Sunday, August 30, 2015

Grand Teton - Beyer East face

Kyle leading out on the second pitch of the Beyer East face.

I was fortunate to catch up with my brother in the Tetons during his move from a PhD program in Chicago to a physics post-doc at Stanford. Saturday was forecast to be quite cold, so we settled on the warmest objective on the Grand that we could think of. Leah, Kyle and I left the car at a semi-alpine hour of 5:30 and made it to the Lower Saddle in a touch over 3 hours. Another hour plus had us across the black dike, through Glencoe col and at the base of the route.  We were elated to be on the warm, sunny side of the mountain.
Kyle leading out.

Hanging out with my favorite person in the mountains.  Good stuff.
Climbing the clean fist crack on the second pitch.  Most of the photos were taken by Leah
For those who do not know, Kyle is a super strong climber, so it was natural to put him on lead from the start. With a good topo and Leah's memory from climbing the route in the past, Kyle lead the first five pitches quickly.  Although the splitter second pitch was the highlight, every pitch was quite good.  I took over and lead two short and easy pitches to the end of the roped climbing on the upper Underhill ridge.
Kyle on the crux 5th pitch.
I took over once the climbing eased.

Starting the final pitch on the upper Underhill. Photo: Kyle
With ropes stashed, we scrambled easily for over a thousand vertical to the summit, arriving on top among a hoard of Exum and OS parties and a fast party at the end of the Cathedral traverse. We tarried on the summit for only a few minutes before starting down.  The descent was long.  We did both the Sargents chimney and lower raps, then pounded it out to the lower saddle.  For some reason, we all kind of hit a wall at the Lower Saddle, and the ensuing hike out turned into a bit of a slog. We returned to the car tired, with headaches from the smoke and elevation, and with the clear reminder that even with eighteen Grand summits between the three of us, the Grand is always a big and challenging day.
Return of the alpine Ninja!  Good luck settling in at Stanford, Kyle.

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