Durrance Exum to The Grand Teton


“When the guide Paul Petzoldt slowly worked his way up towards the summit of “The Grand” with his guests, his assistant pushed off to the side. Glen Exum traversed a ledge towards the south rigde – today known as Wall Street. He free soloed the to the summit to join his master and guests.” This was when the upper part of the south ridge was first discovered, the lower section was awakened from hibernation by Jack Durrance five years later in 1936. That’s why, often the enchainment of “Lower Exum” and “Upper Exum” is called the “Durrance Exum”.

We like the old stories. And we like to check out the routes. Be amazed by the ancient and genius.

After a calm night between the boulders of the moraine below the Lower Saddle we got an after sunrise start. The route is a flow. It takes you through featured, occasionally exposed rock while you move into thinner air. The Tetons stand tall from the plains and eclipse surrounding ranges, yet being part of the chain of the Rockies.

Why are the Tetons that special? Ask the nerd! After the ranges in today’s western Wyoming had formed millions of years ago, not so long ago, but still more than half a million years ago, Yellowstone’s supervolcano erupted turning the mountains to the northeast of the Tetons into ashes and clouds. What is left behind is  a majestic range with summits hovering more than 2000 m above the plains. In short, the Tetons look like mountains are supposed to look like.

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