The trail wandered through a pristine forest and soon reached the magical high alpine zone that I was learning to love. The rock was a lot more stable then The Deadly Bells, and I quickly scrambled up to The Belly Crawl Ledge. This was mentioned as one of the cruxes in the guidebook, so I studied the route carefully before starting the traverse. Crossing the ledge was easy, but it was a bit icy and very exposed, and the weather was deteriorating rapidly, so I moved cautiously. A sudden squall of icy rain slammed the mountain as I looked over the edge at the infamous North Face. But the squall passed as quickly as it had arrived, and I continued on the safe ledge to the double chimneys. This crux had a rating of 5.4, which means that a rope and technical gear were recommended, but a confident climber would find it easy. I stopped for a brief rest and studied the route very carefully. If I slipped here as I had on the Devil’s Tower, I would probably die or be severely injured, so mistakes were not an option. The route looked fairly reasonable and the weather was clearing, so I took three deep breaths and headed upwards.
The first moves were a bit scary, but they felt good and I started to relax and truly enjoy the high-altitude experience. There was a secure place to rest about half way up the chimney, so I stopped to take a breath and survey the fabulous mountain scenery.
“Wow!” was about all I could think, as I looked down at the Middle Teton and off toward the plains of Idaho. If there is a stairway to heaven, it is in the mountains, and I felt like I had found it.
After a brief rest I looked upward. The path looked easy, so I carefully followed it and arrived at the summit just in time for another squall, which dropped a bit of sleet and headed on its way. After a quick lunch, I found the rappel anchors and started to head down. Table of Contents http://danceonedge.com/?page_id=22