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Grand Teton-Owen Spalding, WY
mini location map2010-08-18
61 by photographer avatarJim_H
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Grand Teton-Owen Spalding, WY 
Grand Teton-Owen Spalding, WY
Climbing avatar Aug 18 2010
Climbing18.00 Miles 8,260 AEG
Climbing18.00 Miles3 Days         
8,260 ft AEG
Toprope II  • Trad • 5.5 Granite Excellent • 200 Feet 3 Pitches
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
My plans with a guy from Grand Junction fell threw as I thought they might, so I went to the American Alpine Club Climber's Ranch on the Park and posted that I had permits for 2 nights in the Moraine and wanted to do the Grand Teton. I found a partner pretty quickly and the next day we were hiking in to climb Grand Teton. The guy I ended up climbing with, Mark, was a far more competent alpine climber than I am. He leads trad 5.10c and has done a lot of 4 season climbs on high peaks in the last 10 years. If it weren't for the fact that he had never done the Owen Spalding ( he has done the Exum Ridge 3 times) and did not know the route, it was almost like I had hired a guide. I had not, though, so I technically am not a "tourist climber". Besides, I knew a little about mountains and climbing before I entered the area.

We originally wanted to do the Upper Exum, but we overslept and the winds were very high, so we opted for the more protected Owen-Spalding. The winds in the Tetons are very strong all the time, or so it seems, and it is much colder than what I have encountered in California or Colorado.

After we made our camp in the Moraines we hiked up to the Black Dike on the south side of the Grand to look for the entrance to the Upper Exum for the next day. Even though we didn't do the Exum, it consumed the afternoon and we got to watch an impressive 2500 foot rock slide come out of a couloir. I took video, but I was more impressed with watching the fall and it didn't come out very well.

The actual climbing took about 10 hours, but we had to wait for a party from Texas in front of us, and the approach was a lot of scrambling and hiking as well. We roped up for the area with "some exposed moves" and that took us right through the Belly Crawl. Then up a 5.5 chimney which had some ice in it. That was followed by an icy ramp that took us to the last pitch which was 5.4. From there it was a scramble to the summit. The rappel was interesting, as it was my first overhanging rappel. The high, cold winds made everything more "fun". All in all it was a good fun experience, but I don't know I would come back to do this specific peak again. It has a large guided climbing industry built around it, and the mountain is crowded. That doesn't mean I wouldn't come back to the area, I just would do other climbs or peaks.

Interestingly, this area is like the Sierra of the Rockies. It looks and feels a lot like the high Sierra, but it is much wetter than the eastern Sierra. Also, the winds are far greater than I ever had to experience overnight in mountains. I guess the other areas I have been in thus far spoiled me. It was still a good climb and it was a real thrill to be able to climb the Grand Teton. Mission accomplished!!
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"Mmmm, Yes I would, Kent". [ youtube video ]
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