Monday, January 25, 2016

The Beginning

My cousin sort of proffered an invitation while climbing tonight. It began with... "Have you ever thought of doing the Grand?"

I wracked my brains, ideas flitting across my face: Grand Canyon, Grand Prix, Isn't there a Gran something in France?... and landed on, "The Grand what?"

"The Grand Traverse in the Tetons," he answered. "It's thirteen miles to traverse the range."

13 miles is nothing!

"It's 12-14,000 feet of gain," he added. Real casual-like.

The catch.

The trek gets you ten summits, and there are a couple of optional towers. The hardest grade is 5.8. People generally do it in a few days. The record is around six hours. The Beast that is my cousin yearns to go "light and fast" and be in and out in a day. His usual climbing partner isn't crazy about alpine or JB's "light and fast" mentality. It translates to hunger and pain.

I can't stop tumbling the idea around in my brain. He is a solid climber, a solid partner, a solid person. It would be a blast.

It would be one of the hardest things I've ever done. I would be entirely reliant on him; I do not lead trad. And he's fast. The last time I hiked with him, I grew nauseous trying to keep his pace.

It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. If I trained really hard and focused on alpine fitness, I could shine at this and see some amazingly beautiful scenery. I could play my edge.

He needs a partner. I am not as strong as him, but I am good at mountains. I keep my wits in tricky situations. I endure. I low class 5 and scrambles.

I want to explore this. Okay, who'm I kidding... What I really want is to write up a training plan with lots of Colorado ascents. I want to read books and trip reports. I want to drool over pictures and imagine myself in them. Late July to early September... I want to be here...

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