We were forced to do this climb in a day because we were unable to secure an overnight permit at the Jenny Lake Ranger Station. That's okay-I enjoy doing 18 straight hours of hiking and climbing. Scott, John, Patrick, and myself got an early start to ensure we'd have plenty of time. The approach was very straightforward, just quite long. The wind was ripping at the Lower Saddle and not quite as bad when we roped up near the Upper Saddle. We decided to simul-climb- the 4 of us all at once. This was interesting because I was in the rear and at times I was nearly sprint climbing, while other times I was still for 5 minutes. The climbing was easy enough to allow us to do this. The initial traverse was outstanding- very exposed, but easy. You could see for several thousand feet down the northwest side of the Grand. When we reached the summit, we could see the various fires burning near Jackson Lake. We could also see a thunderhead taking aim at us. After hearing the first clap of thunder, we down climbed to the first rappel (easy) and then made it to the famous free rappel where we were hung up for a long time. This is the rap station used by many routes and there were about 5 parties ahead of us waiting. Some folks went over very slow. One fellow in another group was very impatient, complaining about a dinner arrangement he had that evening in Jackson- how pathetic. He was in the mountains now and I had no sympathy for that man. I've never experienced anything like this rappel- completely free (it's a massive overhang and your not near the rock) for 75 feet. I slowly spun around as I made my way down. Between the Upper Saddle and Lower Saddle it snowed a bit on us. I have to admit I was a bit chilly in my shorts. It got much warmer as we descended. One member of my group (he wore an awful spandex tights and cowboy hat combination) was pretty wasted by the time he reached the car. I can't blame him though, as it was a long long day.
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