Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Trip Report: Guides Wall, Grand Teton National Park

By the time we reached the Tetons, I was seriously draggin' (dragon!). I started the trip pretty tired, and keeping up with Dave is a serious butt-whumping. We established and maintained a hard pace with very little time in the frontcountry for rest/ recovery.  

Furthermore, it had been 45 days - 45 days! - since my last decent shower.  In those 45 days, I had hiked a lot of miles and climbed a lot of vertical feet. 

I was exhausted and ready to throw in the towel and head back to Ithaca.

And then I took the most amazing shower of my life, right up there with the Turkish hamam, except this was in the Colter Bay campground in the Tetons.  I walked out of that shower and said to Dave, “I will climb anything – anything – in this park. Let's do it!!” Amazing what a slight comfort can do for the soul...

thumbs UP!!
So after speaking with a kind older climbing ranger (who casually mentioned being a dirtbag back in the day when people still used “pins” in the Gunks (!)), we decided on Guides Wall, the six pitch quintessential intro Tetons climb.
guides wall
The approach was much easier than Beckey/ Liberty Bell. Park at the String Lake trailhead, take the horse trail up Cascade Canyon, and look right when you get to the first real pond. Stay on the climbers' trail for the easiest approach to the base of the climb.
loved the waning moon next to the mountains
that's the guides wall line right there
Dave and I climbed very efficiently; we passed a party and caught up to another (who we couldn't pass). It is very rewarding to see our teamwork, communication, and technical skills continue to improve. Our marriage conflicts tend to happen in the mountains, so those skills are something we work to improve with every trip. I have casually observed other couples in the mountains/ woods with similar issues. This would make an interesting essay on it's own...
top of p6 
Speaking of marriage, at one of the many scenic overlooks, I realized that the mountain range on our wedding bands closely matches the Tetons! I sketched this free-hand with no intent to resemble an existing mountain range. Whoaaaa!

Anyway, back to the climb! Pitches 5 and 6 are the money pitches, with the harder, most exposed, most sustained climbing. P5 has two crack options, and P6 is crack and face.
little love for my colleagues; little love for the crack
 And you have these amazing views, too!
not too shabby :-)

The Tetons were pretty sweet. Just a huge mountain range sticking up out of the plain.
the classic teton panorama
I feel super fortunate that I was able to see these mountains from an angle that most visitors don't get!

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