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Spectacular Saturday on Irene’s Arete

[ 0 ] June 24, 2012 |

Words: JSmith
Most Photos: Chris Dickey

On Saturday morning, me and Chris Dickey set out to climb the mega-classic Irene’s Arete on Disappointment Peak of Grand Teton National Park. Given the exposure and commitment of the route, weather is a paramount consideration, and Saturday couldn’t have been a better day to go for it.

With some rapidly melting snow still present above 9k, we had to plan for a full value adventure during the 11 mile-ish journey that would take us nearly 4k above the valley up and over one of the most striking features of this gigantic landscape. Opting to do Irene’s as a lollipop loop, we brought axes and crampon for the sometimes sketchy descent down Disappointment’s Lake Ledges above Surprise & Ampitheatre Lakes.

With the somewhat masochistic exception of adding the awkward, grunty optional fist crack variation (5.8 but felt harder with fatigue, a pack, etc) near the top, we generally opted for the direct route which goes at 5.8. Every time I clipped a rusty old piton during the climb, I couldn’t help but be amazed that this route was climbed in 1957. Neither of us are in the mega elite climbing class, so Irene’s loomed as legit challenge for us. The route throws a little of everything at you, and we drew on all of our training and experience to safely handle business. There were no gimmes until we were scrambling off the top, throwing horns, hi-fiving and soaking up the incredible ‘not a cloud in the sky’ views of the massive Teton peaks surrounding us.

Check out this photo gallery from our day on Irene’s – click the green arrows to view full size:

If you are gathering beta on Irene’s, here is a sweet trip report by Holly Merriman, Marketing Coordinator for Black Diamond Equipment.

Mission Gear

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