Teton County Highpoint Trip Report

Date: July 8, 2008
Author: Carl Millsap

This is typically a guided trip with Exum Guide Service. We did it unguided. Three of my brothers, myself, two nephews, and a niece made up the party. We made it a two-day trip using the most common route, the Owen-Spalding Route. We camped below the lower saddle in the snow fields. We liked this location because it was a little more sheltered from the wind. The evening stars were outstanding. I've never seen them so intense and beautiful. We had a reference book that we had rehearsed to each other and reviewed while hiking and while camping so that we were certain of where we needed to go.

Summit day turned into a video game where each level builds upon the last and becomes increasingly difficult. The Crawl and the Belly Roll seemed difficult and very, very exposed. My niece was very vocal about how scared she was. We worked as a team and rarely did any of us go unroped during ascent or rappel. We did a couple small scale rappels early on the ascent to warm up our rope skills. The chimneys proved to be a very tight fit. We decided to call it "The Birth Canal." I had to remove my fanny pack to fit through the tight squeeze.

Once on the summit we spent a good half hour. A helicopter began circling about 2,000 feet below us and we waved at it thinking nothing of it, that maybe it was a tour chopper. We began our descent looking for our rappel point down. We were informed by some Spaniards on our way up that a shorter rappel can be done from approximately the same point as the long rappel. It just lands you on a shelf just 20 or so feet above the long rappel shelf.

We ran into a group with an injured member who had dislocated her jaw while yawning. We set up the ropes at the shorter rappel point and allowed that party to descend on our rope first so they could get down to the rescue chopper which had been circling the mountain while we were on the summit. The sun beat on us and we all had burned faces. After descending the ropes we began our hike out which was down many difficult bouldering sections which required careful traverse. There was one last rappelling point which one of my brothers acted belay and then we assisted him in free climbing down but the exposure was much decreased from previous rappels.

By the time we reached the snow fields we were all very beat. Time for headlamps. We packed up camp and began our descent down the snow. We were careful to cross the bergschrund without mishap. The rest of the trip out was just long and wearying. We didn't want to spend another night on the mountain because we were wet and tired so we trudged the rest of the way out arriving at the trailhead after 3:00 AM.

This picture shows the drop below the Belly Roll and the Crawl.