Monday, February 27, 2012

Half Dome, 1990

Our trip continued, now coastal California, now inland. And a climb of Half Dome, another great western walk-up, in Yosemite NP.
The girls, somewhere on the coast; I remember there were banana slugs at the

The Millennium Falcon among the Big Trees

Half Dome in profile

It's a long hike around to the far base and...

The cables that go up to the top (click to enlarge
and see the people ...)

To wit...

The summit

Closer up, with one of the residents

View from the top

Yosemite Valley

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Lassen Peak, 1990

After Oregon, our 1990 family road trip turned south, and we camped at Lassen Volcanic NP. While the girls hiked in the valleys, I climbed Lassen Peak, another fine walk-up.
Rebecca and Rachel at Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen Peak

On the trail

Shasta in the distance

Summit area

Lava flows, presumably from the last big eruption, 1915

Shasta drive-by

Wheeler Peak, Nevada, 1990

Tempus fugit. Between 1972 and 1990, we had two wonderful children, lived in Columbus, Ohio and then in Dallas, Texas, earned six graduate degrees between us, owned three homes (well, "owned"), and had moved from the graduate student modus vivendi to that of young suburban professionals. Well, middle-aged suburban professionals.

Our modus transportandi had undergone various changes too. I have always thought of the early 90s as our automotive Golden Age. In the years before, we had owned two VW campers and an array of other VWs, Toyotas, a Honda, and a BMW.  By 1990, however, our fleet was one of the more unusual, at least for people who are not automotive fanatics.
After our 1989 family European vacation, in a rented RV, we bought the
Millennium Falcon in Dallas; a Ford van with a fully self-contained camper
package manufactured by Falcon; in 1990 we bought the 1974 harvest gold
Austin Mini, to become Rebecca's car, surely the most unusual car in the
student lot at Hockaday; we had been Mini enthusiasts since college, and
we'd love to have another real Mini

The automotive love of my life, of course, was the 1982 911SC; it later became
Rebecca's freshman year at Cornell; Vicki and I actually tent-camped out of this
car in Colorado and Wyoming in the later 80s (off the web)

Which brings us to Wheeler Peak in Nevada, summer of 1990; we drove the
Millennium Falcon from Dallas to the Oregon coast--its maiden voyage with
us--visiting the assorted Four Corners states and national parks en route, and
stopping here at the nation's then newest national park, Great Basin; Wheeler
Peak is Nevada's highest actual peak, a bit over 13,000 feet, and it is a
significant and very enjoyable walk-up from the campground at 10,000 feet
(not to be confused with New Mexico's Wheeler Peak, also its highest, also
a fine walk-up and which I did sometime in the late 80s)

From near the campground

On the summit ridge

I generally sign the summit register, if there is one; and in this case actually
photographed it

View from the summit


The Great Basin

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Teewinot Twice, Almost, 1972 and 1977

Fresh from my triumphs on the Grand and Middle Tetons, we resolved to do something together, namely ascend Teewinot, the pinnacly peak most prominent from Jenny Lake. Though not a technical climb, its east face route is not exactly a walk-up either. Its summit is a single monolith 4,000 above Valhalla Canyon. But we had equipment, growing experience, the weather was good, and Vicki was game. She always is.
The Grand Teton, left, and Teewinot, center, from Lupine

East face of Teewinot; the route goes up through the
forested area on the right, passes to the right of the two
large pinnacles in the center of the photo (the Idol and
the Worshipper), then up assorted gulleys, ridges,
snowfields, etc.

Camping the first night near tree-line; always one of my
favorite pictures of my bride...

Next morning, below the Idol and

Working our way on up past the Idol
and Worshipper

Still higher...

Looking up toward the summit; at this point the weather
began closing in--we could hear thunder on the other side--
and at this altitude and season you get a wintry mix that
makes footing difficult; add in the relative lateness of the
day and the prospect of a descent in the dark...we decided
the mountain would still be there the next year, snapped
a few pix, and began our retreat

The "Cathedral Group" perspective...Teewinot, the Grand
and Mt. Owen; anyway, it was on that descent in 1972 that
we figured out that Vicki's climbing forte was not on the
downside...we got back to the camper just before midnight,
exhausted, in tatters (Vicki's jeans), and ready to re-think
any climbing that was off-trail; and so we came to add
climbing to bridge, tennis, and paddling, the major things
we do not do well together

Fast-forward to 1977, and we are back
in the Tetons, and I am doing Teewinot
as a very long day-hike, here pretty
close to where we stopped in 1972

Jackson's Hole, the Snake River, from the summit of
Teewinot; I was there alone and so satisfied myself with
sitting on the summit block, not standing

Looking northwest toward, I think, Lake Solitude

And Mt. St. John, and Mt. Moran and Jackson Lake

The Grand Teton and Mt. Owen from Teewinot; Gunsight
Notch in the middle there

North face of the Grand and Teton 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ascent of the Grand Teton, 1972 (also the Middle Teton)

We toured more of California, including the Bay area, and then drove back to the Tetons, by way of Seattle and the Canadian Rockies. Not a straight line, granted, but in Seattle was the REI store (the only one in those days), and I needed to buy climbing gear; and Canada's great Jasper and Banff National Parks seemed not all that much out of the way. Gas was about 40 cents a gallon (not adjusted for inflation nor changes in disposable per capita income). We didn't climb or hike in the Canadian Rockies--which are stupendously beautiful--but just did some scenic driving and day hikes and reconnaissance, figuring we were sure to return. We did, some years after moving to Montana in 1996.

FWIW, I have always been proud of my very low six-figure REI membership number. Present-day clerks appear to be impressed. Or maybe just deferential or nice to persons of age. Sometime in the 80s, en route to soloing the South Teton and Cloudveil Dome, I met member #4, who was apparently a former REI VP for research and development. I didn't bother to show him my card.

Anyhow, on arriving back at Jenny Lake, I went to the climbers' ranch and, via its bulletin board, found two other singletons interested in climbing in the area. One was a recent high school graduate--his father was superintendent of Sequoia NP--and he had just climbed Mt. McKinley. The other was a recent graduate of the Air Force Academy, en route to training and flying SR70s. He had done some Colorado climbing and obviously was fit. And smart. I was the organizer and elder of the group, at age 25, and clearly its least experienced and skilled member. It was as close as I ever got to being Lord Hunt.

Anyhow, it worked. We hiked up to the Lower Saddle, camped over-night there, climbed the Middle Teton the next day, camped again over-night on the Lower Saddle, then climbed the Grand the third day and hiked all the way back down to Jenny Lake. Exhausting but exhilarating. I can't say my memories of it all are crystal clear--they have been overlain by many more experiences in the Tetons and Winds and other mountains. But it was still the high point of my roped climbing career, brief as it was.
Teton midships: the Middle, the Grand, Mt. Owen, and
Teewinot; from the vicinity of Lupine Meadows

Upper reaches of the Grant Teton; our route, very roughly,
was the left-side ridge, the Exum Route

From the approach up Garnet Canyon, a view of the Middle
Teton; note the line in the middle, a black diabase dike; part
of the route goes up it...

Looking back toward Jackson's Hole

Alpenglow on the Grand, from the
Lower Saddle

Climbing up the black diabase dike on
the Middle Teton

Me on the summit of the Middle Teton: an electrifying

The Grand Teton, from the summit of the Middle

Sunset phenomena on the Lower Saddle

Sunset over Idaho

Climbing up the Exum Route: a view of the Middle Teton

Looking down on the Lower Saddle, between the Middle
and the Grand

The one action shot of the climb...I think I led this pitch,
then handed the belay over to the Air Force guy

At the summit of the Grand, looking south down the range

And to Bradley and Taggart Lakes, and Jackson's Hole

Teewinot and Jenny Lake, and Jackson Lake beyond