I was looking over the park maps when I remembered something about a Tram close by that went up into the mountains. I had scoffed at the very idea when reading about it before but now saw a way we could complete nearly all of our initially planned hike with some modifications. Peter and Dylan agreed it was a good idea, especially since our legs were already crushed from the previous two days of climbing. We would at least maximize our time in the backcountry in the limited time we had. After getting off the tram, we would use connectors trails to get to Granite Canyon, hike all the way through it then turn south to get back to Teton Village.
Peter scored us some Tram tickets from Teton Village to the top of Rendezvous Mountain. We spent the rest of the night attempted to dry out all our sodden filthy clothing and gear by hanging it from every conceivable (and some inconceivable) surface in the hotel room. The rest of the night was spent doing laundry and re-sorting gear for the next two days.
The next morning, the weather broke, and we were greeted with bright and clear, if chilly morning. We downed a continental breakfast then loaded back up in our rental van and sped off for Teton Village. Shockingly we were able to park for free (after some discussion with the tram staff that we would be leaving our car and not returning on the tram - and no were weren't crazy, and we weren't going to die by camping out on top of Rendezvous Mt.).
|Rendevous Mt. Peak|
The snow wasn't terrible deep on top, and hard enough that we forego using our snow shoes for the time being. We passed several cross country skiers gliding over the snow. By the end of the day we would all be wishing for some skis ourselves, but the snowshoeing wasn't bad at all. The first descent was pretty steep as we walked, slid, and and glisaded rapidly to the bottom of the bowl. The trail of course was no where to be seen but we had a general course to follow. Once at the bottom we had to climb back up the other side and over into rolling downhill terrain.
The canyon was a complete white out, and the snow filled air whipped our faces as we marched east and down out of Granite Canyon. We were quickly becoming soaked and frozen, but the view was amazing. The trail was fairly easy to follow luckily even as it become more buried by the minute.
Without the need for snow shoes the hiking was fast and furious. We had to constantly whack at trees that hung low over the trail, laden down with snow. A quick slap with a hiking pole and they would spring out of the way as they dumped their load of the white stuff. We repeated the process, alternating the lead for the next few hours.
We reached the Granite Canyon Trailhead, but disappointingly still had a couple more hours of uphill slogging in the worsening storm to get back to Teton village. But eventually we popped out of the woods, soaked and frozen to the bone and made our way back to the van. Soon we were defiling yet another hotel room with filthy packs and clothes.
This was definitely one of my favorite western adventures. The difficulty of going off season made it even more memorable. It was easily the most remote adventure I had ever been on. On both halves of the hike, after a couple hours in we never saw another soul. It was amazing to have the total solitude and quiet of the woods to ourselves for a couple of days. Learning to deal with travelling in heavy and deep snow was a bonus challenge, and I can't wait to put my new skills to work again on the next frozen adventure.