Trip Overview
Full Itinerary
FAQs about this trip
Testimonials about this trip

Rock climbing in Wyoming's Tetons with Alyson Adventures

Climb America's grandest peak

An active, outdoors vacation with Alyson Adventures.

It's easy to get to know the other travelers in our small, friendly, gay and lesbian groups.

This is just one of our many active gay vacations.

Learn rock climbing in Wyoming's majestic Tetons -- no experience required


The Grand: Rock climbing in Wyoming's Tetons

Rock climbing in Wyoming's Tetons: Frequently-Asked Questions about The Grand

No one who has stood atop The Grand Teton, known as the American Matterhorn, can ever forget the experience. No climbing experience is necessary for this trip: We start with climbing and safety instruction, followed by a 2-day ascent.

This FAQ page is intended to accompany other pages about this trip and about our company (see links at left). Some of the answers below may include links to other other sites; please use the BACK key of your browser to return to this page.


Are there really gay rock climbers and lesbian mountaineers?
Yes -- though we can be hard to find. Are you one of us?

Have you've ever gazed at a distant mountain peak, and wondered what it would be like to climbing that mountain? Watched someone inch up a granite cliff, and wanted to be up there? Our introductory rock climbing trip, The Grand, gives you an opportunity to do just that, after receiving expert mountain climbing instruction from some of the country's best climbers. Moreover, you'll be with a fun, supportive gay and lesbian group.Back to Top

How do I get to Jackson, and then to the condos?
Jackson is served by three major airlines (or their subsidiaries): American, United, and Delta, and the competition helps keep prices reasonable. Still, to get the dates you want, we recommend that you reserve as early as possible, particularly if you hope to use frequent flyer points.

A cab from the Jackson airport can often be $50 with tip. Often you'll be able to share with others arriving at about the same time. Our pre-trip newsletter facilitates such matches.

Many travelers, however, find it less expensive to fly into another nearby airport, rent a car, and drive to Jackson. Idaho Falls, Idaho is about a 2-hour drive; Salt Lake City about 5 hours. In both cases, the drive to Jackson Hole is scenic and varied, and will be part of your adventure. Bus service from these two cities to Jackson is available from Jackson Hole Express ( 800-652-9510; in WY: 307-733-1719).Back to Top

Where do we stay?
Our accommodations are comfortable 2- and 3- bedroom condos in Teton Village, right at the base of the mountains. Each condo is shared by several people, and condos may be co-ed. If you request a single room, you'll have your own bedroom in a shared condo, with either private or shared bathroom facilities. We find this arrangement far more comfortable than hotel rooms, as you'll have a living room and kitchen. Restaurants and shops are just a few minutes walk away.Back to Top

This is called a 7-day trip. Exactly what does that mean?
Our trip officially begins at 6:00 p.m., with a reception and orientation, followed by dinner. We officially end after breakfast on the last day, although you can leave as early as you like. Or stay around all day, for sightseeing with your new friends.

Our "7-day" trip thus consists of 6 full days and two partial days. Some companies promote a trip of this length as being 8 days since it includes pieces of 8 different days. We feel it's more accurate to refer to this as 7 days.Back to Top

What's the difference between Jackson and Jackson Hole?
Jackson is the name of the major Wyoming town associated with, and close to, Grand Teton National Park. (Though not quite the closest: The tiny town of Moose, Wyoming, is right at the park entrance.)

Jackson Hole is the geographic name for this entire valley, nestled between the Teton range to the west, Gros Ventre mountains to the east, and Snow King to the south. ("Hole" was a term used by settlers for a low area surrounded by mountains.) Jackson Hole is also the name used for the ski resort at Teton Village, just outside Jackson.Back to Top

How hard is this trip?
The training is not especially strenuous, and can be done by anyone in good physical condition. The ascent of the Grand is strenuous. You should be in very good physical shape, engaging in some sort of aerobic exercise regularly (biking, swimming, running, or just long brisk walks.)Back to Top

Do I need rock climbing experience?
We get some experienced rock climbers and mountaineers (and they always have a great time), but most people who join us for The Grand have not climbed before. If you do have experience, you could also consider our Matterhorn climb.Back to Top

I'm traveling alone. Will everyone else be in couples?
Most of our trips draw more single travelers than couples. This particular trip draws an even higher percentage of single people -- there just don't seem to be many couples in which both partners want to climb a mountain.

You don't need to pay the single supplement if you're traveling alone. We'll be happy to match you with a roommate. Pay the single supplement only if you want a bedroom to yourself.Back to Top

What are the meals like?
Breakfast is generally in the form of breakfast supplies in the condo. We supply cold cereal, eggs and bacon, yogurt, fruit, orange juice, coffee, tea, milk, and other items to give you a good selection. One day we may all head out to local institution known as Bubba's, famous for its hearty breakfasts.

On climbing and instruction days, lunch will be a sandwich, fruit, dessert, and soft drink.

Four dinners are included: They are hearty, and varied. A buffet or restaurant dinner follows our opening night reception; we have a high-carbo pasta dinner the evening before the climb, and on the last night, we'll dine in one of the area's top restaurants. Vegetarians are always provided for as part of our planning, not as an afterthought. As for your night on the mountain -- well, let's just say that while you shouldn't climb the Grand for the food, you'll eat much better than most climbers do!Back to Top

If my instructor doesn't think I should do The Grand, then what?
Chances are, if you feel ready to climb the Grand Teton after our two days of instruction, your guide will agree. But this is a challenging climb, and if either you, or we, don't feel you should try it, you can instead do an alternate climb.Back to Top

Who are the guides and instructors?
All our instruction and guides are provided by Exum Mountain Guides, founded by one of the first men to climb The Grand. Exum has an excellent world-wide reputation, and our instructors have extensive experience training new rock climbers. Our past Exum guides and instructors have included some of the country's leading climbers and mountaineers.Back to Top

What's the instruction like?
We have two days of lessons, during which you'll learn skills the skills needed to climb a mountain:

Knots: A good knot stays tied when you want it to be tied, and easily comes untied when you're done with it. There are just a few knots you need to learn, and they'll quickly become second nature.

Belaying: Whenever you're climbing on rocks so steep that a fall could injure you, you'll have a rope connecting you to someone higher up, known as your belayer. Your belayer takes up the slack through a device that locks onto the rope if you slip, thus preventing a fall. You'll learn how to belay your partner, and how to signal to your belayer when you're climbing.

Climbing: You'll learn to use cracks and small ledges in the rock to ascend a cliff that just hours ago would have looked impossible to climb. You might think you need a horizontal ledge to stand on, for example; but a move known as a layback allows you to move up on surfaces that are completely vertical.

Rappelling: Sliding down a rope, using a device that allows you to easily control your rate of descent, is known as rappelling.Back to Top

What's the actual climb like?
We start up mid-morning, hiking up through an evergreen forest above a mountain lake. This takes us to a valley that runs between the Grand and Middle Tetons. You can enjoy lunch while perched atop a giant boulder, overlooking a tiny mountain stream. Conditions vary year to year; chances are, we'll hike up a snowfield today. Your guide will show you how to kick steps, as needed, to avoid slipping. There's no technical rock climbing today, though at one point, you'll be grateful to find a permanent rope offering support up a steep section of rock.

We'll spend the night in a tent at about 11,500 feet of altitude. An early start the next morning gives us a dramatic sight, as the entire Teton range casts a shadow across the Idaho, to the west. Today's progress will sometimes be slower, as we rope together and put to use the technical climbing skills we've been learning.

And then, after five or six hours of steady progress, we reach the summit. "It was the most exhilarating moment of my life," said one climber, gazing down at the peaks of nearby mountains.

The descent includes a 150-foot rappel, again using skills you learned earlier. The day concludes with a well-earned dinner back in Teton Village.Back to Top

What's the likelihood that I will or won't make it to the top of The Grand?
We can't give a meaningful answer without knowing more about you. Over the years,about 85% of participants have stood on the top of the Grand Teton.

Of the others: The first year, one developed altitude sickness during the ascent, and had to turn back. Roughly 1 person in 20 or 30 has this problem. Since that first year, we've added 2 more days in the middle of the trip. Those days help everyone acclimatize, and decrease the likelihood of altitude sickness.

Several people have hiked with us to the saddle, half-way up, then stayed there while we ascended to the peak, and joined us on our way down.

You should also understand that adverse weather can prevent us from climbing The Grand. The odds are well in our favor -- as of our fifth Grand trip in 2001, it had never yet happened -- but it's a possibility.Back to Top

Can I talk to someone who's been on this trip?
We encourage you to do so. Outside Magazine says that talking to people who have taken a trip previously is one of the best ways to evaluate whether it will be right for you, and we agree.

Our website includes a full page of comments from past travelers. Most of them have volunteered to talk about their experiences with future potential travelers. Please call for the names and phone numbers of references in your area.Back to Top

How's the gay nightlife in Jackson, Wyoming?
Pretty limited -- until we get there! One benefit of traveling with a gay and lesbian group is that if you've still got the energy to dance all night after our day's activities, there will be someone you can ask to accompany you.Back to Top



Trip calendar   |   HOME   |   Reserve a trip

Copyright © 1999 - 2010 by Alyson Adventures, Inc.