Trip Report: Mt. Moran CMC Route (5.6)
Date: September 28, 2001
Time: 17 hours (including approach)
Weather: Partly Cloudy 50-60F
Slept under the stars just outside Teton National Park the night before. Heard howling Coyotes in the middle of the night and saw many shooting stars. The Aspen leaves quaked above us. Started out at 5:30 am at the String Lake Picnic Area. We used my inflatable kayak and John and I made our way through String Lake toward Leigh Lake. We ended up portaging too soon and dragged the kayak through a marshy field and wooded area. We heard the rutting sounds of Bull Elks all around us. After about a mile we found Leigh Lake and made our way in an unintentional zigzag to the base of the Falling Ice Glacier drainage on Moran. The kayak and portage took 2 hrs and 15mins.
We slogged up a steep slope along the Falling Ice Glacier runoff (flowing nicely) until about 9500 feet. The Falling Ice Glacier is wedged between the impressive East and West Towers of Moran. We then traversed across the slopes under the West Tower to the CMC Camp in a patch of trees. I read great things about this campsite and the water spring. The spring was completely dry and the campsite was empty. I went back to the Falling Ice Glacier runoff to fill my water bottle. We then ascended Drizzlepuss, a very steep talus and scree slope. We had fun with the name Drizzlepuss as we labored up this long section. At the top of Drizzlepuss, we saw down onto the Falling Ice Glacier that had many long crevasses opened up. We also spied, the Unsoled Needle, the CMC Route and the adjacent brown dyke. We rappelled down the steep west side of Drizzlepuss to a notch where the climbing began (at about 11,500 feet).
It was about 12:30pm as we roped up. The first pitch went up to a set of old pitons and then traversed to the right about 150 feet. From there, we went basically up and followed the ridgeline at times. The climbing varied from 4th class to 5.6. We actually did a 5.6 variation of the CMC route (just to the left of the 5.4 CMC route). John had the crux pitch of the climb, an area of smooth granite with just a slippery 2-inch crack to lie back on for 30 feet or so. As he was making the crux move I yelled up that he was out of rope and we needed to start simul-climbing. I also called him a "girly man" to help him get thru the moves. Two other times we ended up simul-climbing (for about 500 feet). Near the top, the climbing became 4th class and we summited around 4pm. The summit was very flat and had sandstone on it. You could see the Grand Teton very nicely from here. A heavy threaded metal pipe held the summit registry. The weather threatened, but it never rained. At times it was cool and windy, but when the sun broke through it was nice and warm. We did a series of rappels to get back down, but were then faced with the steep and exposed west face of Drizzlepuss to get back up. I made a traverse over easy, but broken rock and found my way up to the top. From here it was just steep scree and talus and we got to the kayak at about 9:30.
It was nice to sit down and paddle after going for 15 hours with no more than a 5-minute break. My legs disagreed though and cramped up on me- I writhed in pain nearly sending John and I into Leigh Lake. We ended up portaging the last two miles and just dragging the boat along the trail. It was a long but fulfilling day. We had the whole mountain to ourselves, never seeing a single person the whole way.