Ascent of Eagles Rest Peak on 2018-09-01

Climber: Alex Lennon

Others in Party:kari cieszkiewicz
Date:Saturday, September 1, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Eagles Rest Peak
    Elevation:11258 ft / 3431 m

Ascent Trip Report

Though I didn't do a write up at the time, it only seems fitting to write a trip report for my final summit in a five-summer quest to climb all the 'major' 11,000ft peaks in the Teton Range. Eagle's Rest's sharp summit, for me, represented a victory that will doubtlessly go down as unique in my entire climbing career. My first list completion may always be the one I'm most proud of, and will probably remain one of the harder lists I ever complete. I started in 2014 with the Grand, which by its easier routes I wouldn't even put in the top 5 for difficulty. Most of the peaks involve sustained scrambles on rock of varying quality. Most require routefinding skills ranging from good to excellent. Some require long approaches by boat, or arduous bushwhacking, or both. The rewards are well worth these efforts, though, as each peak is a unique and awe-inspiring alpine adventure. And even having completed the 11ks, there is still so much of the Teton Range left for me to explore. Though I appear to be the first Teton 11k completer on this site, I'd imagine I'm not the first to actually do so; at the very least Leigh Ortenburger, Tom Turiano, Renny Jackson, and perhaps a handful of others have likely climbed all these peaks and more. Still, anyone on here who has their sights set on conquering these jagged peaks should know that reaching any of these mountaintops is something to be proud of, and is a truly wonderful experience. It's certainly been a great privilege for me to have climbed so many of them.

Anyway... on to Eagle's Rest itself. I had been camped out in Paintbrush Canyon doing trail work for eight days just prior. My crew spent most of that time building a long but quick staircase just below Paintbrush Divide. On the seventh day of our tour, August 27th, we were caught in a heavy and bitterly cold blizzard, very early in the season for substantial snow even by Wyoming standards. I was nervous that it wouldn't melt in time and ruin my shot at Eagle's Rest for the rest of the year. Fortunately the bulk of it did melt over the next few days, at least below 12,000ft which was all I needed. So on September 1st, Kari and I decided to go for it! We got the boat in the water around 6am, and reached the base of the east slope of Eagle's Rest a little before 7. We decided that the eastern approach over Peak 10,880+ would be much more straightforward than the South Couloirs route we had tried in 2017. It was, in almost every way; the bushwhack was much more pleasant from lakeshore to treeline, the routefinding was more straightforward in the alpine, and the entire route was extremely scenic. Still, it took us a while to top out on 10,880+ and it was noon before we did so. From there, Eagle's Rest was surprisingly far away and looked very intimidating. So much so that Kari decided she'd stop where she was and enjoy a long lunch while I pressed on. The scramble down to the notch and then back up to the true summit looked to be near-vertical, but there was nothing to be done but go for it.

The scrambling was quite steep but it went quickly. The rock was good quality and there were some really fun moves on this ridge. Kari was watching me with horrified fascination from her summit as I appeared to be free-soloing a vertical and featureless gully. In reality the average steepness was somewhere between 50 and 60 degrees and the holds were excellent. Still, I was utterly focused for the entirety of this portion of the day. I reached a small notch about twenty vertical feet below the summit. Only four or five highly exposed moves separated me from this final peak. For the first time all day, I knew I was actually going to top out. I made a couple steep climbing moves and a few delicate traversing moves. Hoisting myself atop a final small boulder, I came to a small flat area. The summit cairn!! I let out a triumphant whoop (heard by Kari) as the reality of this accomplishment, years in the making, rushed over me. I took about 20 minutes to take in the amazing view as it was one of the clearest days we'd had in over a month. To the south, Moran dominated the view; there is also a great view of my prior victory of the summer, Traverse Peak, on which I'd finally had success on my third attempt. To the north, Ranger, Doane, Moose Basin, and all of Yellowstone. To the east, a unique view of Jackson Lake and all of the Absarokas. But I couldn't linger for too long as I had to get back to Kari and make our long descent. I did and this all went without incident, although scrambling back to 10,880+ was certainly exciting. We got back to Colter Bay around 6:30, and made a mad dash to Signal Mountain Lodge for a well-earned victory dinner. An excellent day, and sure to go down as one of my all-time most memorable mountain experiences.
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Eagle's Rest towers behind me on a gorgeous fall day. All smiles after completing my Teton 11k peaks! (2018-09-01). Photo by Alex Lennon.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4688 ft / 1428 m
    Total Elevation Loss:200 ft / 60 m
    Route Conditions:
Open Country, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Ski Poles
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:4688 ft / 1428 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 4488 ft / 1368 m; Extra: 200 ft / 60m
    Loss on way in:200 ft / 60 m
    Start Trailhead:6770 ft / 2063 m
Descent Statistics

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