Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Teton Tails and Bunny Rabbits

Mid august eric and i went to Teton National Park to climb. WE met up with our friends Wes and Steph and attempted the full exum route on the Grand Teton in a day. everything would have been perfect, except that the night before a huge snow/ice storm blew across the higher elevations, creating a perfect icey layer over every piece of rock on the mountain. We started our day at 2:30 am, leaving their nice, warm, safe home and started on the hike at 3:30am. 7 or so miles later, we were at the lower saddle, at the base of the grand teton, at 8 am, in 2-3 inches of snow. We watched as the guides retreated from our proposed descent route, saying 'it will never go today, too icey and snowey'. "aww", we think, "but our route will surely get more sun and will warm up. plus the ice will be gone by the time we need to descend". we were wrong. but we go for it anyway. the base ramps leading up to the first pitch were complete ice-fall. so instead of turning away we just belay them out. our first pitch is a shaded chimney- absolutely no melting out going on there. but we decide to do it anyway. i have an incredibly tough time leading it, get my rope slotted and am unable to make any forward movement. i belay eric up to me on a totally sketchy anchor and he leads out the rest of the c limb. we both fall a couple times. i'm scared. i start to cry. sob is more like it. i haven't sobbed like that on a route since my very first trad lead ever when i thought we were all going to die. and it was COLD. soooo cold. and my fingers hurt, and my toes hurt, and my most-of-me hurt. eric got us to the top of the second pitch when we looked at the veritable waterfall that was the third pitch. that was it, we were bailing. that was exactly the right move to make. as we descended we looked back at our next available exit point on the mountain, a feature called "wall street" b/c it is so wide and a nice easy ramp. it was completely snow and ice covered. no one summited the Grand Teton that day. and we would not have been able to descend wall Street- even with a belay. we were all very happy to be getting off the mountain, although very disappointed that our attempt went so thwarted.
I'm discovering that when climbing in the mountains, i seem to get shut down because of weather about 40% of the time. i'm learning to accept that, know that the mountains will always be there, and i can return another time. you know, a few weeks after the fact, i had a great time. in fact, i'd do it again!

the next day we wanted sunshine and straight forward climbing. Baxter's Pinnacle provided us with just that. it was fantastic! hands are already getting cold- and this is just the approach hike!

aww the sun!! surely our route will be warm, dry, and easy...

the approach ramps...or ice-falls. guess it's time to start belaying!

hmm..that first pitch sure looks like it's shadey...
that's because it is!

top of the first pitch in the sun. i'm actually crying in this photo..and putting eric's glove over my half frozen foot.

steph and I on top of pitch 2. we are bailing!!

E and I.

aww- warm and sunny Baxter's...and a sandbagged "5.10" on the second pitch

amazing final pitch to Baxter's

jumping in Jenny Lake after it all!

our adventure should have mostly ended at this point, all we needed to do was drive home. we drove our brand new toyota Yaris up to jackson since it gets such great gas mileage and it was all road driving. we are in the exact middle of nowhere Idaho at 9:30 pm on Sunday night when we hit an innocent bunny. we laughed, make a joke about how i'm not the type of gal who minds hitting small furry creatures, when our over-heating engine light comes on. we pull over. that said innocent bunny was still stuck to the outside of our grill! our little yaris was no match for that big bunny!! it knocked the radiator off and caused our engine to overheat, blowing the head gasket, ruining the pistons, taking out the condensor and the starter. did i mention it's 10:00 pm on sunday night? we pull the car over at a burger drive in by Bear Lake and camp in the front yard. the owner was still around and nicely called us a tow truck in the morning (of course eric's schmansy iPhone didn't get service up there...). we have it towed 50 miles to Logan, Utah to a dealership where they suppposedly fixed everything (taking 2 weeks). as soon as we got the car back i immediately thought "something doens't sound right". sure enough, we take it to the dealership here in Salt lake where we bought it and they run some tests.
yup, "your car is idling high and 2 of the 4 cylinders are not functioning properly. you need a brand new engine"
back to the insurance claim (b/c this was considered a collision!). and our sweet little car is currently still being worked on today. it's been down for about 5 weeks now.

that was a big rabbit.

or a small car.

not sure which one :)