The Tetons; will I ever tire of them? There are so many places to go so many mountain ranges scattered across the continent yet I am always drawn back to the magnificent view of the Cathedral Group towering above the valley floor. The tops of the peaks dusted with snow, lines traced with fingers of places I've been and places I want to go.
And so I once again found myself there - and with Brad Hornung no less, my climbing partner from years past who can always be pulled away from his home in Helena, Montana for a 3 or 4 day trip if you call long enough in advance and promise him the skies will be sunny and rock warm.
We had 4 days and our first day was rain; a deep soaking rain that promised to turn the upper peaks into ice and the lower rock walls into vertical walls of water. We spent the day killing time in Jackson and at the Teton Ranger Station where we captured climbing icon George Montopoli who pulled out books and maps and photos and pointed out route after route that we should climb. "I climbed this one with Mugs Stump back in '81. Mugs couldn't pull the crux move!" he guffawed - his eyes alight in memory.
We waited out the rain looking at maps and photos and listening to stories. When we emerged late afternoon the clouds were breaking up so we drove around looking at peaks and then turned in early. ( Read more... )
[ Gannett Peak - West Couloir ]
Winter lasted well into June in Anchorage. Snow patches lingered in the yard till June and we were still climbing snow couloirs like it was May in mid June. Then the July rains came early... rock climbing consisted of long drives to Hatcher only to turn around and drive home, mountain climbing was out of the question. Even the fishing sucked. So I made some calls, coordinated with friends and family, cashed in my Alaska Airlines miles and headed south. ( Read more... )
While we were in the Tetons in 2001 my old college roommate and climbing partner David West, drive up from Evergreen, Colorado to join me for a climb. We opted for a moderate day route and went and climbed the SW Ridge of Symmetry Spire. The route was straight forward and fun with awesome views of Owen and the Grand. We topped out and were back down to Jenny Lake in about 6 hours RT. ( Read more... )
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. ( Read more... )
In the summer of 2001 Brad Hornung and I traveled and climbed for 2 months in Alaska and Canada. After freezing in Alaska and scaring our wits out in Canada we opted to head south to the Tetons to climb warm alpine rock. Along the way we picked up Brad's sister, Christina, in Calgary and then headed south to Jackson where we met up with my brother John and his oldest son, Matthew, who was 13 at the time. ( Read more... )
...Beyond The Man's hat 1200' of rock intruded into the dawn sky. The sun was just beginning to rise and the east face turning blood red and we lay in the dirt and watched the shadows drip... ( Read more... )