The Teton Range is a mountain range of the Rocky Mountains in North America. A north-south range, it is on the Wyoming side of the state's border with Idaho, just south of Yellowstone National Park. Most of the range is in Grand Teton National Park. Early French Voyageurs used the name "les Trois Tétons" (the three breasts). It is likely that the Shoshone people once called the whole range Teewinot, meaning "many pinnacles". The principal summits of the central massif, sometimes referred to as the Cathedral Group, are Grand Teton (13,770 feet (4,200 m)), Mount Owen (12,928 feet (3,940 m)), Teewinot (12,325 feet (3,757 m)), Middle Teton (12,804 feet (3,903 m)) and South Teton (12,514 feet (3,814 m)). Other peaks in the range include Mount Moran (12,605 feet (3,842 m)), Mount Wister (11,490 feet (3,500 m)), Buck Mountain (11,938 feet (3,639 m)) and Static Peak (11,303 feet (3,445 m)).
Between six and nine million years ago, stretching and thinning of the Earth's crust caused movement along the Teton fault. The west block along the fault line was pushed upwards to form the Teton Range, thereby creating the youngest range of the Rocky Mountains. The fault's east block fell downwards to form the valley called Jackson Hole. While many of the central peaks of the range are composed of granite, the geological processes that led to the current composition began about 2.5 billion years ago. At that time, sand and volcanic debris settled into an ancient ocean. Additional sediment was deposited for several million years and eventually heat and pressure metamorphosed the sediment into gneiss, which comprises the major mass of the range. Subsequently, magma was forced up through the cracks and weaknesses in the gneiss to form granite, anywhere from inches to hundreds of feet thick. This ancient magma has manifested itself as noticeable black dikes of diabase rock, visible on the southwest face of Mount Moran and on the Grand Teton. Erosion and uplift have exposed the granite now visible today.
One reason the Tetons are famous is because of their great elevation above their base. Unlike most mountain ranges, the Tetons lack foothills, or lower peaks which can obscure the view. This is due to the fault zone being at the base of the range on the eastern side, and the range being too young to have had time to erode into soft hills. As such, the Tetons rise sharply, from 5,000 to nearly 7,000 feet above the valley floor. The view is most dramatic as seen from the east; on the west side, they appear as high rolling hills that transition smoothly into flat pasture. [WIKIPEDIA]
Jackson Lake, the Cathedral Group, Mt. Moran (photo: David Hewett)
"...ski mountaineers conceive of an adventure, take all the steps to prepare for it, attempt it, often a few times, and eventually complete it. Modern society is all about specialization and mass production. Most people only work on one aspect of a project. While this maximizes productivity, I find it counter to my goals in life, which vaguely include utilizing and sharpening all, or at least a great many, of my human gifts. Ski mountaineering pushes us to give life to a vision, challenges us to develop the skills to seek out that vision, then tests our determination and resolve as we attempt to complete it. It takes much time and energy and produces little or nothing tangible that the rest of the world might consider useful or leading to progress. But once you complete a ski tour or a climb, it’s yours forever, start to finish. And it doesn’t even take up any room in your garage."
Mark Newcomb, Exum Mountain Guides, Jackson, WY
Central Couloir, Jackson Hole Backcountry (David Hewett, skier unknown)
Myself, Summit, Grand Teton, GTNP (Greg Collins)
Granite Canyon, GTNP (photographer unknown)
Myself, Endless Couloir, Granite Canyon, GTNP (Jack Brauer)