From Aug. 1-4, Iâ€™ll find myself on a guided expedition to summit the Grand Teton. I canâ€™t believe it, and I canâ€™t wait!
The Grand Teton is a 13,770-foot-tall, rugged, beautiful peak in western Wyoming that Iâ€™ve looked at in awe many times. It is the tallest mountain in Grand Teton National Park, and the second highest in Wyoming. It is one of the worldâ€™s most beautiful mountain peaks.
Jackson Hole Mountain Guides will be guiding our expedition. Originally my husband, Jerry, was going to be along. It was to be Jerry, his brothers, Jamie and Jeff, and me. But Jerryâ€™s neck is not in good condition and has surgery scheduled in a few weeks and thought it wiser to give up his slot. Taking his spot is my dear friend Kathy Kloewer, also from Omaha.
This is a pre-trip post to whet your appetite for the reporting Iâ€™ll provide about what is sure to be trip of a lifetime for us.
OUR CAST OF CHARACTERS
The headline for the two guys in our group could be Farm Boys Go Climbing. Jamie, 41, is 6â€™3â€, 263 pounds. Jeff, 47, is 6â€™3â€, 225 pounds.
So, in these guys I figure I have some strong farm boys who can carry me down â€“ or up the mountain for that matter â€“ if necessary.
That said, I am a little concerned about whether there will be enough food provided on our trip to satisfy their appetitesâ€¦
Another thing worth noting is Jeff wears a size 15 â€œapproachâ€ shoe. Already I have called dibs on him as my belayer. Talk about a strong foundation and good stability.
On my recent trip to Omaha, we went over the gear list and when we were done, they asked me â€œDo we bring our own oxygen, or will Jackson Hole Mountain Guides provide it?â€ (Oh-Oh, I thought, Had they not read the pamphlet? ) Also, Jeff quipped that the only extra things he’ll bring are a chisel and a hammer for the headstone (with the engraving: “Here lays an old fat flatlander; but he made it to the top.”) At least my team members have great senses of humor.
Although these guys have upped their workouts, itâ€™s difficult for them to prepare for the altitude in Omaha, situated at 900 feet. But what they lack in high altitude training they’ll make up for with great attitudes. They are eager to see some stunning country and appear to be up for the challenge.
And, it turns out they were joking about the oxygen question. Thank goodness.
I wonâ€™t provide stats for Kathyâ€™s and my heights and weights because they arenâ€™t notable and because I get to control what is reported here. : >
But two things worth noting about Kathy, 41, is one, sheâ€™s a chiropractor, and two, she’s certified in CPR. Oh, and also sheâ€™s in great shape. When I visited Omaha in mid-July and went to the gym with Kathy each morning I witnessed her working out on a steeply-graded treadmill â€“ while wearing a 50-pound weighted vest! Iâ€™ve traveled to Zion with Kathy for a major hiking trip and she did awesome.
Back to the questions we had about the upcoming adventureâ€¦ One question that nagged each of us was, do we need to bring our own scoop for our bathroom activities, or how would â€œgoing #2â€ be handled so high on the mountain, above treeline?
Patrick, at JHMG, simply answered this pressing question in an email: â€œWe will supply you with RESTSTOPbags which are used for pooping. All solid waste is carried out of the park, you will bring them down on your last day.â€
Well if nothing else this information provided some comic relief as we discussed logistics and preparation for the trip. (We surmised that the system will provide a clever way for everyone to know how regular each of us is based on the size of the RestStop bag we haul down the mountain on Day 4.)
By the way, Kathy, Jamie and Jeff will arrive to Lander, WY, with Jerry’s dad, Harlan, and their uncle Gilbert a couple of days before we depart on our expedition. For good measure, and additional preparation, I have sent them the audio cd, Endurance, by Alfred Lansing, and instructed them to listen to it on the 12-hour drive from Omaha.
Endurance, according to the description on the back of the book, “is the fabulous account of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s epic adventure that recreates one of the most astonishing feats of exploration and human courage ever recorded.” It’s one of my all-time favorite survival tales and I figure after listening to the story, the flatlanders in our group will find the Grand Teton expedition more doable.
So there you have it for our cast of characters. Jamie and Jeff will carry us up and down the mountain, if necessary, Kathy will provide chiropractic care and CPR, if necessary, and I’ll be there to report on the adventure.
And, our guide(s), whom we have not yet met, will obviously play an extraordinary and valuable role in our expedition, for which we thank them in advance.
(THANKS TO MARK GOCKE FOR USE OF HIS PHOTOS!)