Last year several Exum guides, principally Jim Williams, suggested that we install a solar module at our hut on the lower saddle between the Grand Teton and Middle Teton. The idea was to use the sun for power instead of using propane. This practice would serve as a model for smart energy use, saving both natural resources, and the energy wasted by our guides hauling propane canisters up and down the mountain. One of the biggest benefits would be that we would no longer have to deal with a propane lantern dangling in the hut, which of course everyone has bumped into for decades.
Exum Guide, Andy Tyson, who also runs Creative Energies, agreed to design an appropriate unit. After receiving his proposal we sent it off to the Business Resources department at Grand Teton National Park for approval. This summer the park approved the design and installation of the equipment.
Getting the solar module to the Lower Saddle, at an elevation of 11,600 feet, required effort. Exum Senior Guide, Rod Newcomb coordinated the process. Brenton Reagan carried up the solar panel (approximately 40 pounds), Andy Tyson carried the even heavier AGM battery (approximately 50 pounds), and Rod Newcomb and Weston Walker carried the wiring, lights, and a DC adapter to charge cell phones.
Of course it was blowing a gale the day they made the trip, which made Brenton’s huge wind-catching load a bit dicey at times, especially on the fixed rope. But the group duly arrived at the Hut and set about putting the whole thing together. The module turned out to be a model of efficiency and elegance – a testimony to Andy’s design talents. Exum Guide Pat Ormond turned on the first light. Others promptly plugged in their cell phones.
Not satisfied with their day’s work, Andy, Brenton, Pat and Weston made a fast ascent of the Lower Exum route on the Grand Teton before running, yes running, back to the valley.
Exum is proud of our new solar panel, and we thank everyone involved in the idea, design, construction, transport and installation.