Grand Teton Facts

Climbing the Grand Teton is a much sought-after pastime by adventurous mountain climbers. Since it offers a number of routes to the top, and since the ascents may be completed in less than half a day, it is a perfect vacation experience for climbers making a visit to Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park. Of course, before you shoulder your rope and put on your harness, you should know some facts about the tallest of the Tetons.

Find the Grand Teton in Wyoming

Locate the Grand Teton in Grand Teton National Park, which is situated in Teton County, Wyoming. As you enter the park, drive up to Moran Junction and from there turn south to Moose Junction. Once you reach Moose Junction, head into a westerly direction and after seven miles you should reach the Lupine Meadow Trailhead. This trailhead is the starting point for climbing the Grand Teton.


Understanding the Name "Grand Teton"

Note that the mountain's name is sometimes referred to as being a French translation of "big teat;" alternatively it is said to find its namesake in the Teton Sioux tribe. Prior to this naming, the Grand Teton and its neighboring Middle and South Tetons were referred to as "Hoary Headed Fathers" by Shoshone tribal members.

Appreciate the Majesty of the Grand Teton

Looking to the tip of the Grant Teton, it is not hard to believe that the mountain is the second highest in all of Wyoming. With a height of 13,770 feet, it ranks among the 360 North American mountains that are designated as ultra-prominent peaks. This designation is reserved for mountains that measure at least 4,921 feet. Its majestic height makes the Grand Teton a favorite for mountain climbers.

Climb the Grand Teton

Reach the summit via a number of different climbing routes. The easiest method is the Owen-Spalding Route, which is rated a 5.5 on the Yosemite Decimal System. Slated to take less than half a day, an experienced climber with ropes and safety gear may expect a fun and slightly challenging climb. A secondary route---also rated a 5.5---is the Upper Exum Ridge Route. Summit Post estimates that since the early days of rock climbing the Grand Teton, some 35 routes to the top have been charted; from these, an additional 50 variations have been recorded.

Staying Safe on the Grand Teton

The Grand Teton experiences turbulent weather patterns. Afternoon thunderstorms in particular make the climb up a dangerous undertaking, and it is a good idea for you to plan your ascent for early in the morning. This ensures that you will be finished and have also completed your descent by early afternoon, well before afternoon thunderstorms may put you in danger of lightning strikes. Check the weather forecasts before planning your climb and as you enter the Grand Teton National Park, inform the park ranger of your climbing plans. If anything goes wrong, he will know that you are up on the mountain and might need help. Novice climbers may do well hiring an experienced guide for their first climb up the Grand Teton.


Article Written By Sylvia Cochran

Based in the Los Angeles area, Sylvia Cochran is a seasoned freelance writer focusing on home and garden, travel and parenting articles. Her work has appeared in "Families Online Magazine" and assorted print and Internet publications.

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