Climbing The Grand Teton via the Owen Spaulding Route with The Witich Crack Var.
We woke up at 4:00 am to get an early start on the trail to hopefully get high enough in the morning, so when the sun stated cooking the valley we would be in cooler weather on the mountain. The group got up at 4:00 am and everyone started packing up, while I choose breakfast instead. I had a quick bowl of oat meal with dried blueberries and a cup of instant coffee. I cleaned up my things and got packed up to leave. We were staying at the AAC Climbers Ranch and had planned to spend two nights out on the mountain and come back to the Ranch. I was climbing with a group from Chicago that I usually climb with and My climbing partners names were Ting, and Jeff.
Our Plan was to hike into Garnet Canyon and spend two nights in the moraine. We would hike in on the first day and summit the second day and hike out the last day. Since we were all coming from sea level and didn't have a bunch of time to acclimate to the altitude we were going to take our time and why not. It gave us extra time in a beautiful place with an out look of great weather. So, there was 13 people hiking up with us, but not all had intentions of climbing. Some just wanted to make the hike to the camp and hike around. There were 8 of us that were trying for the Grand and 3 others were going for the Middle Teton.
starting out at the Lupine Meadows trail head.
We were packed up and ready to leave and as I was closing up the van I had rented I started coughing and I felt an irritating burn in my nose and throat. As I walked to the front of the van I noticed everyone in the van was now coughing! I thought HOLY SHIT! A bear spray canister was going off in the van and I ran and opened the back hatch and told everyone to get out of the van. I could even smell the spray at this time and I was thinking "Man this is going to suck, the burning wont go away for awhile". Then one of the group members that was parked next to us says "OH SORRY GUYS, I sprayed my canister to test it out. I thought it would be ok because there was no wind". Well, ti was a good thing that he just sprayed it into the field rather than in the van. We gave him a riot act and aired out the van and we were off to the trail head at Lupine Meadows. The group was in the trail at 6:00am with a nice chill in the air. Perfect for hiking up!
We all started out going at an easy pace to get warmed up and then we got into our hiking pace after about a half an hour. Great views of Teewinot were see as we marched through the forest. The land scape was ever changing. In the Valley, you have a vast plain of sage brush mixed in around rivers and streams were aspen and cottonwood trees and spotted through out the sage brush plains were wild flowers blooming in the hot sun. At the trail head there were more wild flowers and pine trees with spots of aspen. As we moved higher on the trail the forest would go in and out between meadows of wild flowers and a few boulders to small stands of pine trees. We were coming up to a switch back when we noticed a mother grouse and her young crossing the trail and