I was nervous about doing any degree of straining activity with so much smoke hanging in the air here in the North West. A few days in Montana and even a jog in town felt like smoking a pack of Marlboro Reds. But the end of this hundred-day adventure is rapidly nearing, and there was still one thing on my list that needed checking off: climbing The Grand, down in the Tetons.
While the fires haven’t been a problem for Montana alone, the webcam at the Grand Teton visitor center showed sky’s a shade of blue I hadn’t seen since leaving California. Good enough for me.
At 34,375 square miles, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is one of the largest nearly intact temperate zone ecosystems on earth. The Tetons, sitting in the lower portion of the system directly underneath Yellowstone, is home to some of our countries most impressive peaks, and attracts climbing enthusiast from around the world.
I was accompanied by my longtime friends Eric and Anne, who’ve both summited the Grand in past years, and who both have considerably more climbing experience than I do. We faced some weather, which slowed us down, but we eventually and safely made it to the top—damp, cold, and happy.