Mount Moran: The CMC Route.

Mount Moran is a uniquely expeditious adventure in the Tetons. Canoeing, hiking, camping and climbing were all a part of the effort to the top of the mountain. My friend Zach and his two buddies, Tom and Matt, were in town and wanted to climb something big. Matt had never climbed before but was extremely willing to learn and determined to make it up. We started paddling at 10 AM 8/8. Camp was up by 2:30 PM and we hung out and played cards until it got dark. Lying in my sleeping bag, I couldn't help but think about the 30% chance of thunderstorms, possible route-finding issues and Matt's inexperience. Mount Moran is one of the biggest mountains in the Tetons and the most difficult to get to the top of, and I had some doubts that we would make it We woke up at 5 AM to make breakfast and start our mission to the top. Almost immediately, we reached some fourth class ledges while the sun was starting to come out and were pleasantly surprised by an abundance of cairns to guide the way. Drizzlepuss, a miniature peak between us and the CMC face required some serious down-climbing and a rappel to get to the base of the actual climb. The route-finding hadn't been a problem and the weather was looking prosperous. I realized then that we had a great chance at making it to the top. Zach and I made anchors and belayed each other for the first three pitches which I ran out completely with our 60m rope. The terrain mellowed out and we simul-climbed the rest of the face. We were elated to reach the summit with clear skies by 12 PM. We waited for Matt and Tom to make it and quickly decided it was time to go down. In an effort to save time, we decided to down-climb the steep terrain that led us to the three, double rope rappels that we took back to the start of the climb. Very dehydrated, we were reinvigorated by the amazing water from the spring at the CMC camp. Knowing that we would already be paddling in the dark, we tried not to waste time, and hiked back down to our canoes. Exhausted, we made our way through the darkness and were back to the cars in an hour and a half. Hunger kept us awake for the drive back and we feasted on frozen pizzas before passing out for a well-deserved good night's sleep. Mount Moran was indeed the epic adventure I had hoped for. With a little luck and a lot of work, we reached our goal, and had an amazing experience in the process. Photos by Zach Braddock.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What wonderful shots. Seeing Hanging Glacier brings back memories, and West Horn too. Climbed that on the trip where Chuck Beile and I spent 2 nights at the CMC campsite. Wonderful spot. I remember the dehydration too. Summer of '77. Classic alpine rock climbing on a big mountain.

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