Thursday, August 28, 2008

Le Grand Tetons

Ah the Grand Teton hike, 23 miles in like 17 hours, one crazy adventure. It was a 3 hour drive from Yellowstone and a 4am start, oy! We started in the dark and didn't get off the trail until it was dark again:) It took much longer than we anticipated but we were blessed with good weather and it was worth it, every minute of it. I didn't know this but apparently there are thunderstorms in the afternoon and the reason why you start real early is so you can be back down to treeline again before lightning starts to strike. Well we had great weather so after we got done with the Middle Teton we also climbed the South Peak before heading home. We even took a nap at the top of South Peak. The sun was shining and there were no other hikers around.

Imagine the letter "T", our route simplified would look something like that. The trail head was around 7,000 ft. and we made our way to the "Saddle", the top of the "T", which was at about 11,000+ ft. To the right was the Middle Teton at 12,800 ft. and to the left was the South Peak which was at 12,000 ft. After we were done climbing both peaks we came back the same way we came in.

It was a tough hike with lots of scrambling to get at the top of these peaks. Good trails were only at the beginning, the rest of the way is through rocks, snow and scree fields, yum. Those rocks man, nature's own Wobble Boards. When you're climbing you have to be really careful not to dislodge any small loose rocks on to the person below and when you're following you have to be careful not to follow too closely. Going up was just as slow as coming down and in the case of the South Peak, coming down took much longer. I really enjoyed it. Plotting my way through the rocks was a thrill. I relished it. Scrambling to the top of these peaks was a great experience. I had never done anything like that before. Wish I could do more of that around here.

The views were amazing! Pictures don't do it justice but it's better than none. Just amazing. If you're into mountains and fantastic views you would love this place.

Who would like to guess what "Grand Tetons" mean in French? I found it out on the hike back down.

Enjoy the photographs. The photo set has 42 images. Whittled down from umm...well a lot. Here are my favorites. Not all of these are mine. Thanks to Meghan for sharing her images.

DSCN0190.JPGHanging out at the "saddle" a point between South and Middle Teton peak. This is at 11,000+ ft. The views were amazing. Look at the cliff walls.

DSCN0150.JPGThe view from the saddle. Scale is hard to judge with photographs. A person on the snowbank of the lake would be a speck. The lake is aptly named - Ice Floe Lake.

DSCN0163.JPGMike and I ascending the Middle Teton, thats the Saddle and Ice Floe Lake in the background. Neat huh. Wish the background wasn't blown out.

DSCN0172.JPGThe view from the top of the Middle Teton.

DSCN0199.JPGFun! Don't follow to close unless you want loose rocks your way. Meghan on her way up the South Peak.

DSCN0209.JPGNew friends, Mike and Sarah. The Grand Teton is in the background (one with snow), right below it, in the sun and looks like it's split in two at the top is the peak of the Middle Teton, the first peak we climbed. The Grand Teton is a technical climb, meaning you need ropes and all that mountain climbing gear. You also need to know how to use that stuff. I could show up with a helmet and all the ropes but never get any closer to the top.

DSCN0210.JPGSarah and Mike at the top of South Peak. You get to the top of one mountain only to see other mountains, so crazy. Here if you get to the top of Mt. Tamalpais (2600+ ft.) the only other peak you'll see is Mt. Diablo (3600+ ft.). What we don't have in mountains however we make up for in repetition. Just ask the runners of the Mt. Diablo 50-miler, the Miwok 100k or the Headlands Hundred:)

DSCN0218.JPGDescending the South Peak took much longer! Where's the trail?!

For more, click here for the photoset.


  1. Rick,

    I can not tell how I envy you doing this. I live for such excursions. Part of the reason I decided to do a 50 mile know I can still do this kind of stuff. You were one fortunate dude.

    Dave Elliott

  2. Wow!! That looks like really tough terrain!! Amazing pics though so I know it was worth it!! Awesome!

  3. That's awesome - what beautiful mountains. That rocky stuff looks like a serious challenge.

  4. Wow, that is insane! It looks like you are on another planet or something. That hiking has to be incredibly difficult, and the altitude has to make things really tough as well.

    Absolutely awesome pictures, and I can understand that they don't do justice to the view! Still, what a country we live in. Thanks for sharing, Rick!

  5. wow...what an amazing journey! That definitely looks like a tough hike:)

    An as far as the translation of grand tetons, I learned that while watching a show on the tetons. As the announcer said, "that's the french for you" :D

  6. dave: This new adventure you're on, the sport of trail running and ultra running will take you to great beautiful places. These past two years I've made the effort of racing at least one race out of state and I've never regretted it. Great excursions in this great land of ours with some really great running communities.

    j~mom: Oh it was tough, tough on the body, tough on the legs but absolutely beautiful.

    donald: The rocky stuff will teach you a lot of balance if you don't have it already. Picking your way through it is serious fun.

    jean: I'm glad you liked them Jean. You keep making my mouth water with those great food pics of yours and I'll endeavour to show you some great outdoor pictures.

    addy: Hehe yeah, when I heard the translation I thought Mike was playing around again. Earlier in the day he told me that Polar Bears lived in Ice Floe Lake and I believed him. So I didn't believe him this time but his info was backed up by the ladies.

  7. Very cool pictures. Looks like a must do!

  8. As always Rick,great pics.Looks tough but I can imagine the feeling when you look down those amazing view from the top...