We had a 3:00 a.m. start time. It was a four-hour hike to the lower saddle, plus another three hours to summit the Grand via the Upper Exum route, Golden Staircase, and Wall Street.
We summitted at 10 a.m. I had wanted to climb this mountain since the first time I saw it 16+ years ago. Full disclosure, the first time I saw The Grand, there was no way I could get on top of that thing! It was about four months before I got sober, so I was not in the right shape physically or mentally. It was a wild weekend—the exploits were completely out of control and probably not worth repeating! There is a book called I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell. It sold pretty well, I think, back in the day. I read it years ago and wasn’t impressed; let’s just say that my exploits out-exploited his by a significant factor! Not proud. NO regrets. Just saying…crazy times!
Anyway, after a perfect weather summit, we started on our way down. There is one section that requires a full open air rappel, and the group in front of us slowed us down quite a bit, but it was all good. The traffic jam added 1.5 hours on the descent. The total round trip was 13 hours and a few minutes. We finished at 4 p.m. with only minimal stops—just to change gear, get set up for climbing, etc.
I think in total it was just under 7,000’ of elevation and approximately 17 miles or so.
After the summit and round trip, the swim in Jenny Lake was one of the best ever. After that push, my body was on fire, and the water helped to calm the body and mind. I drove back to Park City that evening, and it was a long and tiring 4.5 hours. I got home around 10:30 p.m. so I could fly to Boston for work the next day. Walking through the SLC airport (and just in general) required some effort. My legs were trashed!
Some places and people in Jackson deserve a shout-out. Sidewinders has GREAT food! I also met a bunch of Exum Guides on the trip. Persephone has great pastries and healthy food, and their pastries kept me going all day up the Grand. Meanwhile, The Bird has perfect burgers, wings, and views.