With plans of completing the Grand Traverse we headed to the Tetons. Our preparation was poor to say the least. In the past year, Andy and I had climbed once, Jared and Chad had climbed 3 times each. We figured the traverse was more of an aerobic pursuit anyway.
As we pulled into the Lupine Meadows trailhead for a couple hours of sleep we bumped into SLC hardmen Jake Trauscht and Joe Knuth. They were planning on the Grand Traverse as well. We decided to leave the trailhead at our separate predetermined times, likely to meet up somewhere on the route.
|Myself, Andy and Jared on Teewinot's small summit|
From there we moved well to the top of Peak 11,840 and started the raps in the dark. All 6 of us shared ropes and hit the ground at first light. Considering there were 6 of us, the raps went smoothly. A team of 2 would clearly be much faster though. Anytime we were moving unroped the size of our party was great but if we had to pull a rope out everything would grind to a halt. No worries though. Having so many people in the group kept spirits high and the mood light. It was also a treat to see the large group cruising along together.
|Raps on Peak 11,840|
|Jared, psyched(?) after the early morning raps|
|Joe and Jared traversing the north side of East Prong|
|Down climbing steep snow towards Koven Col, photo by Chad Ambrose|
|Chad and Jared heading up Owen in the Clouds|
|Andy doing a dance? Summit of Mt. Owen|
Trying the find the notch and head down to Gunsight in the clouds proved to be difficult. We walked up and down the southwest side of Owen trying to get a feel for where to go but couldn't. We pulled out topos but just couldn't see any landmarks. As we floundered in the clouds someone let out a a shout of joy as the skies suddenly began to clear. Chad said he shed a tear he was so happy. We found ourselves a little bit out of the way but at least we could keep going.
|First view of the Grand|
|Setting up a short raps on the way to Gunsight|
|Jake a few moves before the last rap into Gunsight|
Gunsight Notch is amazing. It's narrow, surrounded by steep walls, and marks the beginning of the real climbing. We decided 2 teams of 3 would be the fastest option. Jake got the train rolling and blasted the first "knobby" pitch out of Gunsight.
|First pitch out of Gunsight, photo by Chad Ambrose|
|Andy on the second pitch out of Gunsight|
|Chad and Jared on the Grandstand|
|One more on the Grandstand, photo by Andy|
|Andy (red), Jake (blue) and Joe (yellow), Pitch 1 of the North Ridge|
|Half way up the Italian Cracks, photo by Andy|
|Chad on the second Italian Cracks pitch|
|Summit of the Grand, happy with the Cathedral Traverse, photo by Andy|