A Notable TripWe've been talking for years... if fact, I have a 2003 Special Issue of Rock and Ice that says about climbing the Grand, "If you are an intermediate trad climber or alpinist, but haven't climbed the Grand, you are blowing it..." So, we finally did it, Upper Exum too. Not bad for us. We were able to get backcountry permits late on Sunday from very helpful, experienced Jenny Lake climbing Rangers along with good beta. We bivied at the Moraine Camp and at the time issued, we were the only ones to be at that spot. We began Monday morning to 30% Thunder storms forecast, but warm, sunny skies and a modestly full parking lot. I got into camp last, tent was set up with our introductions to Lightning, Thunder, hail and rain began...I just tossed my pack under the flaps and enjoyed my dry space inside the tent until the storm passed. Our pre-dawn start on Tuesday was under questionable conditions, but the weather was supposed to improve as the week went on. We had some route finding problems to solve above the Lower Saddle to find notch transition to Wall Street, but we did it. No one else on the route until another team of three caught us in the Wind Tunnel. A father (climbed route before) and two sons in jeans and carharts were helpful wtih summit route and we followed them down to the rap stations. He even shared a beer on the summit. No one else there! I thought these routes were crowded? Raps were spectacular. Happy there were no storms on the summit, we topped out at 2:30PM. Yipes we are slow. We were thrilled to succeed our first time. We planned to drop down to the Meadows for 2nd night, but our legs weren't in it for a walk up the Middle Teton the 3rd day. We walked out to the "crowds" coming in. People were everywhere. Car camped and did a one dayer of Mt St. John on Thursday, which was much more quiet for people and a beautiful approach through the Hanging Canyon and Alpine Lakes.
Flowers and Animals on the way