Ascent of Middle Teton on 1990-07-13

Climber: Steve Myers

Others in Party:Andy Till
Paul Sykes
Date:Friday, July 13, 1990
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Middle Teton
    Elevation:12804 ft / 3902 m

Ascent Trip Report

My first serious mountain. I had no idea what I was doing. To top it off, it was a Friday the 13th.

Our summit team consisted of me - a suburban Minnesota kid weaned on pizza and malls and whose outdoor experience consisted of shoveling snow; Andy - a Mississippi boy whose only outdoor experience, as far as I knew, was throwing catfish onto the highway and watching cars run over them (Andy swears to this day that they spoke just before the car hit. His immitation of it is something between a burp and meow.); and Paul - another Mississippi catfish tossing boy. The combined height of the highest points in our two home states is about 3,000 feet. We were headed for almost 13,000 feet. We were stoked!

As is customary, we camped in "The Meadows" the night before. The Meadows is one of the most jaw-dropping spots you can spend the night anywhere on earth. It sits in a deep bowl surrounded by the three Tetons - The Grand to the north, the Middle to the west, and the South to the south. It's a true "throne room of the mountain gods" sort of spot.

We teed off early the next morning and made our way up the boulder field toward the saddle between the Middle and the South. When we reached the saddle we were faced with several things. One was the panorama of peaks, snow fields, frozen lakes, and forests that lay below our feet. Two was the fact that it was windy and cold. Three was the fact that we were unprepared for windy and cold. We did the best we could. I dug deep in my pack and produced a long sleeve t-shirt, which I loaned to Paul. Paul had nothing for his head, so he took a bandana and wrapped it so that it covered his face (old school trainrobber style) There is a picture of us ready to ascend the couloir looking very cold, but very badass.

The southwest couloir is the standard route up the middle. It's steep and sort of class 3 or 4 climbing, but none of us knew what any of that meant. We just went up until it ended.

At the top, we saw no one, the sun returned and we celebrated, each of us with an illegal beer. It was Busch Light Draft and we were all 20 years old at the time. To this day, it remains one of the only peaks I have ever drank a beer on top of. Not because I'm opposed to summit suds mind you, but I just don't want to carry it. Has anyone invented powdered beer yet?

The way down was fast, including a glissade down a snowfied to the boulder field. No Friday the 13th bad luck, just an awesome day in the Tetons. From this day on, I was hooked on climbing mountains...
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:6072 ft / 1850 m
    Trailhead:6732 ft / 2051 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe

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