We exited Yellowstone via the South Entrance and soon came in view of the magnificent Tetons. What a mountain range! And, it was the scene of some of my earliest and most exciting adventures. It was where I went to learn to climb mountains, and where I subsequently spent much time, engaged in that pursuit. It was the beginning of a life-long addiction to the grandeur of the outdoors – the outdoors of the American West, which is about as grand as it gets. Now, when we drive past the Tetons, and stop to admire their “fearful symmetry”, I have the satisfaction of knowing I was up there. My recollection of those routes I followed to various summits is indelible. I could probably re-climb those routes (if someone would loan me some stamina) blind-folded.
This is the first view one gets of the Tetons, coming from the north. The Cathedral Group is the name for the three peaks seen here. On photo left is Teewinot Mountain, and in front of the Grand Teton is Mt.Owen, distinguished by its snowfields. In 1960 I got a job at Jackson Lake Lodge, so as to be able to attend the Exum Mountaineering Climbing School. After completing the course, I began, in the company of co-workers, to climb on my own. I climbed Teewinot Mountain in mid-summer, and capped the season, in September, with a climb of the Grand Teton (elev. 13,770), by the Owen-Spalding route, in which I led a less-experienced co-worker. What a high (pardon the pun)! In 1964, with David Hiser, I climbed the Snowfield route on Mt. Owen.
Below: From left to right: South Teton, Middle Teton, the Grand Teton, Mt. Owen and Teewinot Mountain. I also climbed the Middle Teton, in that first summer, by the Dike route. The shadowed north face of the Grand Teton is seen here in profile. David Hiser and I climbed that route, also in 1964. It is one of the classic climbs in North America. Very steep, but not too hard! In years following I climbed additional routes on the Grand Teton, which included the complete Exum Ridge, the Petzoldt Ridge and, with Joe Faint, the dread Black Ice Couloir. Man, those were exciting times!
The final photo is of the Grand Teton from the southeast, showing the Otter Body snowfield about half-way up that side of the mountain.
I’ll complete the coverage of our trip to Idaho and Wyoming in coming posts. Stay tuned!