Native land of the: Shoshone-Bannock, Eastern Shoshone and Cheyenne
13m 6,072ft gain
Middle Teton is the third highest peak in the Teton Range and is separated from the Grand by only a saddle and the Middle Teton Glacier. The Grand gets all the attention in the magnificent Cathedral Group of the Tetons but Middle T is a beast in its own right! It hosts a wide range of climbing routes and can easily be combined with South Teton. For the wild few it’s just a stop along the Grand Traverse which spans 10 peaks from Teewinot to Nez Perce. The 40-mile long Teton Range, protected by the Grand Teton National Park is iconic and it’s an absolute honor to hike here!
1st Trip: 10/2/20
My good friend Jay was having a bachelor trip in Jackson Hole, Wyoming so naturally a mutual friend of Jay and I figured out a way to get a hike in. He was about to become a father and I was about to turn thirty so we both had a reason to tackle something big. We flew into Salt Lake City a day before the trip, Steven from Seattle and me from Portland. We left the airport at 10pm and drove a rental over five hours to the Lupine Meadows trailhead in the Grand Tetons National Park. We slept for about 2 hours in the tiny sedan then hit the trail around 6am.
It had been 7 years since I first visited the Tetons and absolutely fell in love with mountains and nature. Even with the lack of sleep and smoke in the air, I was giddy with excitement! Middle T was an ambitious plan considering the following day’s festivities, so we had a backup in place “just in case.” About three miles into the hike we reached the junction for our backup destinations, Delta and Surprise lakes but of course we were feeling good and making great time, so we pushed for Middle T!
Past the fork we continued winding our way through Garnet Canyon and Garnet Meadows until the trail ends at an endless boulder field.
The distinct line from the top of the mountain straight down 800ft is known as the black dike which was caused by a basaltic intrusion long after the rock had been formed.
We only saw one other person once the trail ended but we saw many cute little critters hiding in the rocks.
The next mile and a half and 2,000ft of gain was spent on loose rocks in a wide boulder field. It was quite the accomplishment not rolling an ankle.
At the saddle between South T and Middle T we peered over the edge towards Idaho and the western side of the Tets.
With one more push to go we dropped our packs and sent it up the southwest coulior!
It is an easy scramble but has some rockfall danger if other parties are present. During the final stretch we took a short break every 50 steps to give our tired brains some short goals to focus on.
The summit was clear of smoke but you could see it in the distance in about every direction. It didn’t matter too much because we could see all the glorious mountains around us!
It felt fantastic to be up high in a range I don’t often visit on the last day of my twenties. The Cascades will always be number one in my heart but I want to experience every big mountain range in the US and Worldwide before I’m forty…
Our descent seemed to take forever while constantly negotiating with loose rocks.
At the trailhead we learned that the house we were staying at was in Driggs, Idaho not Jackson, WY. Oops! Another 1hr 30 behind but it’s okay the bachelor didn’t remember what time we got there! The rest of the weekend was great, we golfed, hiked around the Jackson Hole ski resort and had a few sodas.
I also added an extra day after the trip to get another big hike in! I drove back to Utah to complete a traverse from North to South Timpanogos! I’d say it was my kind of birthday weekend hiking 30 miles, gaining 14,000ft of elevation while enjoying a bachelor party in between!