For a final mountaineering adventure for the summer of 2001, Brad and I enlisted Jeb Tilly for an ascent of Mt. Moran via the CMC Route (III, 5.6). Mt. Moran is a rather isolated peak in Teton National Park and can only be reached via a canoe ride across Leigh Lake. So we rented a canoe and one afternoon paddled across to the peak where we hiked up to "CMC camp".
We made camp on a nice sandy ledge and the next morning got up at 6 am and worked our way up 3rd class boulders to a perch on top of "Drizzlepuss" - a spire of rock that sits above the actual CMC route. From the spire we rapped 150' down to a col where we regrouped and actually began the climb.
The climb is very straight forward: you ascend 5-6 pitches of moderate excellent compact rock on a giant slab above the Falling Ice Glacier and to the left of the Black Dike - a huge geological formation you can see for miles in all directions.
The final moves are easy 4th class and then you top out of a huge flat summit plateau with beautiful views in all directions. There wasn't a cloud in the sky so we all took a nap on the top before rapping down.
We rapped the route, climbed one pitch up to the top of Drizzlepuss and then descended back to camp. We then hiked back down to our canoe and paddled back to the car.
So far this route is probably my second favorite in the Tetons (it ranks just under Irene's Arete). It is a moderate straight forward route in an alpine setting with immaculate views in all directions. If you ever get a chance to try the route don't pass it up!
Mt Moran - CMC Route III 5.6, 12,605'
- Route: After paddling across Leigh Lake take the obvious trail up to the CMC camp. From the CMC camp head straight up the boulder field to the top of Drizzlepuss. If you are not familiar with the area you might want to either (a) wait till dawn or (b) hike up towards Drizzlepuss the day before to familiarize yourself with the route. We waited till dawn but while waiting heard many people yelling and stumbling around in the dark trying to find the route. From the top of Drizzlepuss make one rap to the base of the obvious route. If there are others on the route, try climbing directly up the ridge instead of up the actual CMC route. It is slightly harder but still moderate. The route Check out "Teton Classics" by Richard Rossiter or Ortenburger / Jackson's biblical guide to the Tetons for more information.
- Gear: We climbed it in sneakers with a light alpine rack. Two ropes are necessary for the descent.
- Time: Take 2 days to do the route. Row across the lake and hike up to high camp on the first day. You can easily summit and be back to your car the second day. It took us approx. 5 hours to go from high camp to the summit and back.
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