The Teton Crest Trail

4 days and 40 miles in the wilderness of Wyoming

After getting our permits and gear in order Thursday morning, we rode the the Jackson Hole tram to the top of Rendezvous Mountain (10450 feet) to start the hike.

view from the top of jackson hole resort
view from the top of jackson hole resort

We saw a baby black bear from the tram on the way up! Because of all the bears, we had to pack all our food into a small airtight plastic canister with a weird locking mechanism that bears cannot ostensibly open. We had bear spray as well, but ultimately and perhaps fortunately, this little bear was the only one we saw. It was a very nice afternoon and our goal on Day 1 was to get Marion Lake, which involved a short but steep seven mile hike through Granite Canyon.

on the trail
on the trail

pika5

We arrived at Marion Lake early in the evening (9240 feet) and set up our first camp. Charlotte was on the lookout for bears, but all we saw that day was pika. Lots and lots of chirping little pikas.

campsite
campsite
marion lake
marion lake

We got a little rain that night and woke up in the morning to see a few juvenile deer alternating between fighting and eating.SAM_0603

Day 2 would take us twelve miles, beginning with a hike up through Fox Creek Pass and then along the Death Canyon Shelf.

SAM_0620

Regretfully, there were not any foxes in the pass, but there were a number marmots Charlotte attempted to befriend.

 

 

 

 

Here’s a map of our overall route for reference:

Teton Crest Trail

This was the view ahead of us going over the pass; Grand Tetons in the center background and the cliffs of the Death Canyon shelf that we will traverse on the left.

SAM_0615The trail runs about 4 miles along the 200-foot-wide ledge of Death Canyon, with steep cliffs above you to the left and then falling 2000 feet straight down to the valley floor on your right.

along Death Canyon shelf
along Death Canyon shelf
SAM_0638
mount meek pass

After lunching on the ledge we headed up over Mount Meek Pass and down the “Sheep’s Steps,” (alas, no sheep) and into the Alaska Basin. After a day of steep up and down, we arrived at our next campsite, Sunset Lake, early in the afternoon.

arriving at sunset laking
arriving at sunset lake
filtering water
filtering water

Though it was a very nice day, right after we were done with dinner the rain moved in.

rain clouds with mount meek (from whence we came) in background
rain clouds with mount meek (from whence we came) in background

Luckily we were done for the day and were tackling Hurrican Pass the next morning, so even though it poured, Matt at least got a good night’s sleep.¬†We woke up to very nice weather, and began the steep ascent over the pass into the Grand Teton Park proper.

about half way up
about half way up
the final climb
the final climb

As you can see the Tetons were as usual wreathed in clouds, but to beautiful effect!

SAM_0678

After getting over Hurricane Pass (10340 feet) we descended into the south fork of Cascade Canyon…

schoolroom glacier
schoolroom glacier
SAM_0692
down into cascade canyon

SAM_0707

We hiked about eight miles through the south fork of Cascade Canyon and then up the north fork to our third campsite, which was just below Lake Solitude.

SAM_0731Unfortunately, both the camera and our walter filter developed some problems, and we hadsaved the hardest day for last, twelve miles over Paintbrush Divide to the carpark at String Lake loomed on Sunday. We got an early start in an eerie morning fog.

looking back down at lake solitude
looking back down at lake solitude

It was a pretty, uh, incredible walk in light rain and fog IMG_1501 IMG_1499up to Paintbrush Divide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

panorama of paintbrush, click to enlarge
panorama of paintbrush divide, click to enlarge

From there, as they say, it was all downhill, and after going up about 2000 vertical feet in the morning we had a long 4000 descent to the lakes ahead of us.

on the descent
on the descent
string lake with mount moran covered in clouds
jenny lake with mount moran covered in clouds
we made it!
we made it!

 

After about 72 hours out in the woods and 40 miles, we made it back to the car and on to a night at a proper resort. Though we did not see a moose on the trail, Charlotte spotted one in Teton Village.photo 2

And a final shot of Grand Teton National Park on our way out of town!

IMG_1547