these old-school rigs smash into each is true anarchy! Definitely something to see.

And who could forget the rides!

Tim and Ben headed back into the Tetons. Weather wasn't great (lots of hail and some snow) but they snagged an ascent of the Grand Teton (Petzolt Ridge to Upper Exum) and the Middle Teton (North Ridge). Definitely a fun trip for both of them despite some food mishaps and the less than ideal weather.

Tim and Ben climbed the Middle Teton via its North Ridge (the rocky ridge coming down right and towards you from the summit)

Oh how Ben likes downclimbing (the Grand for the second time)!

A huge thank you to Allen and Elly who opened up their house, motorhome and toy barn (complete with bathroom and shower) to us and our friends, Dale and Kim from Melbourne and Tim from Seattle.  The adventures out together, amazing meals, and family time were so much fun! 

jackson 044
This photo is from my first visit to Jackson shortly after Lindsey and I started dating. Allen and Elly took us out to this amazing steak house (Burke's Chop House) in Jackson. I thought it'd be fun to throw this photo in to mix things up!

Link to more photos from our Jackson trip can be found here:


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therunningdog on

Good times good climbs!
Thanks you two(and Alan and Elly) for hosting me and guiding me up those mountains!

The fast food parts were memorable as well!

'Who the he'll stole our ramen!?!?!'

Attraction in Australia on

The best season to visit Grand Teton is between the Fourth of July and Labor Day, when the Northern Rockies come to life. Flowers bloom, fish jump, bison calves frolic and tourists tour. The park roads are crowded with trailers, with the well-known spots jammed with a significant portion of the millions who make their treks to Montana and Wyoming every year. Wildlife are typically visible in the park year-round. Common mammal sightings include moose, elk, bison, coyote and marmots. Common bird sightings include eagles, ospreys, sage grouse and Western tanagers.

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