American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Wyoming, Wyoming Rockies, Teton Range

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1937

Teton Range1

During the 1936 season there were several important new climbs, most of them on the Grand Teton and resulting from the introduction of piton climbing for the first time on a considerable scale in the Tetons. The season undoubtedly reached its climax when Jack Durrance, leader, and Paul and Eldon Petzoldt climbed the complete N. face of the Grand Teton late in August.

“From the highest point on Teton Glacier, the attack was made directly on the N. face. A series of difficult chimneys and narrow ledges was utilized to gain a ledge in about the center of the face and about 2000 ft. directly above the glacier. A courte-echelle and and some strenuous work to surmount an overhang, followed by a series of traverses to the W. brought the party out high up on the N. ridge. This ridge was followed to the summit to complete the first ascent in which the true N. face was utilized for the major portion of the climb. Some forty pitons were used for safety, but the greatest hazard reported was the abundance of falling rock” (Grand Teton Nature Notes, ii, 26).

A few days later Fritz Wiessner, William House, Percy Olton and Beckett Howarth also completed a difficult ascent from the N., a variation of the Underhill-Fryxell route (Appalachia, December, 1936).

The complete S. W. ridge of Grand Teton was climbed for the first time by Kenneth A. Henderson and Jack Durrance late in August. The lower 1200 ft., all entirely new and quite vertical, required five hours. Durrance states that the climbing along this section is comparable to that of the N. face with the added advantage that there is much less danger from falling rocks. Higher on the ridge their route merged with the well-established Exum route.

A partly new route up the S. side of the Grand Teton was worked out by Paul Petzoldt, a Mr. Monroe, and Karl Keuffel, but details are not available.

Three women, Miss Irene Ayres, Mrs. Paul Petzoldt and Mrs. Walter Spofford, reached the summit of the Grand Teton in various climbs during the season by means of the E. ridge. Miss Margaret Fulton Spencer was the first woman to make use of the Exum route on the S. W. ridge.

As in past years, Teewinot proved to be second only to the Grand Teton in popularity. No distinctly new routes were reported, but there was one solo N.-S. traverse which included Crooked Thumb Pinnacle.

Although no one reported a new route on Mt. Owen, an unprecedented number of climbers reached its summit in 1936. The Appalachian Club-Colorado Mountain Club group, centering its activities on the Tetons in August, contributed one party of fourteen climbers, by far the largest yet to reach the summit.

On the Middle Teton there was one possibly new route from the E. by Fritz Wiessner, William House and Elizabeth Woolsey. In the St. John group of peaks, which still affords a wealth of untouched rock climbs, Wayne B. Thompson and Ralph Sins heimer ascended Mt. St. John by a new route from the N. and E. Jack Durrance and Walter Spofford disdained to climb Symmetry Spire by any of the usual routes and pitoned their way up from the S. E., a new approach. Miss Irene Ayres and the writer made first ascents on four of the pinnacles along the ridge S. and W. of Lake of the Crags.

West Horn of Falling Ice Glacier on Mt. Moran was first climbed by Fred Ayres, Irene Ayres, Donald Grant and Keith Anderson, by means of the W. arête.

Most of the major Teton Peaks, with the exception of those in the extreme N. and S. ends of the range were climbed at least once.

Fred D. Ayres.

1 Most of the information given in these notes was obtained from Allan D. Cameron’s summary in Grand Teton Nature Notes, ii.

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