Friday, July 26, 2013

Teton Semi-Circumnavigation - Best 25 miler in the lower 48?

Taken from Tom's writeup
On Monday I sent out a last minute text to see if Jared Inouye or Tom Diegel wanted to head up to Jackson to give the Teton Circumnavigation a go.  Tom immediately said he was keen but warned that he hadn't really been running (just biking).  Jared also was in but said he hadn't run once in the past month.  Before we left, Jared and I headed up Mineral Fork to test out his gimpy ankle (the reason he hasn't been running).  After 30 mins of jogging he said it would probably be fine so we picked up Tom and headed out.   I probably should have made up an excuse not to go on a 30 mile run with 2 guys who haven't been running but it was Tom and Jared so I figured we'd be just fine.

We decided to start at Jenny Lake going counter clockwise and were pleasantly surprised with runnable trail we found.  All of Cascade Canyon and the South Fork up to Hurricane Pass was low angle and well maintained.   Beside a stand off with a mother and baby moose we cruised up to the Pass with out much trouble.  Having looking down into Cascade Canyon many times it was good to get a few new view of the North Faces of the Cathedral group.  Seem's like they should be visited on skis...
A stand off...
The moose won
Upper Cascade Canyon
South Fork of Cascade Canyon
Heading to Hurricane Pass
Closer to Hurricane Pass
Jared pulling a Jared to beat us to the pass.  School Room Lake and Glacier in the background.
Hurricane Pass is spectacular.  You get stunning views of the Grand, Middle, South, and all of the range looking north out to Mt. Moran.  Our skies were a little hazy but it was beautiful nonetheless.  The trails stayed well groomed and relatively flat as we headed through Alaska Basin over Buck Mountain Pass and over to Static Divide Pass.  All through this section of trail there was flowing water, wildflowers, and well marked trails.  If we would have known there'd be so much water we would have left the pack behind and made do with one handheld.
"Tom, run fast for the camera!"
Dropping into Alaska Basin
Alaska Basin
Sunset Lake, photo by Tom Diegel
Playing in the flower patch
Approaching Buck Mountain Pass
Buck Mountain
Static Peak Divide, photo by Jared
Once at Static Peak Divide the trail dives down into Death Canyon.  This section of trail is all still very runnable but is a bit steeper than the rest and a touch rockier.  I think up Cascade and down Death is probably easier than the other way around.  Death Canyon is another place I've long neglected but after getting this little glimpse I think it deserves more attention.
Dropping into Death Canyon
Once we were back down in the Valley (25 miles and 5:30 into the run) we had the option of running a relatively flat 10 miles back to Jenny Lake or hitch hiking back.  As we were stopped and deciding, we briefly chatted with a gal who was also running and she mentioned she started a frozen yogurt stand (the one in Albertson's).  After hearing this, with thought of yogurt in our minds, we decided that a quick hitch back to Jenny Lake, a swim, lunch, frozen yogurt, and getting to SLC early sounded much better than a flat, sunny, hot 10 miles.  Lame, I know, but that swim and yogurt were amazing.

I'm sure the complete circumnavigation adds a little to experience and next time we'll finish but the 25 miles we ran were probably the best 25 I've EVER done. The views were unbelievable, the trail was 100% runnable, there was water all over, and the company was good as it comes.  It was just a great day.  If anyone's looking for a great 25 or 35 miler they should head to GTNP.


  1. I missed out for sure! Wonderful trip it appears. Who's the dude with long hair? Dan Osman reincarnated? Nice!

    1. We missed you friend. Next time? Let's make it happen in August!

  2. This one has been on my list... Looks great.

  3. Interesting choice running in that direction. I've always gone the other way. This way maybe better as the stretch from the cabin in DC to Static Divide is quite steep in places and pushed me to walk a bit. You'll have to go back and go the other way and report back. Different scenery that way, too. The big benefit, of course, is that you finish at the Jenny lake boat dock. I usually don't even break my stride as I run straight off the dock into the water, much to the amazement of the fat tourists looking on.

  4. Jason - not normally my style to contact someone cold but this is a route I've wanted to do for some time...problem? Can't get a commit from my normal running group. Sounds like you might be headed up again this month? If so, would love to join the group. If uncomfortable for you, totally understand. My email is

    1. Hey, it looks like I won't be able to make it back this month. On my only time off I'll be stuck pacing my brother at Leadville. If by chance I can get back I'll let you know.

  5. You are incredibly fit, and doing amazing things! 40 years ago I backpacked that route over a couple days. Fast back then was making it in a single long day hike. I've since done a couple mountain trail "jogs", but my best was about half that far, half that pace, and about half that elevation. You inspire me!