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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sufferfest 2007: Grand Teton pt.1

Sufferfest 2007 was a 3 part adventure: backpacking the Teton Crest Trail, Climbing the Grand Teton, and seeing Yellowstone. For now I'll just talk about the most exciting part, climbing the Owen-Spalding route on the Grand Teton. The Grand Teton is the highest peak in Grand Teton National Park. The Owen Spalding route is a classic route up the back side of the peak. It is a technical climb, requiring most of a full day of technical climbing and an arduous approach hike. I was accompanied on this climb by my friend Kyle, who is studying Outdoor Recreation at the moment.

Since this peak requires both lots of climbing and lots of hiking, we decided to get a head start on it and camp a few miles closer to the technical climbing section. Next day we woke up at 2AM to get an early start, hoping to beat the summer afternoon thunderstorms. The weather was perfect, and we made it to the top with only minor incident.

Kyle feels the effects of a 2AM start

We started out at 2Am to get a head start on the weather, to no avail. We hiked quickly through the darkness, and managed to follow a trail that lead to a boulderfield. The trail died in the boulderfield and went nowhere. We retraced our steps via GPS, but the "trail" fooled us into thinking we were on the right path. Instead we waited until well after 4AM until we spotted some headlamps bobbing in the distance. We sprinted through loose rocks after them, and found our way back to the saddle, where the real climbing begins.

Kyle negotiates the easy "Belly Crawl" with an exhilarating 1000'+ of exposure on his left

Dawn on the Middle Teton, taken from high on the Grand Teton

Proof- A USGS point marker, strangely the altitude is missing?

Our dads hiked in celebratory beers packed in ice for the occasion

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