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I'm just happy to be here

My name is Brian Monetti, and I enjoy having fun. If you want to join on the next adventure, shoot me an email at brianmonetti@gmail.com 

Mt. Moran

Mt. Moran

This year the Tetons were unseasonably dry, so I decided to swing over for a few late-season days to try to get another long alpine route in. Jeff, who I climbed with on several other trips and who recently earned his IFMGA Mountain Guide pin, was also free, so it was a perfect time for another adventure!  We decided to aim for Mount Moran, the only 12,000' mountain in the Tetons that I hadn't climbed. The most popular route on the mountain is the CMC, a 5.5 where most of the vertical gain is in the hike up. We instead aimed for the Direct South Buttress, one of the longest technical rock routes in the lower 48, and one of the 50 Classics. The book says:

"This was the first major climb in the Teton Range to combine hard free climbing and fairly extensive use of direct aid. For a number of years it remained the most difficult technical climb in the park, and if one followed the entire ridge to the summit, it ranked as one of the most difficult climbs in the country."

 Luckily this electrical storm on the flight was not something we experienced on route

Luckily this electrical storm on the flight was not something we experienced on route

I only had four days in Wyoming, and the DSB route takes most groups three, which wouldn't give us much time for side trips. We made the call to try the DSB in two long days, which gave us the first day to crag, and the fourth day off since the forecast called for rain. We headed to the Guides Wall route up Cascade Canyon, a classic 6 pitch route on some of the best rock in the area.

 The approach involved taking a boat across Jenny Lake followed by a casual hike. Somehow both routes this trip involved taking boats across lakes.

The approach involved taking a boat across Jenny Lake followed by a casual hike. Somehow both routes this trip involved taking boats across lakes.

 Jeff leading a pitch with tons of glacier polish. We were about 500' above the valley floor, which meant these were some massive glaciers!

Jeff leading a pitch with tons of glacier polish. We were about 500' above the valley floor, which meant these were some massive glaciers!

 The route goes at 5.8, but there were two pitches with 5.10 roof variations which we had to take!

The route goes at 5.8, but there were two pitches with 5.10 roof variations which we had to take!

 Reachy roof

Reachy roof

 Cutting feet on great holds, just like at the Gunks!

Cutting feet on great holds, just like at the Gunks!

 Top of the last pitch, a sweet 5.8 

Top of the last pitch, a sweet 5.8 

 Great views of Cascade Canyon

Great views of Cascade Canyon

After the day out cragging, we packed up for the DSB and got our canoe prepped. The approach to the route involves canoeing up String Lake, portaging to Leigh Lake, and paddling a mile and a half to Leigh Canyon. We were able to accomplish the first half of the trip the day before the climbing began, stashing the canoe in the woods so we could skip the first lake and portaging the next.

 Mt Moran from String Lake

Mt Moran from String Lake

To climb the DSB in two days rather than three, we needed to get an alpine start, and then put two long day in. We were out the door at 4:00, and hiking by 4:30.

The canoe ride in was under pitch black skies, and we saw about a dozen meteors over the hour ride in. First light was just coming up over the horizon as we landed at Leigh Canyon to begin our hike in.

 Looking back over Leigh Lake, at around 5:30am.

Looking back over Leigh Lake, at around 5:30am.

 The hike to the base of the buttress involved a bushwacking and following weak trails. But after a few hours we made it!

The hike to the base of the buttress involved a bushwacking and following weak trails. But after a few hours we made it!

 Looking back at sunrise

Looking back at sunrise

 First light hitting the top of the buttress

First light hitting the top of the buttress

 A long ways to go

A long ways to go

We roped up right around 8:30. The route was dry, but terribly cold in the shade. The first four pitches of the route were 5.4ish chimneys and ledges, before the real climbing began.

 Climbing in a puffy!

Climbing in a puffy!

 There was no water on route, which meant we had to climb with two days with of provisions. Definitely the heaviest pack I'v ever climbed with!

There was no water on route, which meant we had to climb with two days with of provisions. Definitely the heaviest pack I'v ever climbed with!

 Turns out 5.6 offwidth is too hard for me, so I laybacked this section. Whoops!

Turns out 5.6 offwidth is too hard for me, so I laybacked this section. Whoops!

 The upper pitches of the DSB route (prior to the summit ridge) were steep and exposed!

The upper pitches of the DSB route (prior to the summit ridge) were steep and exposed!

 Glacier carved Leigh Canyon

Glacier carved Leigh Canyon

 The most technical pitch of the route was a double pendulum to C1 aid to a tricky 5.9ish free move. The pendulums were off of pitons equalized with sun bleached nylon webbing, but the aid part was solid! 

The most technical pitch of the route was a double pendulum to C1 aid to a tricky 5.9ish free move. The pendulums were off of pitons equalized with sun bleached nylon webbing, but the aid part was solid! 

 The last pitch of the DSB route was a 5.5 super exposed hand traverse. Jeff made some great poses on the lead!

The last pitch of the DSB route was a 5.5 super exposed hand traverse. Jeff made some great poses on the lead!

The South Buttress itself only brings you about 1/3 of the way up Mt. Moran. Most groups rap off from here. To summit, there is about 2500' of low 5th class climbing to go comprising the Upper South Ridge, lots of which is on super exposed knife edge ridges. There was still several hours of light left in the day, so we moved up the ridge to look for a bivy spot for the night.

 Sharp!

Sharp!

 Leading past a handful of towers

Leading past a handful of towers

 Jeff on the ridge

Jeff on the ridge

 The Grand in the distance

The Grand in the distance

Right as the sun was setting we stumbled upon the perfect bivy spot in an amphitheater about 2000' below the summit, with just enough room for two sleeping bags. We planned on doing an open bivy to save the weight of bringing a tent, and the temperature was perfect for this.

 Jeff after we cleared off the platform 

Jeff after we cleared off the platform 

 A perfect dinner for being in the mountains; whiskey and pizza!

A perfect dinner for being in the mountains; whiskey and pizza!

Day two began with an incredible sunrise and a small breakfast. We only had about 2 liters of water each for the day, but the temperatures were pretty low so we would be able to manage.

 A bit higher up on the ridge and we could see Teewinot, Mt. Owen, and the Grand.

A bit higher up on the ridge and we could see Teewinot, Mt. Owen, and the Grand.

 We simuclimbed almost the entire ridge, which meant there were few belay breaks. This got pretty exhausting!

We simuclimbed almost the entire ridge, which meant there were few belay breaks. This got pretty exhausting!

 Snack time, with an awesome view!

Snack time, with an awesome view!

 The final summit ridge! Teewinot is nearly at the horizon, since the mountains are very close in height.

The final summit ridge! Teewinot is nearly at the horizon, since the mountains are very close in height.

 Summit of Mt Moran! 12,605'

Summit of Mt Moran! 12,605'

 We summited at the same time as another group coming up the CMC. The group happened to be Mark Postle, a friend of Jeff's, Kate Rutheford, a badass professional climber, and her brother Alex.

We summited at the same time as another group coming up the CMC. The group happened to be Mark Postle, a friend of Jeff's, Kate Rutheford, a badass professional climber, and her brother Alex.

 We descended the CMC route, which was mostly 4th class downclimbing with lots of exposure. This shot shows the Falling Ice Glacier below.

We descended the CMC route, which was mostly 4th class downclimbing with lots of exposure. This shot shows the Falling Ice Glacier below.

 Jeff rapping down one of the last technical sections.

Jeff rapping down one of the last technical sections.

 After about four hours the descent leveled out, and we hiked down to the lake below. Aside from a bit that Kate gave us at the summit, this stream was our first water source in two days. By now the packs were a lot lighter!

After about four hours the descent leveled out, and we hiked down to the lake below. Aside from a bit that Kate gave us at the summit, this stream was our first water source in two days. By now the packs were a lot lighter!

 We borrowed a canoe from Kate and Mark to fetch ours, since our route started up a different canyon. We stashed beers in the stream, so had ice cold brews for the ride back!

We borrowed a canoe from Kate and Mark to fetch ours, since our route started up a different canyon. We stashed beers in the stream, so had ice cold brews for the ride back!

 Our paddle back took us right past a group of elk that were just hanging out in the river.

Our paddle back took us right past a group of elk that were just hanging out in the river.

Once back, we finished the evening with a celebration dinner of oysters, microbrew beers, and venison, a contrast to the previous two days! I was way too worn out to take on any other climbing objectives the following day, so we slept in, made breakfast, watched a movie, and had a dinner party with some of the other Exum guides who were still around for the season. 24 hours later I was back in NYC. Not a bad short adventure!

The Direct South Buttress to Upper South Ridge, Mount Moran

Ouray

Ouray

Pompeii

Pompeii