One of the most recognizable mountains in the Rockies, Wyoming’s 13,776-foot Grand Teton towers over the buffalo-scattered plains below. To this day, the rights to the first ascent remains in dispute, but there’s no dispute that climbing to the summit of “The Grand” is a singular accomplishment for any climber and a gateway to climbing many of the highest peaks in the world.
Gociety fan and all around badass Kendall Krause summited Grand Teton in 2013 and wrote in to tell us of her feat.
Gociety: Ok, the Grand Teton. It’s kind of a big deal. How’d you end up on the big kahuna.
Kendall: I’ve wanted to stand on that piece of granite for a long time. It all came together when a friend who I met on Rainier a few years back cajoled me into climbing the Grand for Big City Mountaineers. BCM is an organization that provides mentored wilderness experiences for under-served urban youth; they raise a significant percentage of their programming funds via a program called “Summit for Someone.” Thanks to friends and family, we raised enough money to support week-long experiences for 15 kids next summer.
Gociety: The summit looks daunting. Like some sort of spicy meatball on a heap of spaghetti. What was the ascent like?
Kendall: We ascended via the Pownall-Gilkey route, which has its share of exposure (and wind), but the adrenaline is key in keeping you awake following the 3 a.m. departure. We had an incredible team that worked together seamlessly, and laughed nonstop. I also recommend Jackson Hole Mountain Guides; we learned a huge amount about how to streamline and adapt traditional rock-climbing rope management techniques to move quickly and efficiently through varied technical terrain.
Gociety: What’s unique to the Grand Teton compared to the 13er’s & 14er’s we’ve got here in Colorado?
Kendall: The Grand’s colorful history and looming presence over the Jackson Valley definitely makes it a classic American mountaineering ascent. Also, the Cowboy Bar in Jackson gives almost any bar in Colorado a run for its post-climb-whiskey-drinking ambiance.
Gociety: Most essential and most nonessential item in your pack. Ready, go:
Kendall: Cookies are essential; I never leave home without them. I’m a lightweight packer, and try mightily to leave all nonessential items in the car. That being said, I decided to take my DSLR on this trip… it was heavy, but very worth the extra weight.
Gociety: Enough about Wyoming, let’s talk Colorado. Recommend our readers something exquisitely Colorado (shop, brand, trail, park, or even another instagrammer that you like).
Kendall: Anyone who spent their formative years in the state knows that the Casa Bonita/Lakeside combo is virtually impossible to beat. Very Instagrammable.