Monday, August 18, 2008

Guys Trip '08 (Grand Tetons)

This summer the "guys" agreed on the Tetons as a place with ample adventure opportunities. Originally we had planned to climb the Grand Teton but we eventually realized that was out of our league. So we shot for the Middle Teton but that ended up being a bust too. The trip was a riot despite our short comings.  Here is the trip log.

Everyone was optimistic at the start despite being at the Death Canyon trailhead. 

Rhett and I were the So Cal contingency.  He rocked the LA hat for the 30 plus miles.

Meanwhile little brother Rourke rocked the Gatorade.

Which eventually led to a "leaky" faucet.

Day one saw 3000 ft of elevation gain.  Rourke was wondering what he had got himself into.

Our first campsite probably wasn't within 10 miles of where our permit was for.  We took an intentional wrong turn to find some serenity.  It worked.  We were all by ourselves and without water for dinner.  

Rocky made due by cooking freeze dried stew with the only purple gatorade Rourke hadn't already drank.  We stretched it by putting it on tortillas and calling it a burrito.  Yeah, it was horrible, and we all went to bed thirsty that night.  

Bram represented the cougs well by powering down his purple burrito.  (Rocky and I ate half of ours and then hucked them into the forest for the bears.)

After passing a group of 12 adolescent girls the next morning, who all looked like they were handling things at least as well as we were, we all felt the 'manliness' of our trip was at stake if we didn't up the ante.  

So when we got half lost an hour later, we decided to just go with it.  We began "route finding." 

Since Bram had the most formal education we put him in charge of the map.  He attempted to guide us up the Middle Teton.  At the time it seemed like a good idea.  

We started with some small snow fields.

That eventually gave way to massive snow fields.
(We are the black dots in the distance.)

The good news was I finally felt justified in my crampon purchase of 3 years ago.  Prior to this day they had never seen the snow despite traveling in my pack for 90 miles plus.

Happy cramping!

Snow fields conquered but still no trail in sight, Rourke was starting to have some second thoughts about Bram's plan to make it up Middle Teton (visible in the top right corner), but the rest of us just ignored him.

Soon we were in more snow fields.

Some we were able to descend on our rears.  The only problem was we were suppose to be going up the mountain.

Because of blisters Rhett gave his feet a rest by wearing his chacos.

The snow fields gave his feet some intense "brain freezes" as he called them.

Rhett said this picture alone was worth the airfare. 

Eventually the terrain got pretty steep and we were all starting to have our doubts.  We had been climbing on all fours with full packs for a matter of an hour or so when a boulder was accidentally dislodged and nearly hit Bram.  This was the straw that broke the camels back and some explicatives began to fly (only in one direction) between a certain pair of brothers on the trip. (Me not being one of them.)  It was the kind of moment that you go on these trips for.     

Once out of harm's way, the heated temper subsided and the brothers made up.
(Brothers don't shake, brothers gotta HUG!)

Rocky led the way as we bushwhacked our way back to the nearest trail. 

That night Rhett let me sleep in his bivy.  Those things are not for the mildly claustrophobic.  I didn't think I was, but the panic I woke up in an hour after I fell asleep told me otherwise.

That night at camp Rourke had to dry his socks out.  He called it a tribute to Mr. Krugar's Christmas.

Day three we got back to traditional back packing and cranked up the mileage in an effort to get out a day earlier than planned so we could run the Snake river. 

Rhett pushed the pace and we all fought to keep up. 

We saw more epic country.

Rocky at Solitude Lake.  Rocky and I hiked ahead of the others so Rocky could hitchhike to get the truck while the others finished.  It worked out perfectly.

As usual we exaggerated our level of experience to convince a reputable company to rent us a raft.  The river was a little too mild for us and we eventually resorted to throwing each other over board as a means for excitement. 

Sara's favorite restaurant is The Cheesecake Factory and it turns out my new favorite is only two syllables different.  That's right "The Cheeseburger Factory" in Alpine, Wyoming. 

Check out that burger and tell me it wasn't worth the two years it shaved off my life.  No guys trip is complete without an eat off, and on this trip it was the big brothers from So Cal who dominated the rest of the field.  Although Rocky gave a valiant effort that ended in the alley behind the restaurant.   
All in all it was another epic guys trip!