Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Other Classic Teton Run

Paintbrush Divide is the shiz
The Teton Circumnavigation is indeed the classic run in the Tetons. Period. Doing a fat loop around arguably some of the most aesthetic mountains in the west, seeing them from every possible angle, cannot be beaten. But when you've already done that, it seems more appropriate to look for something else rather than to repeat it. What is that something else?

The Teton Crest Trail.

Semi useful map

Rather than running around the Tetons, this trail involves running towards and then past them. And while it isn't quite as spectacular as the circumnavigation, it certainly comes dang close. The trail can generally be started at two different points, namely the pansy way and the cool way. The pansy way involves riding the tram at Jackson Hole Ski Resort up to the top of the mountain and running a casual 4 miles to the linkup with the trail proper. "Sounds good to me", you say? No, it shouldn't. Here's why. It avoids 4 extra miles, a ton of vert, you have to pay to ride the tram, and frankly isn't pure in its true traverse from start to finish. QED. Just made this guy look like a dorkwad.

The pure, cheap, harder way to do it is to start from near Teton Pass at the Phillips Pass trailhead. This is how Annie and I decided to do it. The trail ends 40 miles later after descending Paintbrush canyon to String Lake where you've previously stashed your car and chacos. (you could bail down Cascade but again, lame)  Annie has been living in the Tetons this summer, so one of her coworkers was nice enough to drive us to Phillips TH where we got our usual non-alpine start of 8:30.
Fun ST through flowers up to Phillips Pass

You pass in and out of the park multiple times on the trail. 

How do you train for vertical OW? Horizontal OW. 

We ran a casual pace all day, enjoying the trail. It is absolutely gorgeous up there and it is so rewarding to see so much in one day. We didn't set any speed records like usual(no idea what it is, the only running info I found was this guy's blog) and finished at 11:30, which was fine since I was planning on 12 hours. I also was unable to locate any kind of total elevation change data either, but it felt very similar to the circumnavigation, around 8k. The climb up and down Paintbrush Divide is the real deal my friends. Save some serious juice for that section. Its a half marathon with a fat 2000' climb and 4000' drop after you've already done a marathon. Whoa Nelly.
Marion Lake and a girl not named Marion

Death Canyon Shelf. 

Happiness in the face of Death(canyon)

You can sleep peacefully here knowing bears are around and your camping zone is named "death shelf "

Admiring the view. Annie is admiring both the mountains and my backside

North Fork of Cascade. Superb views. 

Annie looks happier than I did here. Topping out Paintbrush divide

Stoked to be soaking at String Lake. Pizza followed. 

And again, I repeat for my own sake, eating 2 candy bars, fruit snacks, a gu and nuts in gorging fashion is not advised before slamming an 8 mile, 4000' drop back to the canyon floor just because you want to empty your pack.

1 comment:

  1. Quod erat demonstrandum, way to try to look all intellectual. A dorkwad indeed. Beautiful pictures. Love the Tetons!