We arrived at the Exum offices right on time…and an hour early. Joanna claims it was my underwhelming scheduling skills – I’ll blame it on excitement. Either way, we were at the base of the Teton Range in Grand Teton National Park, ready to assault the second highest peak in Wyoming. Ironically, the iconic Grand Teton is hidden from view from the Exum offices, but we knew it was looming above us, and we were ready for the challenge!
The Grand Teton is not the kind of mountain you just walk up. At 13,770 feet, it juts into the Wyoming atmosphere like a spear, gaining 7,038 feet of elevation in about 7 miles. Experienced Grand climbers know the routes like the back of their hand, but as we were soon to learn, the mass of ledges, chimneys, and ramps is so bewildering it is a wonder Owen/Spalding ever picked their way to the top. And the exposure – standing with toes just inches from the edge of 2,000 ft. cliff faces – means this is far from your standard “walk up”.