The view of the Grand from our temporary home base just outside of Jackson.
To celebrate my 30th birthday, my sister convinced me to do "something big." After a few months of procrastination, we (Chris, Danielle and myself) decided around Christmas of 2013 to climb the Grand Teton on my birthday weekend. Climbing to an elevation of 13,775 was going to take some work for all of us, not only because of our lack of mountain climbing experience, but also due to the difference in oxygen levels for my Sea-Level-Living siblings. Their training and conditioning was enough to overcome the physical challenges that we expected, but we really were not sure what we signed up for.
Team XWe morphed from Team Casper to Team X. Our fearless leader "Hound Dog" is on the right.
Let it BeginWe passed our exams and were given the opportunity to climb the Grand Teton. "Hound Dog", a guide of 20+ years, agreed to take us up the mountain...and more importantly vowed to get us back down.
ProgressThere were different sections of the 7.6 mile hike up to the Lower Saddle. Some were beautifully groomed trails, others were giant boulder fields. Each section had it's own beauty to add to the landscape.
Break Time"Hound Dog" was nice enough to let us a take a few breathers on the way up. Here Chris can be seen taking in the light breeze...while those downwind of him had to sit down.
CampingThere were a few different places one could set up a tent on the way up. While the snow fields seemed impressive for late July, they have decreased in size significantly over the years.
Preliminary Objective AccomplishedAfter 7.6 miles and 5,000 feet of elevation gain, we made it to the lower saddle. Here we will camp for the night and wake up early (3AM) to prepare ourselves for the summit bid.
4 Star AccomodationsEven at 11,000+ feet, you can still find a place with sleeping pads, sleeping bags, and even some hot water. I was surprised with some dehydrated desert to celebrate my birthday...which was very thoughtful, if not delicious.