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Tag Archives: Mountaineering


Our Community

By: Ben Shaw

If you would have asked me to describe the outdoors community a few years ago, I would have had no idea how to do that.  I probably would have guessed something along the lines of a rugged lumberjack or described a scene you might find on the front of a Mountain House Meal packet.  The truth is, it’s a much larger group than what most people think.  There are people all over the place, falling into different niches within the greater community.  There are backpackers, climbers, mountaineers, kayakers, day hikers, rafters, bikers, beach bums, and everything else you can think of. Then, even within these activities, you have more of a breakdown. For example, with backpackers you have weekend warriors, ultra-light minimalists, long distance through hikers, and probably a few more I’m forgetting about…

My First Community

What it comes down to is the fact that this is an extremely large but fragmented community.  There are people everywhere doing everything: kayakers hanging out on the river, backpackers clogging the trails, and mountaineers racing to the summit. If you never take the time to meet others on the river, trail, or climb, you find yourself staying around the same little bubble in the community.  Luckily, if you look hard enough you can find the things and places that bring this community of bubbles together.  For example, every time RRT hosts a presentation, or any other event, it brings together all sorts of different niches within the outdoors community and gives one a chance to meet others and possibly learn something about another part of the community or make new friends with similar interests.

Our RRT Community

Another nice thing about the outdoors community is that we tend to be open and outgoing people, ready to talk and visit with others, I can’t tell you how many times this has proven itself on the trail.  People have given me directions, pointed to hidden spots, donated gear and supplies, and so much more (often called “trail magic”).  Every time something along those lines happened it always made me feel a better sense of community with the people I’m sharing the outdoors with.  It also made me want to do the same things for others I came across out there and spread some of the “magic.”

Outside of RRT, I’m a student at the University of Cincinnati and am an active member in the University of Cincinnati Mountaineering Club.  For me, this has been where I’ve learned the bulk of what I know about the outdoor community as a whole, “whole” meaning each separate niche: climbers, hikers, bikers, kayakers, mountaineers, etc.  Each block has its own unique characteristics, but they all have a few things in common, they love the outdoors. They’re usually down to make friends and they always want to brag and teach their skills.  Even UCMC and RRT are a niche within the outdoors community, they’re vessels for people to meet, acquire gear, and learn new skills to get outside.

UCMC Whitewater Rafting Group

This is the unique way our community has developed, an unspoken understanding that if you share a trail, a story, or even just a similar interest, you have mutual respect and a chance for friendship. One of my favorite stories about this kind of experience happened about a year ago. I was hiking down in Red River Gorge with a group of people I didn’t really know. One of the guys who I had just met started telling me about his time on the Ozark Trail and we swapped stories and contacts, then we didn’t see each other for a little while.  A few months later I got back in touch and invited him out to the Wind River Range in Wyoming on a backpacking trip having simply bonded with him once on the trail and enjoying his stories and his company.  He came along with me and some friends and I couldn’t have been happier with it, we all had an amazing time filled with fun, laughter, and adventure.

Aaron and I in Wyoming

As I said above, this community is vast in its size, expansive in its hobbies, and fragmented in its communication but we all share so many common interests.  Everyone in this community appreciates the natural world and many of us strive to protect it so that we, and those after us, can continue to enjoy it.  For the most part we’re looking for others to adventure and share stories with. Above all, we enjoy what we do and can’t imagine spending our time any other way.  So, next time you’re on the trail, attending a presentation, or trading a hiking story with a stranger, think about the community you and the people around you are a part of, strike up a conversation and make a new friend.  You never know what adventure you’ll have or what part of this community you’ll end up in. Enjoy every trip, keep my young words of wisdom in mind and hopefully I’ll see you on the trail!

Sharing Adventures on the Trail with Friends in the Community


Outdoor Communities in the Greater Cincinnati Area

 

Caving: The Greater Cincinnati Grotto

Kayaking and Canoeing: Cincypaddlers & Tri-State Kayakers

Cycling and Mountain Biking: Cincinnati Cycle Club

Local Day Hiking: Cincinnati Parks Foundation

Day Hiking and Backpacking: Tri-State Hiking Club

Mt. Washington

by: Brandon Behymer

Bryan and myself recently returned from a winter ascent of Mt. Washington (wiki link).  Known for having some of the worst weather in North America and the fastest recorded wind speed ever, the highest peak in New Hampshire’s reputation stands much higher than its actual elevation of 6,288 feet. Having done some winter mountaineering out west prior to this trip, I never thought much of it. How demanding could a mountain under half the elevation of Colorado’s highest peak be?  Fairly demanding it turns out.

We departed Cincinnati at 5:30am on Tuesday, February 6.  Groggy, and excited to be on the road, we started off with a few podcasts in a futile attempt to keep our minds occupied during the ‘too early for conversation’ hours of the morning.  Bryan drove for the first six hours through light snow and fog.  We started calling his wife’s Honda Accord the Magic Carpet since every time one of us looked at the gas gauge, it appeared that it hadn’t moved. And yes, we borrowed his wife’s car because neither of ours will make it confidently out of the tri-state area. I’m curious to find out when the stench of four of the most outrageously smelly feet attached to ankles will finally dissipate to a tolerable level in that Magic Carpet. Sorry Laura…

After paying our tolls through Pennsylvania we passed through a small portion of New York, through Hartford, around Boston, and up into New Hampshire.  Tuesday night was spent in great company at the friend of a friend’s cabin on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee. Going over maps and forecasts at the dinner table while exchanging stories reminded me that the feeling of home has a lot to do with the company kept there, and the cabin quickly felt comfortable and warm. The view the following morning was incredible, and I can only imagine the good times had on the lake both winter and summer.  In fact, Wednesday morning a brave soul driving a Chevy Silverado went barreling across the frozen surface of the lake, presumably to an ice fishing shack, at a speed indicative of their lack of confidence in the thickness of the ice.

Bryan and myself were eager to get closer to Mt. Washington and decided that with the impending snow storm, reaching Harvard cabin (Harvard cabin website) early Wednesday afternoon would be the best course of action.  Snow began to fall just as we lost cell phone reception on the drive into the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center.  It didn’t stop for the next twelve hours.  Our hosts from the night before accompanied us on the snowshoe hike up to Harvard cabin and then turned back to the vehicles, leaving Bryan and me to enjoy the 14-degree cabin, soaking wet from the steep hike up Huntington Ravine Trail.  We began building the fire promptly at 3:55 joking about how rebellious both of us were being for ‘ignoring’ the sign hung discreetly and directly over the wood burning stove saying that no fire shalt be built prior to 4pm.  The fire gods would punish us immediately for our haste.  The cabin filled rapidly with wood smoke, to the point of me opening the doors, fearing smoke inhalation issues.  Later that evening, a caretaker from the Hermit Lake cabin stopped by to check on the cabin. Upon walking in her only greeting was “Holyshit, you guys have clearly never seen a wood burning stove before”, and then demonstrated how not to kill everyone from asphyxiation overnight.

Five other men joined us in the cabin Wednesday night, two from Atlanta, their guide, and two hardcore skiers from Canada.  Like camp in forty below zero with a smile kind of hardcore.  We had a couple beers and entertained each other with stories of past travels to the hills and some goals we had for future adventures.  I could tell Bryan was getting tired, sitting quietly with a beer in hand is a sure sign of his exhaustion. As for myself, I wasn’t far behind.  Being lulled to sleep by the wind in a 65-degree cabin is not a difficult thing to do.  The guide and his two clients rose at 6am and were out the door by 7.  Bryan and I opted for a later start time to avoid the high winds in the morning forecast. At 10 below zero Fahrenheit, with a 50mph wind, any exposed skin would be frostbitten in 10 minutes.  It feels as if Mother Nature is trying to cut capicola ham from the flesh of your cheeks, under the bottom edge of the sunglass lens, and above the top of the buff protecting your nose and lips.

While the normal winter route isn’t very difficult, little more than a walk up past the Lion’s Head feature and on to the summit cone, the cold and wind are relentless. We left the cabin at 10:30am and snowshoed as far as we could before we put on our crampons. I stopped above Bryan on the slope and repeatedly pushed fresh powdery snow that had accumulated the night before down onto him and his pack.  Only one of us found this lightly entertaining.  Shortly after the crampon comedy we ascended a steep section of trail where both piolet and crampons are required. This section was quite fun and reminded me of how much I enjoyed climbing ice a few years ago in Colorado.  The next bit of trail extends up through the tree line, where the wind really picked up and leads to an outcrop of large rocks supposedly resembling the head of a lion. Neither of us saw the resemblance but the outcrop was impressive in its own right.

From here you can see the summit and exhaust pipes of the weather observatory, the current one taking weather readings every day since 1932.  Mt Washington is the first mountain I’ve summited that the summit looked as far away as it actually was.  No deception here.  2 miles give or take and 2 hours of biting winds and bitter cold.  Honestly it wouldn’t have taken quite as long had it not been for a cleverly placed cairn, on the far corner of a steep snow field that we both failed to see.  Instead we opted to follow two skiers and their skins tracks across the Alpine Gardens, post holing the ENTIRE way, and then up a very steep snow field about 200 meters from the proper route.  Several times along this poor choice of a route we stopped to laugh and take in the discomfort that our lack of observation skills had brought us.  Discomfort would have found us either way. Blaming ourselves only took the attention off the wind cutting our faces and the steepness of the snow field.

We reached the summit at 2:30 Thursday afternoon, and a goal that’s been on my mind for three years had been accomplished.  Both of us were pretty spent by the time we summited.  I had to cajole Bryan the last 400 feet to the top and that was about all that kept me going.  There is a familiar and exotic feeling about being above the clouds, on the highest point in sight in any direction.  Explaining it is difficult.  I tend to get a bit emotional and existential when standing atop a summit.  Why did I come here?  Why would anyone come here?  Is this what an outsiders’ perspective of Earth would look like? It’s so cold. I’m so tired.  My face hurts.

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Starting down is an exercise of patience for me. I want to stay at the top to admire the beauty.  The cold convinces me otherwise.  Knees protest the increased force of gravity.  Crampons pierce the fabric of my softshell pants and I stumble several paces forward, cursing loudly at my own coordination. Attention to detail must be at an elevated level.  My attention descended faster than my feet.

There are two other options to ascend to the summit and both require more technical skills than Bryan or myself currently have; however, after this trip I hope to become confident in those skills to climb the Ravines next winter.

We make it back down to the cabin at 4:30, after two hours of walking and glissading and laughing hysterically from the joy of sledding down the hill on our butts, trying to stop before colliding with an unfortunately placed rock or tree.  Once back inside the safety of the cabin we got the fire roaring and the interior heated up to 70 degrees by the time the second of our three dinners had been devoured (about an hour). I will absolutely have a wood burning stove in the house I build someday.

 

Want another perspective? Check out Louie’s Mt. Washington blog here.

Preparing for Aconcagua

Anticipation for the big mountain

by: Olivia Eads

 

I can hardly believe on Friday I will be departing Cincinnati. Argentina is the destination, to climb the tallest mountain in the western and southern hemispheres, Aconcagua (click here to see me on a map!). The summit towers high above the rest of the Andes Mountain Range at 22,841 feet. This trip still does not feel real, and probably won’t until the end of our 23-hour journey to Mendoza. I have my friend Kara to thank for sparking the fire that led to planning and preparing for this trip, she will be my companion as we attempt this great feat.

Our flight, in theory, will arrive in Mendoza at 9:00 AM January 13th. Considering the weather affecting the East Coast right now and having to transition from LaGuardia Airport to JFK, this time frame seems optimistic. Thursday and Friday have warm outlooks though, so my fingers are crossed for good, safe travel.

On day one in Mendoza we will be scooped from the airport by Alpine Ascents (the group we registered our guiding service through) and link up with the other 8 members of our expedition team. Then we head off for some group dynamics and prepare for the climb to follow just a few days later. Next, we must purchase our 20-day permit for the mountain before we head off to the town of Penitentes. In this town we get our mules, and will load them up. On the way to basecamp, we will have a mule to carry most of our heavy equipment so that we aren’t fatigued for the rest of the exhausting trail ahead. The next day our great challenge begins, it will take 3 days (30 miles) to get into Base Camp or Plaza Argentina for the Polish Variation of the climb following the Vacas Valley (the trail that starts on the left of the below image). This is where we say farewell to our mule friends.

Once we arrive at Base Camp, doctors will be available to assess any injuries that we could have obtained during the trek up, as well as our general wellbeing. We then will spend the next few days stomping around, acclimating to the higher altitudes, and moving goods to the next higher camp. After each cache day we will start to move up camps, climbing high and camping low with rest days in-between to properly acclimate. There are also a few days worked into the schedule for poor weather. If all goes according to plan, on summit day we will have a grueling 4:00AM wake up and push to the top.  That is the moment Kara and I have been preparing for, the last 9 months.

My emotions are stoic yet excited. I’m lamenting the money I dropped on this experience, but I know it will be worth it. I hope my physical capabilities will be enough to push me to the top. Mentally I am prepared, physically I have done everything in my power to be ready for this. Anticipation is killing me, and I am ready to test my limits.

Let’s see how it goes…

A Gateway to Mountaineering

Ohio to Colorado
by: Kayla “Clover” McKinney

“Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer. Camp out among the grasses and gentians of glacial meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of nature’s darlings. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings, Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”

– John Muir

One often turns to John Muir for inspiration when planning for any mountaineering trip. As an avid explorer and lover of the hills, he paved the way for many, giving new inspiration and wonder for the wild. This blog is an introduction on how to train and outfit you to summit a Colorado fourteener in the winter, from the perspective of someone who lives in Cincinnati, OH. It does not include overnight trips, technical skills, or altitude training, but is meant as an overview for beginners.

Fourteener:  “In mountaineering terminology in the United States, a fourteener is a mountain that meets or exceeds an elevation of 14,000 feet (4,270 m) above mean sea level.”

Fourteen thousand feet is the highest elevation of any summit in the lower 48. Colorado is blessed with 53 fourteeners (though the tallest fourteener is in California) with the tallest mountain in the state being Mt. Elbert at 14,440 ft. To summit one (or more) of these bad boys in the dead of the winter is no easy feat. There’s snow, lots of snow, blizzards, wind, ice, exposed sun, and harsh terrain to consider.

So how does one train for a winter mountaineering expedition, especially when they live only approximately 480 feet above sea level?

As far as physical training goes for one who lives in an Midwestern urban environment like I do, you’ve got to think a little out of the box. We don’t have mountains in Cincinnati; our tallest “peak” in the city is the Rumpke Landfill, aka Mt. Rumpke, at 1,075 feet (328 m). You have to take advantage of your urban environment. While we don’t have mountains , we have miles of stairs, and some of the steepest roads around. Repeated runs of Straight Street, Ravine Street and Vine Street can give your muscles and lungs a taste of the uphill. Run stairs at Carew Tower, Crosley Tower on UC’s campus (there’s 17 flights!), Paul Brown Stadium and  many old stairways on the streets and in the parks of Cincinnati. This interactive map shows all of the stairs throughout the city: http://www.communitywalk.com/cincinnatisteps

In order to train for a mountaineering expedition you need a proper blend of aerobic and anaerobic cardiovascular training, strength training, flexibility training, and skill development in addition to cross training and adequate rest and recovery. Training should be taken with a consistent approach, steadily increasing the regimen, adhering to set goals and maintaining a good diversity. Don’t just run stairs. Do some distance and trail running, yoga, strength training, biking, rock climbing, etc.

For more information about physical conditioning, check out Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills, the best book you’ll find for planning and preparing for a mountaineering trip.

1525402_10202364516969571_486418870_n“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing,”
-Alfred Wainwright
 

How do you outfit yourself for sub-freezing temperatures, strong winds and even stronger wind chill, without being overheated and sweaty while essentially working out in the intense cold? You don’t want to carry too much, but you want to have enough to suit your needs. You’ll start your climb in the dark, when it’s the coldest, and be climbing down in the afternoon, with all sorts of possible weather curve balls thrown in between. So what do you bring?

You need above all windproof, waterproof, insulated, and breathable clothing which can be accomplished with multiple layers. The first thing you put on the morning of your expedition is your insulating base layer. You want to go for either wool or synthetic. Absolutely no cotton (“cotton kills” because cotton retains moisture, leeching heat from your body when wet and cold). I personally recommend the Ibex Woolies 150 gram, as they are super insulating, form fitting and odor resistant.

Second, you’ll need warm, insulating mid-layers. This would be a fleece and a down jacket or equivalent.

Third, you need your wind and water protection: your rain shell. You can either go for more breathable, and less insulated, or you can go for more insulated and less breathable. This is all about personal preference and how your body reacts to physical exertion. If you sweat a lot, I would consider going for a lighter shell in order to promote breathability to let out sweat.

Any more layers than this is optional, but realize that the more you wear, the heavier and bulkier you will feel going up the mountain. In summation, layering adds versatility to your outfit and the ability to remove/add on warmth when needed.

There are a variety of additions and preferences to be considered based on what works best for you individually. These could include more/less layers and insulation, synthetic or down insulation, hoods or no hoods, etc. If you don’t know you’re personal preferences, stop by the store and we can help you narrow down the options!

Here is a personal gear list for reference:

layering

Head, Necks & Hands

Warm hat and/or balaclava 
A balaclava can replace the hat.  Balaclavas provide versatility and cover areas of the face that can be susceptible to cold injuries.
 
Sun hat *  
A baseball cap or light hat with a brim can be useful around camp or on warm climb days to protect face and eyes from the intense sun.
 
Sunglasses      
High quality UV protective eye wear is a must.  The sun rays are especially intense at high altitude, especially reflected off the snow.  Glasses must fit sufficiently tight to prevent rays from reflecting under the glasses from the ground.  Ski goggles can be used in lieu of glasses.  They do have the advantage of wind and reflective protection, but can become hot and foggy on a warm climbing day.
 
Liner gloves 
A pair of well fitting liner gloves or light running gloves that fit under your insulated gloves/mittens are essential in preventing cold injuries when removing outer insulated gloves to perform tasks requiring more finger dexterity.
 
Insulated gloves or mittens
Warm hands are key to winter comfort.  Mittens provide greater warmth and are preferable for those that tend to experience cold fingers easily.  Gloves provide greater dexterity, but it can be harder to keep fingers warm.  Either gloves or mittens must provide room to wiggle fingers and be water/wind proof.

 

Upper Body

Mid-weight top
A mid weight wool or synthetic top such as Ibex Woolies or Patagonia Capilene 3 should be used as a base layer in winter.
 
Expedition-weight top   
Keeping the core warm is essential to keeping hands and feet warm.  On cold nights, this can improve warmth in a sleeping bag.  If you tend to be cold while standing in a lift line or waiting for the bus, you should consider adding this to your gear list.
 
Vest *
A vest is a lightweight option to aid in keeping the core warm without adding bulk.  It is good middle ground if you think an expedition-weight top is overkill, but still tend to run cold at the bus stop.
 
Fleece Jacket  
A thick fleece layer that that fits under your weatherproof outer jacket.
 
Down / Synthetic Parka 
The parka should be sized to fit under your weatherproof outer jacket so that warmth can easily be added when hanging around camp or on the summit posing for a pic.
 
Outer Jacket 
Windproof top.  Can be Gore-tex, eVent, Pertex Shield or simply have a DWR finish.  The goal is wind protection and high breathability. Hard shells or soft shells both work based on preference.
 
Sports bra
Women should bring a synthetic or wool sports bra or tank top.
 

1609570_10202364558570611_639271010_nLower Body

Mid-weight bottoms 
A mid weight synthetic or wool bottom such as Ibex/Smartwool/Patagonia Capilene should be used as a base layer in winter.
 
Expedition-weight bottoms *  
Similar to the Expedition-weight top, this layer is best for those that run cold.  Legs generate a ton of heat when climbing often making this layer hot for some even on the coldest days.
 
Outer Pants   
Windproof, soft or hard shell.  Can be Gore-tex, eVent, Pertex Shield or simply have a DWR finish. The goal is wind protection, high breathability and limited snow cling.
 
Underwear 
Guys and gals should bring synthetic underwear. Avoid cotton due to moisture absorption and chaffing.
 

Feet

Liner socks     
Liner socks help to provide rapid moisture transport and reduce blister-causing friction.
 
Insulating socks 
Expedition weight wool or poly socks.  Socks should be long enough to extend well past the tops of boots and overlap with long underwear bottoms.
 
Gaiters   
Expedition style gaiters such as Outdoor Research Crocodiles to keep snow out of boots.
 
Boots 
Boots are perhaps your most critical piece of winter gear.  A poor fitting boot cannot only cause blisters and discomfort, but also cold injuries such as frostbite.  Boots should be plastic style or leather mountaineering with a ridged sole for use with crampons.  Plastic boots can be rented at many quality outfitters.  If you plan to rent, you should determine what boots are available and attempt to get fit for and test the boots locally.  You should have enough room to wiggle toes, but not so much your foot moves around to help keep blood flowing to your feet.  The fit should be slightly roomier than summer hiking boots.
 
Booties*
Camp booties can help to keep your feet warm around camp and in your sleeping bag if your feet tend to run cold.  An extra pair of socks can also do the trick in your sleeping bag.

*indicates optional/weather specific item

 General Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog are from personal experience and research and is based on mountain’s around 14,000ft in the winter and does not apply to all winter excursions. Please do further research before embarking on a winter mountaineering trip. For more information on mountaineering, check out Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills and 14ers.com for more information on Colorado’s fourteeners.

 

 

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Making the Middle Teton

Making the Middle Teton
Written by: Louie Knolle  

Who starts a hike at 3 a.m.?  If you say only crazy people, then paint me crazy.  Starting from the Lupine Meadows trail head parking lot in Grand Tetons National Park, my 8 fellow summit seekers and I had over 6,000 feet in vertical elevation to gain before accomplishing our goal.  Why so early?  As afternoons progress generally, chances for storms at higher elevations increase dramatically.  When you’re above tree line on the side of the mountain, your body is way more conductive and lightning friendly than any boring rock.

The climb began first with 4 miles of trail up the base of the Tetons through largely lodgepole pines.  With only the light of our headlamps and the moon, we were all abnormally quiet reflecting in the serenity of the early morning.  As the time neared 5 a.m., we paused for a group break having reached the bottom of the boulder field.  Finally, the sunlight began to creep over the horizon and we began the slow crawl over boulders higher than our heads.

teton1

When climbing a mountain and hiking in general, if you’re in a group, you should do everything in your power to stay in that group. In our group all 9 of us were in good shape after hiking around Glacier and Yellowstone for two weeks, so stragglers were not an issue we worried about. After a bit of boulder hopping, two members of our group continued upward when the rest of us descended a little following the “trail”.  One of the two was used to hiking alone and the other was not as experienced, but was in great shape so we didn’t think much of it.  An hour later however, we lost sight of the two and the yelling began.  As it turned out, they continued too far to the left of the valley on the Northeast side of the Middle Teton and starting going up a different peak entirely.  We were able to catch John, who was closer to the group (the experienced solo hiker), but Brad, who was way out in front kept going, more on him later.

After reassembling and a speech on sticking together, we split up again (ironically) and left 3 members of the group to wait for our crazy friend who decided to climb the wrong mountain.  After reaching the lower saddle which would commence the final push of 1200+ vertical feet to the top, we were stopped by a breathtaking view of Iceberg Lake.  The western edge of the Tetons literally drops right down to it.  The final push is always the steepest part. (Which makes it my favorite part!)  I was not feeling the effects of the altitude at all and led the remaining 5 of us most of the way to the top.  Pausing for breaks and being careful on loose rock, the final ascent took us almost 2 hours.

teton2Near the top, 2 more from the group said they were not feeling well so they turned back and eight dropped to three.  The rest of us took this a cue to stop for a food break, but I was already consumed with summit fever.  With prowess a mountain goat would envy, I was at the top in what seemed like no time and I could see everything.  The Grand Teton looked like it was close enough to be grabbed and surrounding me were sheer rock faces and glistening blue lakes.  I was glad I continued the last little bit alone before the other two joined me.  There is no greater feeling of solitude than on top of a lone peak, no other word to describe your feeling but “infinite.”  After my hoots and hollers to tell whoever was listening in the cosmos that I had topped my mountain, I began the climb down so the others could experience their own Middle Teton.

And back to the courageous/foolish young man who summited his own peak that day, suffice it to say he got off very lucky.  As it turned out, Brad climbed a much more difficult route by hand on the way up, and once on top, was not able to find a way down.  After 20 minutes of pacing back and forth, swearing, and near self-defecation, he was able to find an old climbing rope.  He then bravely/foolishly climbed down the length of the rope,

teton3

rocks falling on his head and everything, and went back to the trail head where he napped for 2 hours waiting for our return, utterly exhausted.  Thankfully on our way down, we had enough cell service to receive a voicemail letting us know he made it down safely.

So a variety of lessons were learned on the Middle Teton that day by the University of Cincinnati Mountaineering Club.  1) The larger the group size, the more important it is to stick together when attempting to summit a mountain on a day hike.  2) When you’ve never actually climbed a mountain before, don’t go off on your own thinking you’re Superman.  3) Drink lots of water during your hike.  As your body adjusts to altitude, you have to pee… a lot.  4) Take your time.  Start early, take sufficient rest breaks, and don’t rush yourself especially going from boulder to boulder and ascending on loose rock. 5) Most importantly, have fun!  Don’t ever get discouraged, the euphoria you feel on the summit of a mountain far surpasses as negative thoughts of not being able to complete the climb.