Climbing Up A Teton

 

PRE-CLIMB

This Was a Pretty Cool Day for me that nearly didn’t happen. It started two days before, trying to collect my ice axe and crampons from the post office. I went in to enquire if a parcel had arrived and there was no parcel but the lady took my name and said she would set it aside. When I went back to collect it the next morning I was greeted by her saying. ‘They tried to deliver it but I had to refuse delivery as you hadn’t paid to have it left here, you better call UPS and find out where its gone before its lost’.

‘Thankyou’ I said in slight disbelief. I walked out and cycled back to camp.

A while later in the afternoon, and after calling UPS I found it had been take to a depot 27 miles away. On my bike I hopped and peddled as fast as I could to Jackson. I collected my parcel and cycled back. O well, 54miles isn’t too bad. When I arrived back it was around 6pm. I didn’t want to use my legs but it could have been worse.

At the campground the attendant came around for money for the night. I had only a couple of dollars left in my wallet. ‘You’ll have to go to moose to get some cash then’. second sigh of the day and i hopped on my bike and peddled the 7.5mile there and 7.5mile back. It had been a hot day, I hadn’t eaten properly and my legs were slightly cramped. This was not the easy day I imagined. Instead of 15miles, I did around 84. I rolled out my sleeping bag on a tent pitch and lay down.

SUMMIT DAY.

I woke at half 4. I was late. The plan was to be up at half 2 and start walking to the trail head. I lay there, trying to dig for that determination I had years ago. I twisted the nozzle on my camping pad and it deflated. I was committed now! No going back.

I chucked my sleeping kit into a bear box(large metal container that stores food away from bears) and pulled out my rucksack. I started walking. It was 2.6 mile to the trail head, when I arrived, I could tell sunrise was close. Half 5- I ate a choc bar, drank a 5 hour energy and started walking up. At the treeline daylight was breaking. Some of the trail i was running up. When I reached the snow in Garnet canyon I walked as high as I could then put on crampons. Up the South Fork I kept pushing fast. Suddenly it ended. The ground dropped away, I could see for miles. I was at the saddle already. It was around 7.45 am. After a few quick pics, I looked up towards the summit and started up the ridge line and into a hidden gully. It was joy, just out of the gully was good clean easy rock to climb up.  At Half 8- I was on the summit. I checked the time. Then I sat down. No one in sight. This was a pretty special feeling. The ground dropped away in all directions, I turned off my music………silence. I dithered a bit trying to get a few good pics, then after about 15 minutes I started descending.  The way down was as nice as the way up. An interaction with something natural. When I reached the saddle between the South and Middle Tetons, I decided one was enough for the day. I walked to the snow and started sliding. It was joy, glissading till it was too steep to stand. I came across another climber on the way up. ‘Butt-slide it man!!!’. And so I did. All the while fearing my lycra cycling shorts (yes I was wearing my cycling clothing) would rip and leave me in a precarious exposed position. At the end of the snow I started running, this was it, a perfect day. I reached the trail head at 11am. It was a quick day. A climber also finishing at the same time from another peak gave me a ride back to the campground. Harry and Roelie were there making lunch. They gave me fresh coffee and delicious apple and I told them of the day I had.

AFTER CLIMB.

Most would probably stop after a good alpine day, but I decided while on a roll to roll on to the next pass. a nice 43 miles , with around 8 of them near 6p.c. gradient. The flies loved me. I did not share this feeling and spent the whole ascent swinging a bottle of bear spray in the air. just over the top and I realised my back tyre was bald. I decided to change it. This was a terrible idea as the next hour was spent like a mad man fighting mosquitoes while trying to fit the new one. With the tyre barely on right i lumpily rolled down hill to the campground a mile away.

Today I cycled 103 miles to Lander where I have showered for the first time in days, this is a good thing. Tomorrow will be iced coffee and feet up.