As Apryle and I prepared to climb the Grand Teton with Todd and Justin, we embarked on a quest to summit Long’s Peak. I thought that the North Face of Longs in the early spring would be good preparation for our Teton plans. We convinced JS Butler to join in the fun, despite the vehement protestations of his non-climber coworkers.
“You can’t climb a 14er in April!” he heard. Even Apryle had some concerned businesspeople in town explain to her that, “people die up on Long’s Peak in the winter…every spring they have to go in and carry out the bodies when the snow melts.” Right.
We loaded John with a full pack of winter mountaineering gear and headed p to the Boulderfield. As we left the parking lot, it became apparent that John had never gone backpacking, let alone mountaineering. “Should I be having fun right now?” “Yes, of course, John!”
We weren’t having fun though. The weather did not cut us any breaks, pelting us with graupel and wind as we struggled through Granite Pass. Apryle hit on a secret reserve of energy and plowed forward, leaving John and I slowly sucking wind in her tracks.
We made it to the boulderfield to find a wall of grey clouds. Wary of camping under such exposed conditions and doubtful of our ability to climb the face after such a storm, we decided to bag it and retreat to lower elevation. We pitched a camp on the snow by Jim’s Grove, made some couscous for dinner, and passed out. High marks for JS on his first overnight, in a bivy sack at 12,000′ nonetheless.
It was our first attempt, but not our only…