The Tetons!!

A short note: I posted this earlier today and then just had to go look for images to go along with my story. I had all of my photos digitized before I hit the road. Voila! I found a photo for each of my trips to the Tetons. Sorry for reposting…..

This part of the world continues to amaze me. I started my day skinning up White Pine ski area. At the top I was looking at the Wind River Range.

Wind River Range. Looking East from the top of White Pine

I then drove NW to Jackson. The drive continued to take my breath away.

Bridger Teton National Forest

Then, I arrived at the Tetons. What makes it so special?

The Grand from my ski route

My first visit was in 1982 when I was a Yellowstone Park employee. I drove down from Mammoth Hot Springs (where I was working and living) with Al from St Louis and Bob from Chicago. They were two inner city kids. Bob’s dad was a City of Chicago bus driver and Bob had never left his neighborhood before coming to Yellowstone. We were all equally blown away by the Tetons. Jackson, at that time, was a small town. We partied at the Million Dollar Cowboy bar and The Mangy Moose before heading out to Teton Village (where there was almost nothing other than the ski area) where we rolled out of the car, and slept in a ditch.

Al meeting the Tetons for the first time
Bob and Al in the Tetons

My next visit was in the late 90’s for a Kili reunion. This photos says enough…’s a long story and we didn’t get to do the climb we had planned (not the Grand).

Scott’s helicopter ride out of the Tetons.

In the early 00’s I was back to climb The Grand Teton. I was with my usual climbing partner Kevork. He flew in and was on a tight timeline. We decided to play it safe and climb the Owen’s Spalding route. When we got to the top, we were both really disappointed, the route was just too easy. We juggled our plan, and figured out that we had enough time to climb the classic Exum Ridge. We had to really be efficient in order to get Kevork to his flight, and we made it! We were so happy that we didn’t settle and went for it!

Kevork with our Permit

My fourth trip back to the Tetons was in 243CM with Scott. We flew into the Jackson airport. I remember being surrounded by lear jets. Airforce two was also on the ramp. Dick Cheney was VP at that time, and was “home”. We were treated as though we had arrived in a jet. By filling up with fuel, they let us tie down among the many jets. We thought it was hilarious.

243CM in the Tetons

Scott and I pulled our climbing packs out of the plane and headed to the road to hitchhike into the park. It was easy to get a ride and the women who drove us kindly let us out just short of the park gate. When we arrived at the gate, the ranger was so impressed we were on foot, he gave us free entry for a week! We went around the corner from the toll booth (the ranger said hitching in the park is illegal) and stuck out our thumbs and had a ride to the Teton Climbers Ranch in minutes.

Our climb was uneventful, and we summitted well ahead of the threat of thunderstorms. We had so many laughs on our way up the peak. I thought of those moments over and over today, laughing out loud a couple of times.

Jenny Lake

Then, as I was skiing to Jenny Lake the song that always makes me think of this place came on. There is something so special for me here. I will always love The Tetons.

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