Greetings from Grand Teton National Park!
We’ve just completed our two days of climbing school with Exum. Everyone has been learning new skills such as tying knots, belaying, bouldering, and rappelling.
During our first day of climbing school we met our three guides at the base of Jackson Hole Resort. After receiving our gear we took a gorgeous ride up the tram and got great views of the cloud covered valley. We hiked down the ski trails to our first climbing site. Dylan and Luke discovered some wildlife. Luke pointed out a yellow-bellied marmot and Dylan spotted a gold-mantled ground squirrel that was trying to steal our snacks.
Our first activity of the day was bouldering. Jonathan and Eli S. helped give pointers to the rest of the group since they had previous experience. Next we moved onto knots. Scotty was excited to learn the various climbing knots and their applications. Then we moved onto belaying where Charles and Paul excelled. After a quick lunch break we started our multi-pitch climbing. We were broken into two rope teams climbing side by side up a beginner slope. It required a lot of trust and teamwork. Matthew and Felix lead the way for the two teams as the first student climbers and belayers.
The final section of our first day was a repelling tutorial. Paul was a natural and picked it up right away. After repelling down Jack completed a difficult overhang climb on his way back up. Considering it was Griffin’s first time climbing, he improved rapidly and enjoyed all the day’s activities. We ended the experience with a ride down the Gondola. Overall, it was a great first day!
Our second day of climbing school was focused on reinforcing the skills we learned on day one, in addition to serving as practice for our climb up the Grand. We split into groups to rotate through four stations: bouldering, multi-pitch climbing, down climbing, and rappelling. Eli M led the way rappelling down a 100-foot cliff, which he reported as being the highlight of his day. Drew improved tremendously today across the board, becoming noticeably more comfortable and confident with his climbing ability. It was a really action-packed day, we’re quite tired but very excited for a good night’s sleep for our hike up to the saddle tomorrow, and the summit the day after!
Once we make it down from the Grand, we’ll enjoy a day of rafting the Snake River and a delicious banquet to celebrate the end of our journey. We can’t believe how quickly the trip has flown by, we’ve all had such a great time. It’s going to be quite hard to say goodbye at the airport on Friday, but we’re sure the group will be keeping in touch long after the trip ends.
Speaking just on our behalf, it’s been an absolute pleasure spending the last three weeks with your kids, we’re really going to miss them! We hope they continue to develop a love for the outdoors in the future.
Fingers crossed for good weather on the Grand!
Grand Teton 1
Katie and Ethan