Here’s what all the fuss is about. The most majestic mountains in the lower 48. View from the west.
I went to the Tetons for the express purpose of learning to climb, and I did so by attending the Exum Mountain Guides climbing school, shortly after I arrived. I had secured a job at the Jackson Lake Lodge, as the fountain runner, which would enable me to spend the whole of the summer in the Tetons. This was the third National Park that I would work in. The first two were Glacier (1957) and Lassen (1959). Following is a selection from the many (mostly crappy) photos I took that summer.
Dormitory, with Mt. Moran in the distance
I hiked to Amphitheater Lake in June, passing the partially iced-over Surprise Lake on the way. These photos were taken with a cheap plastic box camera I carried that summer (maybe the same camera I had at Lassen?).
Grand Teton and Disappointment Peak, superimposed in front of it
Mt. Owen and Teton Glacier moraine
Next, I hiked up to Hanging Canyon, which contains Cube Point, Symmetry Spire, Rock of Ages and Lake of the Crags.
Left to right: Cube Point, Ribbon Cascade (below) and Symmetry Spire
Rock of Ages, from Ramshead Lake, with glissade tracks in the snow
Rock of Ages
Lake of the Crags, at the foot of Rock of Ages
My first climb was of Ice Point, with Art D.
Here’s the summit register from that climb, on July 17, 1960.
Summit register Ice Point, 1960. Also signed in are M.E. (Rick) Horn, on 7/12 and Pete Lev on 7/14, both of whom I climbed with later on.
Bradley Lake. I went fishing at Bradley and Taggart lakes with Rick Horn
My next climb was of Hangover Pinnacle, with Peter Koedt. He was the 16 yr. old son of a wonderful couple – Bob and Inge Koedt. Bob was in charge of maintenance at Jackson Lake Lodge.
Peter Koedt, eating a boxed lunch from the Lodge
Left to right- Storm Pt., Ice Pt. and Hangover Pinnacle
Peter leads, on Hangover Pinnacle
Peter leads, Hangover Pinnacle. My note on the back of the photo says “gestures with his foot to show position”. I had probably yelled: “Hey, where did you go?”
Peter on summit of Hangover Pinnacle
Hangover summit – Peter’s legs and Jenny Lake
Hangover Pinnacle notch, next to Symettry Spire, and my brand-new kletterschuhe
Hangover Pinnacle, Peter rappelling, with Jenny Lake below
Then I went for my first mountain – the Middle Teton, by the North Ridge, on July 29 and 30, with a camp in Garnet Canyon. The hike to Garnet Canyon includes the infamous 17 (or is it 19?) switchbacks in the forest, before the trail traverses into the canyon at about timberline.
Garnet Canyon by first light. Left to right: Cloudveil Dome, Spalding Peak and Gilkey Tower
The headwall and the Lower Saddle
Middle Teton Glacier and Dike Pinnacle
Middle Teton North Face, with the black chimney on the Direct North Face route
Middle Teton, NW gully. My friend, Harry Frishman, fell down this gully to his death during a winter climb, about 20 years later.
Middle Teton Black Dike Gully, and my partner Mike Ermarth
Middle Teton summit, me, and the Grand Teton beyond. The Upper Saddle is the notch immediately to the left of the shadowed upper part of the peak
Summit register, Middle Teton, 1960
Signed-in right below my name are Joe Fitschen and Royal Robbins, who did, the same day, the first ascent of the Direct North Face. We saw them ahead of us on Middle Teton Glacier, in the early morning. I become friends with both later.
Evening fishing in the beaver ponds for brook trout
Alaska Basin hike. Left to right: Mt. Owen, the Grand and Middle Teton, from the northeast. On the Grand, the North face is sunlit, the West Face is in shadow, and the intersection between the two is the North Ridge. The deep notch to the right of the summit is the Upper Saddle. The Lower Saddle is the sunlit low point between the Grand and Middle Teton.
The Alaska Basin hike circles around the Teton group of peaks. It begins with a hike up Cascade Creek, right past Teewinot and Mt. Owen. When west of the peaks, the trail climbs along the South Fork of Cascade Creek, and goes over Hurricane Pass, right by Schoolroom Glacier.
Having hiked south of the peaks, this is a view of the Grand and Middle Teton, from the southwest
At Hurricane Pass, Schoolroom Glacier, meltwater pond and moraine. They are so named because they are such good examples of their kind.
From Hurricane Pass, the trail descends into Alaska Basin and passes Sunset Lake. It then re-ascends to a pass just to the east of Buck Mountain.
Sunset Lake, in Alaska Basin. Grand Teton in view to the north, through the notch
Looking across Death Canyon to Rimrock Lake
Once past Buck Mountain, the trail descends steeply into Death Canyon, which canyon is followed downhill to Phelps Lake, back at the east side of the range, and the end of the hike.
Death Canyon, with Buck Mountain to the right. Phelps Lake lies inside of the long wooded moraine that begins at the mouth of the canyon and runs to the left of the photo.
The next climb was Mt. St. Johns.
Mt. St. Johns, from the valley
Great East Couloir, between Mt. St. Johns (left) and Rockchuck Pk. (right)
On the climb of Mt. St. Johns. Looking down at String Lake (left), Jenny Lake (right) and Laurel Lake on the bench.
Descent from Mt. St. Johns and a pair of moose
Cube Point attempt. I managed to get my finger smashed by a rock.
Cube Pt., with Bill
Cube Point attempt, injured finger
On August 28, I climbed the East Face/Black Chimney route on Teewinot with three other Lodge employees, Phil, Susie and Buddy. It was done in one long day.
Left to right: Middle Teton, the Grand Teton and the East Face of Teewinot
The Grand Teton and Teewinot, east faces
Teewinot East Face, but more towards the East Ridge, for more exciting climbing.
Teewinot, Phil follows on a nice 4th. class pitch
Teewinot, Black Chimney
Teewinot summit, and the North Face of the Grand Teton. Teton Glacier is seen at the base of the North Face. I would climb the North Face four years later.
From the summit of Teewinot, Mt. Owen, the Northeast Snowfields, which I would climb four years later. The North Ridge of the Grand is to the left.
Teewinot summit. Looking straight down 4500′ to Cascade Creek. And my shoe.
On the descent from Teewinot, the Idol and Worshiper, with Bradley and Taggart lakes beyond
Teewinot summit register, 8/4 – 8/30/1960
To complete my first season of climbing, I enlisted Bill Dickerson to do the Grand with me. We climbed it on Sept. 9 and 10. We did the Owen-Spalding route, which goes first to the Lower Saddle, then the Upper Saddle, and then a traverse out onto the West Face. This traverse brings you to an icy chimney, the Owen Chimney, which is the key to the climb.
Middle Teton Glacier, by first light, as we approach the Lower Saddle
Bill, at Eye of the Needle, on the way up from the Lower Saddle to the Upper Saddle
Exum route ledge. This ledge is followed to the skyline, and from there the route goes up along the ridge crest. This was not our route that day, but I would return to climb it later.
Teewinot, from the summit of the Grand Teton, with Jenny Lake below
From the summit of the Grand, East Ridge, Teton Glacier and moraine
From the summit of the Grand, looking south to Middle Teton and glacier and South Teton
Me, on the summit of the Grand Teton. age 20. On top of the world!
Bill, on the Owen rappell, which returns you to the Upper Saddle
Grand Teton summit register, Sept. 9 – 15, 1960, and June 14 -25, 1961
In September, I also went to Yellowstone to do some hiking and fishing.
Grebe Lake, Arctic Grayling
Last, but not least – although this post is concerned with my summer’s climbing activities, this summer was also the occasion that I met Karen Holdaway, who, six or so years later, became my wife. I was, at the hotel, the fountain runner, and she was a fountain waitress. The fountain waitresses were the royalty of the hotel staff. They were all great looking, and highly desirable. But none of them more so than Karen. She was a Mormon princess, and I had to have her!
After the Lodge closed, I went on a climbing trip to eastern Wyoming, with Rick Horn. This trip is recounted in the following post: