Some of you many know about the plans to build a bouldering park at the base of Snow King this summer. Rumor has it that Teton Boulder Project is over the halfway mark in collecting funds for its construction. Part of the design element is having a steel retaining wall, in the shape of the structure found on top of The Enclosure, that will have the Teton Range’s most significant climbing achievements laser etched into it. Historian, guidebook author and TBP volunteer, Renny Jackson, has been working on such a list and seeks input from all you Teton rock-jocks to help finalize it. If you spot an omission, or see something that you feel doesn’t belong, please speak up in the comments section. Thanks.
The Most Significant Achievements in Teton Climbing History
Within each of the following achievements there is a story. In some cases, the story has several chapters that correspond to how a particular climb or our perception of a mountain evolves over time. For example, the first ascent of an unclimbed peak is often made by the easiest route possible. Over time more difficult ascents are sought out; routes may eventually be free-soloed, or climbed during the wintertime, or as a race against the clock. Sometimes they are even descended on skis or snowboards. Each of the following achievements fits one or both of these criteria:
?? It contributed significantly to the evolution of climbing and/or ski mountaineering in the US. ??
?? It is recognized as an “American classic.” ??
1. The Enclosure (13,280+‘), South Couloir (Third Class)
- First ascent unknown; presumably made by either by one or more Native Americans, or by a trapper named Michaud (last name unknown; possibly LeClaire), who was reported to have attempted the Grand Teton in ca. 1843.
2. Grand Teton (13,770‘), Owen-Spalding (II 5.4)
- First Ascent (Claimed): Nathaniel Langford, James Stevenson (July 29, 1872)
- First Ascent (Certain): William Owen, Franklin Spalding, Frank Petersen, John Shive (August 11, 1898)
- First Female Ascent: Albert R. Ellingwood, Eleanor Davis (August 27, 1923)
- First Winter Ascent: Paul and Eldon Petzoldt, Fred Brown (December 19, 1935)
3. Grand Teton, Exum Ridge (II 5.5 [Upper]; III 5.7 [Complete])
- First Ascent (Upper): Glenn Exum (July 15, 1931)
- First Ascent (Complete): Jack Durrance, Kenneth Henderson (September 1, 1936)
4. Grand Teton, North Ridge (IV 5.8)
- First Ascent: Robert Underhill, Fritiof Fryxell (July 19, 1931)
- First Free Ascent: Fritz Wiessner, William House, Percy Olton, Beckett Howorth (August 30, 1936)
- First Winter Ascent: George Lowe, Dave Carman (March 20–22, 1975)
- First Ascent: Jack Durrance, Paul and Eldon Petzoldt (August 25, 1936)
- Direct Finish: Richard Emerson, Willi Unsoeld, Leigh Ortenburger (July 24, 1953)
- First Manless Ascent: Irene Ortenburger, Sue Swedlund (August 17, 1965)
- First Winter Ascent: George Lowe, Greg and Mike Lowe, Rick Horn (February 28–March 2, 1968)
- First Winter Ascent, Direct Finish: Alex Lowe, Jack Tackle (January 1–3, 1987)
- First Winter Solo Ascent, Direct Finish: Alex Lowe (one-day ascent, January, 1992)
6. Grand Teton, West Face (IV 5.8)
- First Ascent: Jack Durrance, Henry Coulter (August 14, 1940)
- First Winter Ascent: George Lowe, Jeff Lowe (February 19–24, 1972)
7. Mt. Moran (12,605‘), Direct South Buttress (V 5.8 A1 or V 5.12-)
- First Ascent: Richard Emerson, Don Decker, Leigh Ortenburger (August 29–30, 1953)
- First Free Ascent: Stan Mish, Hal Gribble (July 3, 1979)
- First Winter Ascent: Hans Johnstone, Mark Newcomb, Renny Jackson (March 5–7, 2001)
8. Jenny Lake Boulders, Red Cross Rock, Gill Problem (V9 or 5.13+)
- First Ascent: John Gill (August 1959)
9. Grand Teton, Black Ice Couloir (IV AI3+ 5.7)
- First Ascent: Ray Jacquot, Herb Swedlund (July 29, 1961)
10. The Grand Traverse (V+ 5.8)- A traverse of Teewinot Mountain, East Prong, Mt. Owen, Grand Teton, Middle Teton, South Teton, Ice Cream Cone, Gilkey Tower, Spalding Peak, Cloudveil Dome and Nez Perce.
- First Ascent (Nez Perce to Teewinot): Allen Steck, Dick Long, John Evans, (August 12, 1963)
- First Ascent (Teewinot to Nez Perce): Jim McCarthy, Lito Tejada-Flores (August 17–19, 1966)
- Speed Ascent: Alex Lowe (8:40, August 1988)
- Speed Record: Rolando Garibotti (6:49, mid-August, 2000)
- First Winter Ascent: Mark Newcomb, Stephen Koch (January 17–19, 2004); Hans Johnstone, Renny Jackson (January 17–20, 2004)
11. Grand Teton, Upper East Face Snowfield/Stettner Couloir (II AI2+ 5.7)
- First Ski Descent: Bill Briggs (June 16, 1971)
12. Grand Teton, Northeast Couloir (aka Hossack-MacGowan) (IV AI2+ 5.6)
- First Winter Ascent and First Ski Descent: Hans Johnstone, Mark Newcomb (February 16, 1996)
How about if we start calling it the Spalding-Owen?
Also, save me some of that steel for when I send the Golden Pillar. It’s gonna be sick.
The SO…I like it. Reminds me of THE MAN though.
Excellent video and loved the soundtrack choice. The Teton climbing history is wonderful, and coming from a many year history in Montana of discouraging guidebooks (having been battered down in a big way the last few years) having something like is proposed at the Boulder Project is a good way to keep the history and make it more public. Thanks for the post.
thanks tobin. seems even teton climbers like the PJ!!!
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