Friday, July 23, 2010
One Wild Challenge (The Grand Teton)
This letter was written by one of my good friends in the blue helmet.
Many of us have been following the events in Jackson over the last 24 hours. The injuries and loss of life is a reminder of what can happen at any time to any one given the right, or wrong, conditions. Our hearts go out to the friends and families of those fellow climbers involved and the heroic efforts of those rangers involved in the rescue.
This event was very rare. Note that a rescue of this size has not happened in nearly 60 years. Also note that there has not been a mention of any guide service involved; and more specifically not our guide service Exum.
The climbers involved were high on the mountain mid-day, a common time for storms in the mountains. Both on OWC and in our casual climbing trips, we strive to be off the mountain in early afternoon. In fact, on OWC you will rise at 3a.m. and probably be on the summit around 8 a.m. and only if we have safe weather.
I do not know yet, but suspect these were not guided climbers. Exum Guide Service is world famous and the absolute best in the field. This is why they were included originally and continue to be included as part of the OWC program. In fact, many of our 2007 teammates were turned around due to weather concerns… it was a freak ice storm that year.
Climbing a mountain is serious business. It includes risk, challenge, courage, patience and common sense… especially when it comes to turning around before bagging a summit. That is why it can be so very rewarding. You will receive superior training for two full days. During training you will attempt routes that exceed the technical difficulty of those provided on summit day. You will also get to know the most competent guides in the industry. In short, you are in the best of hands.