Better late than never I suppose?
This past August, I headed out to Jackson Hole for my brother-in-law's wedding. I had contacted a few friends of mine to see if they might want to join me out there for an attempt at the Grand or one the surrounding peaks, but no one bit! So, I called Exum Mountain Guides and picked a sweet climb called "Irene's Arete" (5.8/9 with a 10a finish). It begins on the right side of Garnett (Gannett?) Canyon...just south ot the Petzoldt Caves and takes a line straight up, for roughly 1000' along this beautifully aesthetic arete topping out just below the summit of Dissapointment Peak ( @ 11,600').
I met my guide at 5:00 on August 16th and filled out the usual forms...keeping our eyes on the skies as it was not a particularly clear morning. We hit the trail in Lupine Meadows and off we went. We reached the climb around 9:00 after a few breaks for water, bagels and cheese; jumped into the harnesses, donned the packs and 4th classed it ( a bit hairy) to the start of the first pitch roughly 100' in the air.
The climbing could not have been better. I won't break it down pitch for pitch as there were roughly 7, but I will tell you that about half way up, my guide looks at the sky with some concern. I asked him what he thought and he said..."not sure...usually these systems hit in the morning, dump rain for a short amount of time and move on". THis system had not moved an inch and appeared to be trapped behind Middle and Grand Teton. No sooner had we decided to push on we witnessed the first bolt of lightenting rocket off the peak of the Middle Grand. It sounded like a bomb going off and my heart beat doubled. Fortunately, at this point it began to rain! We climbed the next pitch at a quicker pace, but the storm seemed to be bareing down on us. The tempurature began to drop drastically and the rain quickened it pace. My guide shouted down to me " Are you comfortable with simul-climbing"? I was not entirely but shouted back in a voice that was not my own " Hell Yes!!" And so the last three pitches were done in record time, my feet barely touching the stone, my lungs bleeding from lack of oxygen and rest and at 2:00 we were standing on top of Dissapointment Peak.
The lightening cut our party short and we fourth classed it back down to ampitheater Lake, a quick shot of water and back down through Lupine Meadows (5 miles to go to the parking lot), wet tired but thankful for both the opportunity to have climbed such a classic line and to breathe another day!
Total round trip time (start to finish) 11.5 hours
We finished the trip off with a day at the Rodeo Wall clipping bolts and having a good time. Pretty interesting little crag..very thin, crimpy and greasy!!!