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Grand Teton, Owen Spalding, "Ice Whore" variation
Trip Report

Grand Teton, Owen Spalding, "Ice Whore" variation

 
Grand Teton, Owen Spalding, "Ice Whore" variation

Page Type: Trip Report

Location: Wyoming, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 43.74282°N / 110.80536°W

Object Title: Grand Teton, Owen Spalding, "Ice Whore" variation

Date Climbed/Hiked: Sep 2, 2006

Activities: Mountaineering

Season: Summer

 

Page By: regolithe

Created/Edited: Sep 15, 2006 / Sep 27, 2006

Object ID: 226207

Hits: 5475 

Page Score: 74.92%  - 5 Votes 

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Grand Teton shadow
Kell in the lower saddle looking at the shadow of the "grand" stretching out across the state of Idaho.
My sister and I recently summited the Grand Teton, which has been a lifelong dream of mine. As an Idahoan, I have lived in the Shadow of these impressive mountains my entire life. This experience marks my first independant technical mountaineering venture. My sister Kellyn and I trained for about two months, in hopes of combining more than one of the Tetons into a traverse. Neither of us had done any technical mountaineering climbs, but felt that we were up to the challenge.

Despite the fact that the Owen Spaulding route is generally regarded as the easiest route to the summit of the Grand (classIII 5.5), I have determined that there are a tremendous number of challenges associated with technical mountaineering that lie outside of the descriptive scope of the Yosemite Decimal System. The greatest challenge we faced was not with any of the technical aspects of the climb, but routefinding along the way. The approach to the Upper Saddle between the Grand Teton and the Enclosure (a neighboring peak) Is supposed to be a class 3-4 scramble at most. Despite the fact that I had Poured over every route photo, and description I could get my eager hands on, I was still unable to decisively lead my small party up the described ascent. It's amazing to me how easily you can get WAY off course, simply by going left of a boulder instead of right....

There is a portion in this ascent called the "eye of the needle." This is supposedly the key to an easy ascent/descent. I have still yet to see this alleged "eye." Five days prior to our climb, it rained in Jackson, which, in September, almost always means snow on the peaks. in the days following the storm, the snow melted, and things dried up- where the sun could reach. On the south west side of the Grand Teton, there are a lot of little cracks and crevices where the "sun don't shine." It was in one of these places that Kellyn and I decided to bypass the eye of the needle for a route variation that we cooperatively christened "The Ice Whore Couloir." What looked like a relatively easy- but wet- scramble turned into a steep, ugly, ill-equipped, improvized nightmare of verglas and "I don't have the right gear or knowhow." Everything was just six inches too high to be manageable, and secure holds were all about postage stamp size, due to the wet slick of ice covering everything but the highest of  
From the Crawl, A little pointer....
This is the route of Choice to approach the "double chimney" on Owen Spalding. The obvious chimney requires maybe a 5.7 pull up move. It's a lot more protected than the green route, but it's much more difficult, so I guess it's a trade off.
features on the rocks. My mother would kill me if she saw what I took her youngest up. A fall would have resulted in about a forty foot tumble. not exactly the kind of thing I want to clean up after.

The rest of the route to the upper saddle went smoothly, and I was able to recognize many of the features that I had only previously seen in photographs. The crux section of the route was clogged by a trio of slower-esque climbers, and we sat in the chilling shade of the west face for about fourty five minutes til they got clear. The "Belly Roll" was a pretty intimidating little move, especially for someone with less tolerance for exposure, but it was quite easy. The Crawl followed, and I am glad I took the advice of the Ranger at the Jenny's Lake Station. You want to stay left on a small ledge after you get out of the crawl. Avoid the temptation to turn right too soon. The easier way to tohe Double chimney is around a large mass of rock, that obscures this path from view on the approach from the crawl. Anyhow, If any of the tricky parts of this route were on the ground, they would be a piece of cake, but the fact that they are situated about three inches from the precipice of Valhalla Canyon drives the intensity up a notch.

Anyway, to make a long story short, we made it to the top, with a little help from A few good mountaineering folks (Darrel and Cressa?), and we were back to the car in just a shade under 24 hours. It took much longer than we had originally anticipated for various reasons, but knowing what I 
Grand Summit
Kellyn and I on the summit
know of the route now, next time it will probably only take half as much time.

The rest of the trail went off pretty much as planned, and for anyone considering the OS on the Grand, If you haven't done it before, you are in a for a treat. The exposure is great and the views are sublime. Happy climbing to all.

~D

Images

Pondering on the MiddleClimber on the ExumGrand Teton -- Viewed from...Hungry rock rat.

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