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Teton Porn!

On September 17, 2008, in Adventure, by Meghan
22

That title will bring a little extra (and unwanted) traffic to my blog. Oh well, they will probably get bored quickly.

Back in August, Mike Reynolds, Sarah Bone, Rick Gaston and I had a brilliant Teton galavant. In a single long, unending, truly epic day, we summited the Middle (12,804 feet) and South (12,514 feet) Tetons in Grand Teton National Park. We had planned to be out about 12 hours, but large, lingering snowfields impeded travel and extended the day to a whopping 17 hours. Enjoy this photo documentary of the day (I’m afraid I’ve mixed up the photo collections of my friends, and so I don’t know who took each photo. So sorry, y’all!)!

I climb the talus above The Meadows.

We were on trail at 4:15 am from the Lupine Meadows Trailhead. From there, it was about 5 miles and 2,000 feet elevation gain on a great, smooth, switchbacking trail up Garnet Canyon to The Meadows. The Meadows is a backcountry camping area that serves as a climber’s/trekker’s haven for the many peaks of the Tetons Mountains. We passed The Meadows around 6:15 am, at almost dawn. From there, the route to the Middle and South Tetons is a mostly cairned route through glacial moraine and other talus.

Sarah and I continue to ascend the talus above The Meadows.

The snowfield in the upper right portion of the picture would prove to be a major passage problem for our group due to its steepness and location just above a cliff, and it took a long time to safely negotiate it on both the ascent and the descent.

The Meadows is located far below, where the streams of water course.

We’ve now ascended to over 10,500 feet, and made it above the tough snowfield. Some sort of cold front came through overnight, and it’s just above freezing at this elevation. The warmth of the rising sun made perfect ascent weather, however.

I traverse the upper reaches of Garnet Canyon.

There was snow everywhere still at this elevation, and our ascent path was dictated by where hard rock and boulders emerged from the snow. The going was slow, but spectacular!

The view from the saddle separating the Middle and South Tetons

Finally, we arrived to the 11,600 foot saddle separating the Middle and South Tetons. This is the westward-ish view from the saddle, looking at Ice Floe Lake (Appropriately named, don’t you think?), some more Teton mountains, and beyond. A frigid wind was rushing through the saddle, so we bundled into all of our layers and used some rocks to block the wind. C-c-cold!

Sarah and I begin our ascent of the Middle Teton.

After a short break to inhale some calories at the saddle, we began the ascent of the Middle. There was another super steep and huge snowfield (There’s the edge of it in this photo, and Sarah and I are avoiding it!), and we took care to stay off it by scrambling through rock outcroppings.

I ascend the Southwest Couloir of the Middle Teton.

Way below is Ice Floe Lake. From this point, it’s probably about 300 more vertical feet to the summit.

I enjoy the Middle Teton summit.

The Middle Teton summit is a fantastic place to be! It feels like the top of the world, until you look north and see the Grand Teton looming even higher above. In this photo, I’ve wedged myself into some rocks to get out of the wind. Though quite cold and windy, we lingered on the summit for about 30 minutes.

Mike and Sarah descend the talus below the Southwest Couloir of the Middle Teton.

I take a snack break in the saddle.

By the time we had arrived back to the Saddle, it was past mid-day. We had a long break for lots of calories, map gazing, and deciding whether or not we were still going to climb the South as well. We were significantly behind schedule and knew that if we went up there, we would be out for a very long day. In the end, of course we decided to also climb the South!

I ascend the South Teton.

Here we’re headed up through the talus of the South Teton. We’re beelining toward the notch above and to my right in this photo, the Northwest Couloir.

Mike, Sarah, and I on the South Teton summit

It’s the middle of the afternoon in this photo, and, as you can see, Mike, Sarah and I are enjoying the fabulous weather. Upon our arrival to the South Teton summit, we marveled at the view and then pulled up a piece of real estate for a nap. What a perfect nap spot!

From the summit of the South Teton, the Middle and Grand loom impressively.

Hopefully you can discern the shorter Middle Teton lying in front of the Grand Teton in this photo. Interestingly, several of our friends successfully summited the Grand on the very same day. Clearly, us Yellowstone folks were all over the Teton Mountains on this particular Friday.

Sarah, Rick and Mike descend the Northwest Couloir of the South Teton.

Downhill snowfield glissading!

Once back on the terra firma of the saddle, we caloried up and headed down. The sun had warmed and softened the snowfields, making some of them safe to play on. In this photo, Rick and Sarah are having a grand time sledding and glissading.

The Teton Mountains shadow Jackson Hole at sunset.

Usually, by this time of day, I’m propped with food and a beer and gazing back up into the mountains. Nonetheless, it was a jaw-dropping view. We descended much of the last 5 trailed miles in the near dark and dark. At one point, we met up with a little black bear who was fearlessly grazing next to the trail. He was harmless if frightening in the dark evening.

It was just after 9 pm when we arrived at the trailhead, and I was truly exhausted. Due to work and travel and just plain bad timing, I had about 4 1/2 hours of sleep in the 48 hours before and during this day. I could hardly stay awake while eating pizza in Jackson afterward, and I don’t even recall the drive back to Yellowstone in the middle of the night.

Regardless, it was, hands down, my favorite Teton adventure so far. I fell in love with the Tetons as a college student in 1997, and they have drawn me back to the point that I even moved to nearby Yellowstone! I have no doubt that I will be back to visit, and maybe even to live someday again. This part of the world is really special (Shhhh, don’t tell everyone, though!).

22 Responses to “Teton Porn!”

  1. Trail Goat says:

    Truly amazing. If you ever need a trail partner on a trip back to the Tetons, just let me know!

  2. Rick Gaston says:

    It was truly a grand adventure. I had never done anything like that before and I spend most of my time at sea level. You guys took me up to a couple of the Teton Peaks, I’ll always be super grateful for that!

  3. Hart says:

    so sweet. Meissner had told me to combine climbing these two in one day. Sounds like a truly amazing adventure.
    (sent via iPhone of course)

  4. Tom says:

    fantastic!! what a place to be. thanks for the pictures

  5. JeffO says:

    OMG, Meghan, those photos are very incredible! What a day!
    Ditto trail goat – if you go back, if you don’t have too large of a group, let me know.

  6. Backofpack says:

    I’m three posts behind…

    On No Good Way: it’s true that there is no good way, and it’s hard to go and a huge loss. All I can say is something you already know. And that is, that each new chapter of life brings the same kind of loves, the same kind of attachments, wonderful new experiences and friends. Go forth and enjoy!

    On Indolence Achieved:
    I did that for only four days and boy, oh boy, did I enjoy the rest and the goodies. It only took one run and one day of healthy eating to feel back to normal. Hope that works out that way for you too!

    On Teton Porn: Stunningly beautiful! Love the piles of rocks.

  7. saschasdad says:

    First of all, I must sabotage this comment section…
    Hart, you are such a total geek!

    Definitely the best porn…EVER! One look around my house proves that I truly believe this.

  8. Sunshine Girl says:

    Ummmm….where’s the ass? All I see is mountains?!?

  9. Trail Goat says:

    Weswie,
    With the post title “Teton Porn” Meghan is clearly targeting the Latino breast men rather than the Latino ass men with her pornography ring.

  10. Beth says:

    Simply marvelous Meghan!!

  11. Meghan says:

    Happy Thursday!

    Bryon- Yep, yep! I’ll be coming back, so I will let you know. πŸ™‚

    Rick- It was such a fun day, wasn’t it? Definitely my favorite Teton adventure so far, definitely.

    Matt- I like how you admit to commenting with your iPhone. πŸ™‚ Super fun day, you would have a blast up there! I’m thinking good things for your foot, Dood!

    Tom- Thanks!

    JeffO- Alright, like I said above, I will go back there and I’m taking you with me!

    Michelle- I love how you always leave thoughtful comments, despite how ridiculous the rest of the peanut gallery gets here. Thank you so much and I think you’re right on all accounts. πŸ™‚

    Sean- It’s alright. You don’t have to tell us all what kind of porn you keep at home!

    Leslie- Girl, you know we operate a PG blog here. I know things work a little different over there at Trail Trash, but don’t come here lookin’ for arse. πŸ˜‰

    Bryon- My target audience is the intrepid mountain adventurer. Really, all I want to do is to inspire people to get out and play. Clearly y’all have got heads in gutters all over America now. And, look below, poor lovely Beth is scared to comment! πŸ™‚

    Beth- Sorry, I hope these folks aren’t scaring your well-behaved and polite self from commenting. πŸ˜‰ Thanks, girl!

    Have a great day and think mountains!
    Meghan

  12. A says:

    ohhhhh…. so, so envious! I am so glad you posted these pics so I could climb vicariously with you! Last fall I had decided that this would be the summer in which I, too, would summit at least one of the Teton peaks, and then… er… change of plans. So! I am so delighted to be able to share in your adventure, and am now salivating at the thought of NEXT summer getting there myself at last. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the inspiration and for the Teton Porn!

    anne

  13. Danni says:

    Never been to the Tetons. Must go.

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