Monday, August 3, 2009

Grand Teton Climb, Part III (The Summit)

We set out around 4:00 with our headlamps and started to climb, headed to the Upper Exum Ridge route.

Holly and Kathy in the wee hours.

That would be Jessica, our guide, at the top of this rope.

When the sun came up, I couldn't believe our stunning view - already we were looking down on the Middle Teton.

And when I saw how high we were, I did hug the cliff face, just a bit, until I got used to the exposure (the thousand foot and more cliffs/dropoff below us).

Holly taking up the rear of our team.

Holly and Michelle.


I'm not sure which pitch this is, there were about 13 pitches total.

The belaying was more tiring than the climbing (this is me again), after about the 10th pitch I thought my left arm would fall off.

The best part of the day, after cresting the last scary-*$$ (but exhilarating) pitch of the Exum Ridge, and having the summit in sight. There's nothing like it, here's Holly as she tops out.

Some awesome views from the top. Below, looking north at Jackson Lake and Yellowstone. If your timing is just right, you can see Old Faithful blow from the top of the Grand.

And that's what friends are for -- climbing mountains together! Kathy and Holly.

Wyoming women who rock! Michelle and Jessica sitting; Kathy and Holly standing.

This is an 120' rappell with a good portion of it free-hanging. It was a complete riot. (Michelle is rappelling here in the upper third of the shot, but you have to squint to see her.)
We went from the summit back down to the trailhead parking lot this same day.

Looking back at Wall Street, and part of the Exum Ridge that we climbed --- in the DARK!

Without a doubt, the best beer that I have ever had, thanks to Michelle's husband Jason. He met us in the Lupine Meadows Trailhead parking lot with beer and camp chairs.

And last but not least, here is my support team with a mountain of muffins for me! Scott made little stick figures climbing the to the top of the blueberry muffin heap.