American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Wyoming, Mountaineering Notes from the Grand Teton National Park

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1931

Easily the most noteworthy of the five ascents of the Grand Teton (13,747 ft.) made during the first season of the park (1929) was that via the east ridge, on July 22, by Kenneth A. Henderson and Robert L. M. Underhill, who thus were first to demonstrate that the summit can be attained by a route other than the traditional one established in 1898. (A.A.J., Vol. 1, p. 138.)

Mt. Woodring* (11,500 ft.) was climbed from the southeast by the writer and four students on July 24, 1929. A cairn found on the summit told of an earlier ascent by some unknown party.

Four ascents were made by Smith and the writer: on August 14, Tee-win-ot* (12,100 ft.), via the ridge to the left of the east couloir, probably a first ascent; on the morning of August 21, Mt. St. John* (11,400 ft.) from the east and south, and in the afternoon Symmetry Spire* (10,500 ft.) by the east ridge, both first ascents; and on August 28, a first traverse of the Middle Teton (12,769 ft.), the ascent being by a southeast couloir and the previously unclimbed east face, and descent by a south couloir.

Ascents of Rockchuck Mountain* (11,000 ft.) on August 16 by the east gulley (first ascent), of Mt. Wister* (11,000 ft.) on August 23 from the west (a new route), and of Mt. Hunt* (10,700 ft.) on August 24 from the east were made by the writer. A cairn on the summit of Mt. Hunt recorded a previous ascent, but there was no record. All the above ascents were made in 1929.

Despite a highly unfavorable season there was more climbing in the summer of 1930 than in any previous one, and by fall practically all of the principal peaks hitherto unclimbed had been scaled. An ascent of Alt. Woodring from the west, a very easy route, by Smith and the writer, opened the season on June 15. On the morning of July 5 Smith and the writer scaled Nez Percé* (11,700 ft.) from the west, a first ascent; and in the afternoon made the first traverse of the South Teton (12,500 ft.), climbing the peak by the north face and northeast ridge and descending by the easy northwest ridge. On July 12 Russell A. Black, Theo. Koven, Gustav Koven and the writer climbed the east summit of Bivouac peak* and (with the exception of Black, who became indisposed) traversed to the higher west summit (11,000 ft.), probably not previously climbed. The first ascent of Alt. Owen (12,910 ft.), second highest peak of the range, was made July 16 by Underhill, Henderson, Smith and the writer, as described elsewhere in this journal; and on the 19th Underhill and Henderson made the first ascent of Teepe’s Pillar* (12,298 ft.), the slender needle rising from the south flanks of the Grand Teton. A nameless summit (11,600 ft.), a mile west-southwest of Mt. Moran, was climbed in late August by Bruton Strange and Paul Petzoldt, from the canyon on the south.

Three ascents of Mt. Moran (12,100 ft.) were made: on July 6 by Tillman Bubenzer and Irwin Hicke, via the northeast ridge; on July 22 by Henderson, Underhill and the writer, who ascended by this ridge and descended by the Skillet glacier;* and on September 15 by Harvey T. Sethman and John J. Seerley by the northeast ridge. Mt. St. John was reclimbed once this season by a party using the route established in 1929, and Mt. Woodring was reclimbed several times late in the summer, in each case from the west.

“Solo” climbs were made as follows Grand Teton by Underhill (July 20) ; Tee-win-ot by the east couloir by Bubenzer (July 27) ; Mt. Owen by the east face of the Granite Knob and returning by the Corkscrew Route by Petzoldt (July 31); and Mt. Woodring from the west by William Schaller (August 4).

The Grand Teton was climbed eleven times, a total of 25 persons reaching the top, among these being four women. All utilized the ordinary route from the upper saddle to the summit, and for eight of the parties Petzoldt served as guide. Fully as many more ascents of this peak would have been made but for the almost unparalleled summer rains.

During the 1929 and 1930 seasons, permanent park registers were placed on almost half of the principal summits, including the Three Tetons.

F. M. Fryxell, Grand Teton National Park.

* Unofficial names under consideration by the National Park Service and the Geographic Board. Maps showing their position are on file with the National Park Service.

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