Grand Teton

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Grand Teton
Grand Teton GTNP1.jpg
Grand Teton from the southeast
Highest point
Elevation 13,775 ft (4,199 m)  NAVD 88 [1]
Prominence 6,530 ft (1,990 m) [2]
Parent peak Gannett Peak [3]
Coordinates 43°44′28″N110°48′09″W / 43.741207756°N 110.802413942°W / 43.741207756; -110.802413942 Coordinates: 43°44′28″N110°48′09″W / 43.741207756°N 110.802413942°W / 43.741207756; -110.802413942 [1]
USA Wyoming location map.svg
Red triangle with thick white border.svg
Grand Teton
Location Grand Teton National Park, Teton County, Wyoming, U.S.
Parent range Teton Range
Topo map USGS Grand Teton, WY
First ascent 1872 or 1898. See First ascent
Easiest route Climb, class 5.4.

Grand Teton is the highest mountain in Grand Teton National Park, [2] in Northwest Wyoming, and a classic destination in American mountaineering.



Grand Teton, at 13,775 feet (4,199 m), [1] is the highest point of the Teton Range, and the second highest peak in the U.S. state of Wyoming after Gannett Peak. The mountain is entirely within the Snake River drainage basin, which it feeds by several local creeks and glaciers. [2] The Teton Range is a subrange of the Rocky Mountains, which extend from northern British Columbia to northern New Mexico.



Grand Teton's name was first recorded as Mount Hayden by the Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition of 1870. However, the name "the Grand Teton" had early currency. The Edition of April, 1901 of the USGS 1:125,000 quadrangle map of the area shows "Grand Teton" as the name of the peak. A United States National Park named "Grand Teton National Park" was established by law in 1929. By 1931, the name Grand Teton Peak was in such common usage that it was recognized by the USGS Board on Geographic Names. Another shift in usage led the Board to shorten the name on maps to Grand Teton in 1970. [4]

In terms of etymology for the mountain's naming, the most common explanation is that "Grand Teton" means "large teat" or "large nipple" in French (téton), named by either French-Canadian or Iroquois members of an expedition led by Donald McKenzie of the North West Company. [5] Unsubstantiated claims exist that the mountain was named after the Teton Sioux tribe of Native Americans, even though this tribe lived about 200 miles (320 km) away in the Dakotas, not Wyoming. [6] Moreover, in terms of etymology studies, the Teton Sioux tribe's name is stated as being "not related" to the Grand Teton. [7]

First ascent

Winter on Grand Teton at center with Mount Owen at right and Nez Perce at left. The Middle and South Teton peaks lie west of Nez Perce, out of view. Grand Teton in Winter-NPS.jpg
Winter on Grand Teton at center with Mount Owen at right and Nez Perce at left. The Middle and South Teton peaks lie west of Nez Perce, out of view.

There is a disagreement over who first climbed Grand Teton. Nathaniel P. Langford and James Stevenson claimed to have reached the summit on July 29, 1872. [8] However, some believe their description and sketches match the summit of The Enclosure, a side peak of Grand Teton. The Enclosure is named after a man-made palisade of rocks on its summit, probably constructed by Native Americans. Mountaineer and author Fred Beckey believes that the two climbed the Enclosure because their description better matches it and does not accurately describe the true summit, nor does it mention the formidable difficulties found just above the Upper Saddle. Beckey also believes that they summited the Enclosure because it was traditional with members of the Hayden Geological Survey of 1871 to build a cairn in such a place, but no such cairn was found when William O. Owen reached the summit of Grand Teton in 1898. [9] In all likelihood, The Enclosure was first climbed by Native Americans as suggested by Langford in 1873. [10] Supporters of Owen included The Wyoming Legislature and Paul Petzoldt, former pioneer American climber. [11] Ironically among Langford's supporters was Franklin Spalding, who led the ascent to the summit and tossed the rope that allowed Owen and the others to follow. [8]

Mountaineer and author Leigh Ortenburger researched the controversy in depth, using original source material, for his 1965 climber's guidebook. Ortenburger concluded: "Since historical 'proof' is extremely unlikely to be forthcoming for either side of the argument, perhaps the best way of regarding the problem, short of a detailed analysis of the probabilities, is to state that in 1872 Langford and Stevenson may have climbed the Grand Teton, in 1893 Kieffer, Newell, and Rhyan may have climbed it, and in 1898 Spalding, Owen, Peterson, and Shive definitely did succeed in reaching the summit." [12]

First ski and snowboard descents

Climbing routes

Grand Teton can be climbed via the Owen-Spalding route (II, 5.4). A short section of the route is highly exposed and previous alpine climbing experience is recommended before attempting an ascent; nonetheless, athletes with no prior climbing experience regularly reach the summit. The Owen-Spalding route is named for the climbers who claim to have made the first ascent: William Owen, Franklin Spalding, Frank Peterson, and John Shive. There is some debate as to which group made the first ascent; see that discussion. Notwithstanding the first-ascent controversy, this climbing route has been firmly named after William Owen and Franklin Spalding. The Owen-Spalding route begins at the Lower Saddle [17] which is reached by walking from the Lupine Meadows Trailhead to Garnet Canyon and then up to the Lower Saddle on a trail that's fairly well defined. The more technical & exposed part of the climb begins at the Upper Saddle.

Ski descent

The Grand Teton has been skied by five routes, each requiring at least one rappel. The first descent on skis was made by Bill Briggs in the spring of 1971 down the East Face and Stettner Couloir, it has since been renamed the Briggs Route. This descent required a free rappel, which was completed with skis on. More casually, skiing is possible from the crest of the saddle between the Grand and the Middle Teton, continuously into the valley floor.[ citation needed ]

See also

Related Research Articles

Grand Teton National Park United States National Park in northwestern Wyoming

Grand Teton National Park is an American national park in northwestern Wyoming. At approximately 310,000 acres, the park includes the major peaks of the 40-mile-long (64 km) Teton Range as well as most of the northern sections of the valley known as Jackson Hole. Grand Teton National Park is only 10 miles (16 km) south of Yellowstone National Park, to which it is connected by the National Park Service–managed John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway. Along with surrounding national forests, these three protected areas constitute the almost 18,000,000-acre (7,300,000 ha) Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, one of the world's largest intact mid-latitude temperate ecosystems.

Mount Moran Mountain in Wyoming, United States

Mount Moran is a mountain in Grand Teton National Park of western Wyoming, USA. The mountain is named for Thomas Moran, an American western frontier landscape artist. Mount Moran dominates the northern section of the Teton Range rising 6,000 feet (1,800 m) above Jackson Lake. Several active glaciers exist on the mountain with Skillet Glacier plainly visible on the monolithic east face. Like the Middle Teton in the same range, Mount Moran's face is marked by a distinctive basalt intrusion known as the Black Dike.

The Exum Ridge is the name of a prominent rock buttress on the Grand Teton, the high point of the Teton Range in Wyoming. Grand Teton towers 13,770 feet above Jackson Hole, with an ascent of 6,700 feet which by any route requires a combination of hiking, rock climbing and rappelling.

Alex Lowe American mountaineer (1958-1999)

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Middle Teton Mountain in Wyoming, United States

Middle Teton is the third-highest peak in the Teton Range, in the U.S. state of Wyoming. Located within Grand Teton National Park, the peak is immediately southwest of Grand Teton, from which it is separated by a broad high ridge at 11,600 feet (3,540 m), known to local climbers as the Lower Saddle. The Middle Teton Glacier is located on the eastern slopes of the peak.

South Teton

South Teton is the fifth-highest peak in the Teton Range, Grand Teton National Park, in the U.S. state of Wyoming. The peak is south of Middle Teton and just west of Cloudveil Dome and is part of the Cathedral Group of high Teton peaks. The 40-mile-long (64 km) Teton Range is the youngest mountain chain in the Rocky Mountains, and began their uplift 9 million years ago, during the Miocene. Several periods of glaciation have carved South Teton and the other peaks of the range into their current shapes.

Symmetry Spire

Symmetry Spire is located in the Teton Range, Grand Teton National Park in the U.S. state of Wyoming. The mountain, first climbed via the east ridge route on August 20, 1929 by Fritiof Fryxell and Phil Smith, towers above the northwest shore of Jenny Lake and Cascade Canyon. The scenic Lake of the Crags, a cirque lake or tarn, is located northwest of the summit and is accessed by way of Hanging Canyon. Popular with mountaineers, the spire has numerous challenging cliffs.

Teepe Pillar

Teepe Pillar is located in the Teton Range, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, immediately south of Grand Teton. The peak is the seventh highest in the Teton Range. Teepe Pillar is separated from Grand Teton by a col which drops sharply to the east and west. Northeast of and well below the summit, the Teepe Glacier is situated in a cirque. From Jackson Hole, Teepe Pillar is difficult to observe except from the northeast as it is hidden from view by Disappointment Peak.

Disappointment Peak (Wyoming)

Disappointment Peak is in the Teton Range of Wyoming, in Grand Teton National Park and immediately southeast of Grand Teton. The peak is part of the Cathedral Group, a region of the Tetons noted for particularly rugged mountains. Disappointment Peak rises to the north of Garnet Canyon and to the west of Amphitheater and Surprise lakes. The peak has a variety of mountaineering routes, including the most difficult in the range.

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Glenn Exum numbers among the premier mountaineers in American climbing history. Exum is best remembered for ascents in the Teton Range. In 1931, while only in his teens, Exum was the first to climb the exposed ridge to the summit of Grand Teton which now bears his name. The Exum Ridge remains one of the most popular routes to the summit of Grand Teton. After traveling Europe and seeing mountain guides there essentially pull their clients up the mountain, Exum, along with his friend Paul Petzoldt, founded a climbing school to teach clients climbing skills to allow them to fully participate in ascending the mountain. The school they founded, now known as Exum Mountain Guides, still operates today within Grand Teton National Park.

<i>Fifty Classic Climbs of North America</i>

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The Lower Exum Ridge Route is the lower section of a technical rock climbing route up the Grand Teton's Exum Ridge in Wyoming. This section is often bypassed on hiking terrain by climbers who wish to do only the technically easier Upper Exum Ridge Route. The complete route is listed as the Direct Exum Ridge Route in Fifty Classic Climbs of North America.

The Upper Exum Ridge Route is the upper section of a technical rock climbing up the Grand Teton's Exum Ridge in Wyoming.

Robert L. M. Underhill

Robert Lindley Murray Underhill was an American mountaineer best known for introducing modern Alpine style rope and belaying techniques to the U.S. climbing community in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

William Octavius Owen (1859–1947) was a surveyor and civil engineer. On August 11, 1898, William Owen organized the first ascent of Grand Teton which at 13,775 feet (4,199 m)) is the highest peak in the Teton Range, in the U.S. state of Wyoming. Known by his nickname "Billy" even in adulthood due to his small stature, Owen served as the U.S. Mineral Surveyor for Wyoming and as U.S. Examiner of Surveys for the Department of the Interior until 1914. Owen was also elected as Wyoming State Auditor and served four years (1895–1899).

The Owen-Spalding route is a technical climbing route on Grand Teton, the highest peak in the Teton Range in Grand Teton National Park in the U.S. state of Wyoming. It was pioneered by William O. Owen, Franklin Spalding, Frank Peterson, and John Shive on August 11, 1898, during the mountain's first ascent. While Owen, who had made previous attempts in 1891 and 1897, organized the 1898 effort Spaulding was the more experienced mountaineer and first on the summit.

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