The Grand Teton (13,770') is the second highest peak in Wyoming and one of the most iconic summits in the United States. It is a technical climb by any route. FKT attempts are usually by the Owen Spalding route (YDS 5.4), which also serves as the standard descent route.
Bryce Thatcher, who held the FKT for the Grand for 29 years from 1983 until 2012, recounts some history of speed records on the Grand Teton here. Amazingly, just 10 days after Kilian Jornet finally bested Thatcher's record, Rocky Mountain National Park ranger Andy Anderson beat Jornet's time by just 59 seconds. An interview with Anderson on his Grand and Longs Peak (CO) records is on irunfar.com, and an outstanding podcast Episode with Andy is here on this website.
Belt Buckle Route
Rickey Gates and partner Elizabeth Thorp have created a series of custom belt buckles commemorating some of the most iconic and hotly contested FKT routes! This route certainly qualifies. Each buckle is awarded to the FKT holder, and passed on when that FKT is superseded. Currently this buckle is held by Andy Anderson for the men. Gates & Thorp are still working to create a buckle for the women.
I had a wonderful in-person conversation with Jock Glidden, who had the FKT for many years prior to Creighton King, whose time was bettered by Bryce. Here is the summary:
Jock Glidden, age 84, Salt Lake City, November 12, 2019
- Date/Time: 1972, 4hrs 11mins r/t
- Previous FKT: 1939, Hawks and Holyoke, 5hrs, 40mins (not sure)
- Shoes: Adidas running shoes - "pretty much in shreds."
- Hydration: Only drank out of streams. Giardia didn't exist or we didn't care. "Cleaned it up with Wylers".
- Food: Didn't bring any. Begged for it. Ate two Mars Bars on summit.
- Comments: "No one believed them (Hawks and Holyoke). No one believed me either. Ortenburger was at the bottom when I finished, but he didn't mention it in his book because he didn't like it."
- (Leigh Ortenburger, author of the epochal "Climbers Guide to the Teton Range")
FKT recognition has changed dramatically since then (for better or worse)!
I am here at Grand Teton National Park today and in awe of this mountain. Will try to either summit Grand Teton or try the Teton Circumnavigation this weekend/this week. Will make attempt at unsupported FKT on the Circumnavigation, no shot at FKT on the summit though. Can’t challenge Andy and Kilian.
Report: Jock Glidden passed away on Wednesday, July 29th, 2020, at his home in Ogden, after the balance of pains outweighed the sum of pleasures, and he determined that there was no longer any purpose in continuing the struggle against Parkinson’s Disease.
In 1972 he established the early FKT on the Grand Teton, was a great person and climber, and lived and died consciously. A week prior to his passing he decided it was time to go, and announced he would refrain from eating or drinking. May we all have a fraction of his accomplishments.