American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Wyoming, Teton Range, Grand Teton, Alex Lowe Memorial Route

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2005

Grand Teton, Alex Lowe Memorial Route. On October 5 Mark Newcomb and I climbed a new route on the north face of the Grand Teton. The route ascends about 1,000' of new terrain, beginning just left of the start of the 1936 route. A wet late summer and fall brought the needed moisture, and then freezing temps above 10,000' froze things enough for an ascent, barely! The crux second pitch presented unclimbable chandelier ice with no protection, so I climbed into a womb-like feature, up the backside of the ice, and broke through to the other side. After pulling a small roof, I was on lower-angle and drier terrain. The womb was gushing with water, and I spent the next belay, thankful for a Reverso, wringing out my clothes and dumping water out of my boots. I slipped my boots back on just as a graupel storm began. Graupel showered down several locations on the north face, one of the most spectacular sights I have witnessed in the mountains. The deluge of graupel was also flowing down our line. But it stopped after 25 minutes, and we were able to continue. Several more beautiful pitches, including the nicest pitch of ice I have ever climbed in the mountains, a flowing WI5 pitch winding its way through the steep granite, brought us to the Hossack-McGowan. We continued up to the East Ridge and across the east face to the Ford Couloir and on to the summit.

Stephen Koch, AAC

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