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Grand Teton National Park - "Climbing the Grand"
The two most used routes up the Grand Teton are the Owen-Spalding
route (5.5) and the 13 pitch Exum Ridge route (5.6) which was named
by it's founder Glen Exum.
The Owen-Spalding route is named after the climbers who made the first
claimed ascent: William Owen, Franklin Spalding, Frank Peterson and
John Shive. There is some debate as to which person made the first
ascent; however most agree this group was the first. Both routes begin
at the Upper Saddle which is reached by hiking from Lupine Meadows
Trailhead, up Garnet Canyon, to the Lower Saddle.
The route we choose, and which is shown here, is the Owen-Spalding
route. Permits are required for all overnight stays.
Sunrise over Grand Teton with a lingering moon
provides for dramatic beginnings for a new day. The
snake river in the foreground is just beginning to light
Sean moving upward on the Garnet Canyon trail,
which is most often used for access to the Teton
We set up camp in Garnett Canyon meadow
in order to hang out until we were allowed into
the lower saddle. Permits are specific when
climbing the Grand, so that too many people
will not crowd any one location along the route.
Mike using the only fixed rope on the Grand
Teton, which is located on the Teton "Head
Wall" It is a very thick rope, but if you are
carrying a loaded pack, as is the case here,
you will appreciate the good grip the rope
Sean working through the "Crawl" section of the
Owen-Spalding Route. It is named this because the
exposure causes some climbers to crawl along a very
small ledge to minimize the exposure. We chose to do a
slight layback in order to stay erect in this section.
Up high on the Grand Teton, you have a
spectacular view of the Middle Teton Glacier
View from the top of the Grand Teton looking down on Bradley
and Taggart Lake.
Sean, (left) Mike, and Dave on the top of the Grand Teton.
Dave (left) and Sean taking advantage
of a photo opp on the summit of the
Climbers preparing for the longest rappel on the descent of
the Grand Teton (about 140 feet in length). I found this rappel
to be as challenging as any I have ever been on due to the
fact that you seem to drift off course as you descend.
Descending is always a serious matter on any climb and the
Jenny Lake climbing station has a plaque on the wall reminding
climbers that more die on the way down than on the way up.
When it is all said and done, it's good to get
back and get a good nights sleep.
Photo by Mike Koerner
Photo by Mike Koerner