Grand Traverse Turned City of Rocks

While at Castle Rocks we didn’t see another soul, so nice.

August 23-27, 2013

A couple weeks back I headed to the Tetons with Aaron and Mark to try and do the granddaddy of the all Tetons climbing, the Grand Traverse.  The Traverse is a roughly 14 mile jaunt through the most of the major peaks in the range.  While similar to the Presidential Traverse in theory it is significantly more committing, difficult, and tiring.  Much of the terrain is 3rd and 4th class scrambling, with a 50 Classic Climb thrown in the middle.  Oh and most of it is above 10,000′.  The plan was to break it into two pieces over two days, still an ambitious task.  In the words of the famous alpinist, Jack Tackle, “you’ll be rock stars if you can on-sight it in two days.”  Well turns out the roadies never even unpacked the van.

We drove up in Aaron’s sweet Westie on Friday morning.  Throughout the day clouds built in the sky.  As we reached Jackson it was nearly all cloudy.  Any not the high overcast that you can still confidently charge into the wilderness with, it was the layered, 3D clouds that you know are going to dump.  Turns out that it did as we got to the trailhead for our rest before the 12am start we had planned.  Over the afternoon and evening it rained and we decided to postpone our departure by 24 hours.  Saturday as we killed time we headed to the Ranger station at Jenny Lake and learned that it had snowed up on the Grand overnight.  Our plans were dashed.  The timeline we had planned needed good, dry weather.  The conditions were anything but.  So what is any good climber to do?  Head to where the conditions are good.  Luckily being in this neck of the woods we drove to the City of Rocks in Idaho.

The City was a good time, though our ambitions, mainly Aaron’s and mine, were deflated and we didn’t have much drive to lead.  Rope gun Mark did much of the leading.  We camped on BLM land, enjoyed an amazing evening thunderstorm and wonderful rainbow.  It goes without saying that some beers were consumed, perhaps 1-2 more than necessary.  The Grand Traverse will have to wait for another day…