Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Grand Teton-Upper Exum

Grand Teton stands 13,770 feet above sea level. It doesn't even rank in the top 50 tallest peaks in the U.S. but this unique peak attracts thousands of climbers every year. The thing this peak has to offer is its unique silhouette. It is a steep tower with plenty of exposure. I was invited on this trip just last week and made the necessary arrangements. Before I knew it, another peak that I had dreamed of climbing was being made possible.

We spent the night in Rexburg, ID at one of Kristopher's school buddies houses. We awoke early the next morning to make the drive to the trail head. As soon as we were on the trail my feet began to give me some issues. The approach was long.... really long. Even though it was six miles we were pretty done hiking by the time we got there. Next time I will do this one light and fast.

In the parking lot we ran into SLC SHERPA and his brother were just getting back from a "run". They ran up to the saddle then went to the summit via Owen Spalding Route. They made it to the summit and back in just over four hours. What would take us two days they did in a few hours. I might need to start running.

We settled in for the night planning to wake up at 5 a.m., when in reality we should have been up and on the trail by 4. a.m. As soon as we were above the saddle the terrain ramped up. I have never been around that much exposure, at some points it seemed like thousands of feet on each side of you. The climbing was good and we all had a great time. It was a never ending climb and every time we thought we were close we realized we still had a long way to go.

For some reason I became really gripped on the friction pitch. We were simulclimbing and I mentally wasn't up for it for some reason. As soon as we were through it I was fine, and I don't think there would be a problem if I were to go back. After what seemed an endless ascent we made the summit along with some other parties. It was a good feeling, but we only stayed up there for a couple minutes before starting back down.

The descent off of the summit went fast until we hit the lower slopes... the rest of the way down was a miserable haul. My shoes were again giving me problems and slowed my pace. We eventually made it back to the car and spent the rest of the night driving back home. Grand Teton was an amazing climb, but we were all pretty miserable at the end of it. Lighter and faster will be the theme of my next voyage.
Sunset on the drive up.
From Rexburg, ID to Jackson, WY
An amazing feature

Looking up at Middle Teton

A wild fire was burning in the background as we settled in for the night.
Good morning
Teton's shadow in the distance

It was a tiring day... Here we were on wallstreet

The Golden Staircase. Parker takes the lead.
 Summit Photo: Kristopher, me, Austing, Parker

Kristopher on his way down.

Lake Powell 2011

The family Lake Powell trip always brings with it the promise of down time. This year was a little bit more busy with more people during the first part of the week. We had a fairly large group of people down and at times it seemed like there was nowhere to sit down. We all had a blast. Two groups went home early leaving a few of us there.

The water was great every morning and we went out for some early skiing. It was the best skiing I have had in a long time. Going out on the boat early has its perks; the air is nice and cool, the water is glass, normally only three of four people are willing to get up and go, and you can go for as long as you want.

The trip was great. We ran into some hiccups at the end when our boat gave out and then returning to the marina the houseboat's starboard engine gave out. It was fun just being with family and friends. One of my favorite things was to just sit and talk with my dad. There is no other vacation like Lake Powell.
The group.
 My future wife.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Fall River, Idaho

I was invited to spend the weekend with the Andersen's in one of their favorite locations, "The Point" on the Fall River in Idaho. We all piled in the van and made the drive up stopping at the traditional spots, Smith and Edwards and Maddox Restaurant. It was fun being a part of these family traditions. While at Smith and Edwards Neena's Dad, Steve, bought me some fly's to use up on the river. This would be my first time fly fishing and I was really grateful to have someone show me the ropes.

We spent the next few days in and out of the river. I spent as much time as I could fishing, once I caught my first fish I was pretty hooked. We went in to Driggs, ID for an afternoon and had a great lunch one of the days. One of the more amazing parts of the trip was to sit out under the stars, I got a little camera happy and spent a long time trying for long exposures. It was a fun trip that I wouldn't mind doing more often... I need some fly fishing gear now though.

Learning to fish.

 My first fish on a fly.
 She is great.

 Idaho night.

 Hanging out making smores

A few final shots of Rainier National Park