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:

1 comment:

  1. nice stories and pictures, ash! you guys had some really beautiful scenery! i will have to look through all of the pics now.


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