Thursday, July 23, 2009

Our Trip to Attempt to Climb the Grand Teton!

I decided to re-organize the messages I had texted to the blog while we were on our Teton trip. They might be a little easier to understand this way!! I also added in some details and pictures!

Friday, July 10, 2009
On our way! We left Sartell at about 3:10pm

Made it to South Dakota at 7:30pm. Ended up taking 71 south from Willmar to I-90 west. Stopped for supper in Windom, MN.

Saturday, July 11, 2009
Made it to Casper, Wyoming 4:30am Central Time. Whew are we there yet?

Well grant is having an interesting driving shift. We were about an inch from hitting an antelope a little bit ago.

Now we just got pulled over at 6:25am for doing 40 in a 30 in Shoshoni, Wyoming but luckily just got a warning :)

We made it around 8am Central Time! Just stopped at Harry's place (Grand Teton Park RV Resort). We said hi to Ernie and are now going to get our park pass and get registered.

The views are great around Colter Bay!

And it wouldn't be a trip to the Tetons without a stop at the Snake River Overlook!

Sunday, July 12, 2009
Left Harry's place (Grand Teton Park RV Resort) at 6am Mountain Time. On our way to the parking lot to start the hike to base camp. It is a beautiful day and the sun is shining on the mountains!

Leaving Lupine Meadows trailhead now (7am Mountain Time) not sure if I'll have service until we come down which might be tomorrow if the weather is good and we can summit. Here's a map of the route.

It was a gorgeous day for a hike. The beginning of the trail worked its way through the trees until we got to the first set of switch-backs.

Once we started on the switch-backs we had a great view of the valley below. We could even see Snow King ski hill in the distance in the town of Jackson. The scenery all around was great - behind us we could see peaks like the Grand Teton occasionally and also Disappointment Peak. After four switch-backs (they were long and uphill and our packs were WAY too heavy!) we came to an intersection in the trail where we headed left to Garnet Canyon. Hiking through the canyon was awesome! The trail was a little uneven and covered with rocks but the scenery made up for it.

We could see the South and Middle Teton peaks and looking back could see all the way down the valley. Sometime before the canyon we stopped at a creek that crossed the path to filter some water and fill our Nalgenes.

A little ways into the canyon we came to the first snow. We walked through snow and over slippery boulders until we came to the Meadows campsites. Looking up to the left we could see Spalding Falls and the route we had to follow to get up to the Morraine campsite.
We started up the snow field which was challenging because we didn't put our cramp-ons on since we'd have to take them off shortly when we got to the top of the snow field. Once we got passed that snow we were on more switch-backs headed up the side of the valley. We had to cross another patch of snow that was really scary to me - it looked like an avalanche chute and people had just walked straight across. I was scared of the snow breaking out from below my feet sending me sliding down the side of the valley! Yikes! We made it past that spot going very slow and digging our ice axes in to the snow on our side. It was a lot of work and we were between 9,000ft and 10,000ft so I was constantly out of breath! As we got near the top of Spalding Falls there was more snow on the path so we followed a trail other people had been making. Instead of switch-backs now we were trying to scramble up and over loose dirt and rocks

Every rock I grabbed on to pulled out so I wasn't feeling very safe. We were on quite an angle too and my pack seemed to be pulling me off the side of the valley. We stopped for a break and I looked up at the huge snow field we were going to have to cross to make it to the Morraine. At that point I decided it wasn't worth it. I was exhausted and scared of crossing the snow so Grant and I made the decision to turn around and head back to the Meadows to camp. Erik and Josh decided to keep going so we gave them any gear they might need to summit and they went on their way. We had made it to around 10,000ft and had hiked between five and six miles so I was content with that!

When Grant and I got down to the Meadows we were EXHAUSTED!! I felt like I had the flu. I was so tired and hadn't eaten anything for awhile but I thought if I eat something I might puke it back up. We set up our tent and took our sleeping pads over by a big rock so we could lay in the shade. Once we were feeling a little better we headed back to our tent to arrange our sleeping pads and bags. I opened the fly of the tent and found four holes in the screen (see pic to the left for one of the holes)! Some picas had chewed through our tent to get inside. We didn't even have anything in there for them. We had put our food in the metal bins that were at the campsite to keep it away from the animals. Darn them! Oh well ya live ya learn I guess. We made sure to leave our packs and tent doors wide open whenever we walked away so they could just come and go as they wanted without wrecking anything!

Monday, July 13, 2009
Overnight it poured and thundered and there was a lot of lightening. We didn't have any way to communicate with Erik and Josh so we were guessing what they might be doing. If they were going to summit they were going to get up at 3am but it was still storming at that point so we figured they didn't leave then. It quit raining once the sun was coming up but still every once in awhile some dark clouds would roll in. Grant and I had some bagels for breakfast and hung out for awhile. Since it had rained so much it seemed like some snow had melted so i thought we could make it up to the Morraine. We put on our boots and started up the side of the valley again. Once we got past the first snow and part of the trail we got to the avalanche chute we had to cross and then I remembered how scary it was yesterday! Today it was actually worse because some rocks were exposed now and they were slippery. We made it across and continued up. We took a little different route but it was still very steep with a lot of loose rocks. We made it to about 10,300ft this time still before the huge snow field.

When we saw that snow again we decided not to try to cross it so went back down. There were also some nasty clouds rolling in again. We ended up getting rained on part of the way down but we had rain gear with. Once we got to the bottom we hung out in our tent trying to figure out when we might see Erik and Josh. I calculated that they might be down around 2pm so stuck my head out of the tent and saw two people crossing the huge snow field near the Morraine. I took a picture and zoomed way in and could see Josh's blue shirt! We figured it would still take them over an hour to get down so we took our time packing up our stuff. When they finally got down we cooked some food since they had the stove with them. Then we started making our way down to the parking lot. It was definitely easier as far as cardio but way harder on our knees and feet than it was going up. By the end we were all in pain and just wanted to see the car but it seemed to never come! At one point the trail flattened out and we thought we were close but then we noticed over the edge we were still above the tops of the trees so had a ways to go. Finally we made it down and packed up the car. While we were packing a random moose ran past at full speed - it was crazy! He was too quick though - I didn't get my camera out in time. From the parking lot we headed in to Jackson to have some tasty pizza at Mountain High Pizza Pie. Then we drove back to Harry's and relaxed, showered and went to bed early.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Today we decided to head for MN but take a detour to check out Yellowstone since Josh hadn't been there before. We drove to Old Faithful and watched that go off.

Grant, Erik and Josh

Then continued out of the park to Big Sky, Montana and up through Bozeman, Montana. We stopped near Bozeman to visit some friends of Grant's family - Bob and Joy. They were doing good and it was great to finally meet them!! We continued on our way and stopped in Glendive, Montana to sleep for the night. We drove the rest of the way home on Wednesday! It was a great trip even though we didn't make it to the top. Who knows - maybe we'll train a little better another year and attempt it later in the year when there's not so much snow! Here's a slideshow of all the pics:

Monday, July 13, 2009

Now we r all on

Now we r all on the hike back to the car

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Oops leaving lupine meadows trailhead

leaving lupine meadows trailhead now not sure if ill have service till we come down 2morrow if weather is good

Not sure if this pic will work but here's the view on the drive to the parking lot

This message has been sent using the picture and Video service from Verizon Wireless!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Almost ready

We are almost packed up... just waiting for Erik and Josh to get here. I dropped the kitties off at Heather and Chris's to hang out while we're gone. We are planning to drive all the way through tonight and get there sometime tomorrow morning. Then we have to do some stuff like register at the ranger station and get our gear arranged. Sunday is when we plan to do the hike up to base camp and then Monday we will attempt to summit. If the weather is bad Monday we will wait and try to summit Tuesday and then hike back down and drive home Wednesday. It's going to be a quick trip with a lot of driving but should be fun!

Driving Route

We've driven to the Jackson/Moran/Teton Range area several times in the winter and have tried many different routes through South Dakota or Nebraska and then different routes across Wyoming. We've never driven there in the summer so we're just guessing at what might be the best route. Here's a map of what we have in mind!

Climbing Quotes

Here are a couple good quotes Ang sent us to motivate us on our climbing trip :)

"To venture causes anxiety, but not to venture is to lose one's self...And to venture in the highest is precisely to become conscious of one's self" - Soren Kierkegaard, Danish Philosopher

"Climbing may be hard...but it's easier than growing up." - Ed Sklar

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Planning a Trip to the Tetons!

The last couple weeks we've been watching the weather and route conditions for the Tetons trying to figure out what we should do for our trip. Apparently they're having a snowy spring so the routes have more snow and ice on them than we expected. Our plan is to go and check it out - if we get up higher and there's too much snow and ice we won't summit. We're not really prepared to climb in snow and ice. We are renting boots and cramp-ons but we're not very experienced in that kind of climbing. So, we'll play it safe and see what happens! We'll be climbing the Owen Spalding route. We are all working a half day tomorrow and heading west! I'll try to post whenever I have phone service or internet!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Weekend at Little Birch and Breakfast on the Farm

The weekend of June 26th, Darrell, Suzette, Jake, Cody, Mom, Grant and I (and the kitties Everest and Junebug) stayed at the cabin on Little Birch. We all got there on Friday after work. Jake, Cody, Grant and I all paddled our canoe out into the lake to the floating dock to jump in and swim. Grant also took out his new kayak to practice some rolls and stuff. We grilled for supper and later in the evening went in the cabin and watched Jake and Grant practice tying climbing knots.

Uncle Darrell and Mom cooking up some supper.

Jake, Uncle Darrell, Suzette, Mom and Mike


Saturday was rainy but we all headed for Grey Eagle to go to Rohde’s Dairy Farm for Breakfast on the Farm. It was a good time. I had to try to catch pancakes the cook flipped at me, we ate a good breakfast, took a tour of the farm and checked out the petting zoo.

On the shuttle on the way back to Grey Eagle Grant joked that he wanted a Dairy Princess to come sit on his lap. So, of course, Suzette got the Dairy Princesses’ attention and had them take a picture together :)

Once we got back to Little Birch we did a bunch of work around the yard. Jake and Grant went to town with the truck to get the riding lawn mower. Grant was so excited to mow with the rider he forgot it was a Murray brand mower and kept yelling ‘Yeah! John Deere!’ What a dork.

Jake and Cody fought over the push mowers and who would get to do the mowing while Darrell and Suzette did some landscaping around the fire pit.

Once Cody got to the hilly part of the yard I took over the push mower to finish it up while Cody played with the kitties. It was a very productive day!

Later in the evening Grant’s parents Marla and Gary came over to hang out. We cooked over the fire and then Gary, Grant and Jake went fishing. Jake caught ‘the tank’ bass so they decided to keep the fish and fillet them since Suzette loves bass.

Sunday we didn’t do a whole lot. Darrell and Suzette and the crew had gone home on Saturday. Grant left for a climbing training near Devil’s Lake Wisconsin and I hung out with Mom and the kitties in the morning and then packed up to head home!

Here are the pics in a slideshow:

Canoeing the Sauk River from Richmond to Waite Park

On June 19th, Brody, Angie and Grant met me at the boat landing on the Sauk River near Richmond after work. I was working in Paynesville at a golf outing so it was closer for me to meet them there. We unloaded the canoes and loaded them up with all our gear and headed out for a relaxing weekend. We had a route in mind but didn’t know where we were going to camp for sure. We paddled for a couple hours and once we were in the Chain of Lakes started looking for a place to camp for the night. There were a lot of islands but they were all pretty heavily wooded. We came to a resort called something like the River Rabbit so we stopped to see what they had available. Their tent sites were $30 each and we could only put one tent on a site. We debated whether or not we should stay or keep paddling to try to find something else. It was getting late so we needed to make a decision. Then someone who might have been one of the owners walked up to us and told us people camp on an island not far from where we were. So, we decided to take a chance and head that direction. Luckily there was a spot cleared out on the island he pointed to so we stopped and set up camp! It was great – peaceful and enough room for two tents. We had a beer, swatted some mosquitoes and decided it was time for bed. Here we are at our camp site on the island:

The next morning we packed up and headed out for a day of paddling. We paddled the rest of the way through the Chain of Lakes. Sometimes we were convinced we were lost but Grant would pull through and direct us the right way. He claims he can’t read a map and use a compass but somehow he gets us to where we need to go when the rest of us have no idea! After several lakes we went under a bridge and the river started to narrow. It was great because we didn’t have to paddle as much and just let the current take us. We did some fishing and just enjoyed the sunshine.

When we got to Cold Spring we had to portage around a dam. We thought it would be a simple portage so we didn’t pack very well. Turns out private property surrounds the dam so we had to go waaaaaaay around and across some roads and finally back in the water. Ang and I made a couple trips with random stuff and the guys carried the canoes. Whew – that was a workout! The rest of the day was pretty relaxing just fishing and visiting. Ang and I jumped in the river and floated for awhile when we got too hot. It was a little weedy which freaked us out but we survived :)

As we got closer to Rockville we started watching for a farm that we heard lets people camp on their land. We stopped at a place that was up on a hill and had a path mowed up to the fence. Grant and Brody walked up and turned around after they decided that couldn’t be the place. We paddled farther down the river until we got to the bridge by Rockville. There was an annoying group of guys there that were wasted and probably on a bachelor party so we didn’t stay long. We decided we must have gone too far so turned around to paddle upstream. Let me tell you – that was a battle! We were barely moving and just decided to walk and pull the canoes for awhile cuz it was soo hard. At one point Grant went up on a road and asked a farmer if he knew of a guy that lets people camp on his land. He said oh yeah, John Peck, his land is further up. Shortly after that Grant called Ed who had told us about the guy and Ed confirmed that was right. He called the farm and told them we were coming so they went down by the river to wait for us. So we kept going upstream and finally got back to the place we had originally stopped at but had thought it wasn’t right!

The Peck’s were awesome people! It was crazy. We walked up the hill and saw an old farm house, a huge old barn and several other small buildings. They told us we could camp wherever in the yard and said after we got settled they’d take us for a tour. We had no idea what they were talking about so went about our business setting up. A little bit later they came back to bring us on the tour. It turns out they have an animal rehab center on the farm and it was awesome! Inside the barn they had several stalls they had created for different animals. There were baby raccoons in the silo, a huge owl, baby fawns and lots more animals and birds! Apparently people just call them if they see a sick or abandoned animal and they go get it. It was amazing. The baby raccoons were so cute – we could go in the silo and pet them even! Here's a pic:
The fawns were really cute too but we had to be quiet when looking at them so we didn’t scare them. The farm was really cool – they don’t have an indoor bathroom so just have an outhouse. They have owned the farm for 40 some years and still keep it that way. It turned out to be more of an adventure than we had thought but well worth the paddle upstream! Here we are in the hay loft where we all went for a ride on the rope swing!

On Sunday we packed up from the Peck farm and loaded up the canoes. It was really hot and muggy and looked like it might rain. Sure enough after we got on our way down the river it started raining. We paddled and fished in the rain until we made it back to Waite Park. Here's a deer we saw run across the river - that was pretty cool!
It was a fun weekend with some unexpected surprises! Here's the whole album of pics:
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