For the second year in a row in the Tetons, winter weather held off into mid-October and allowed me to try for the Grand. After traveling solo thru Jackson last Fall and spending a few days hiking and climbing around the valley, I promised myself that I'd be back this year to do the Grand - that peak is just captivating!
Tetons in all their glory
I spent about a month begging and pleading friends, family, 14er.com members, and MountainProject folks...but I couldn't get anyone to join me. ....I drive up to Jackson Friday, Oct 1st, and headed to Teton Mountaineering to grab some last minute items and then head out. The girl at the register said, "I wouldn't advise going up the Grand alone... and you're going to just ask other climbers if you can tag along??? NOT a good idea. You won't find anyone that will let you join..."
I hit the trailhead at Lupine Meadows at 3pm and hiked up the Meadows where I set up camp for the evening and relaxed for a Saturday attempt.
Too much gear...
Saturday morning I snapped awake realizing I had overslept by an hour and rushed to grab my pack and jump out the tent. When I did, I saw 4 headlamps bobbing up the mountain towards the upper saddle. But no others. Damn, they were my only shot!! I practically sprinted to catch them and eventually offered up a "hey guys, hows it going? where's ya headed? OH...you're doing the OS route?! Cool...me too!" unfortunately they responded with a "good luck, see ya up there...". Worried about heading up solo, I trodded on until suddenly one of the speed demons caught up with me and said, "hey, we talked it over and if you want to join, we're happy to join up with you...!!! ...and the rest was history. These guys made my trip.
Leaving the Meadows at 5am, we arrived at the Lower Saddle right at sunrise. Then headed to the Upper Saddle with thru a bunch of scrambling.
view of Middle Teton going up lower OS The route finding to the Upper Saddle isn't easy, but it was an adventure. Be prepared to just 'find your own way'...
At the Upper Saddle we got a view of the Class V climbing ahead. We did four relatively slow pitches battling the shade and breezes on the West side of the mountain, but it was an awesome experience. We summitted at 12:57pm.
After spending an hour on the summit we descended the OS route with the two standard rappels and made our way down the mtn. We said our goodbyes at the Meadows, as I had to pack my tent and gear (ugggggh!). Then about 5 hours later, and at 8:30pm...stagged to the truck and headed to the bar.
Good times! I highly recommend it!