Complete photos here:
Following the intense summer trip, I was happy to get back outside for one of my favorite trips. Every September, I help teach a field course for sophomores. My advisor, Page Chamberlain, has been leading these trips for 25 years.
Still culture-shocked and with a lot to chew on after my Mongolia and Pamir expedition, I drove out with several other teaching assistants from California to Salt Lake where our trip begins.
The trip goes by in thirds. During the first week, we hiked in to a base camp in the Wind River Range and taught orienteering, geologic mapping, early earth history and the carbon cycle.
During the second portion of the trip, we camped in Grand Teton National Park, and studied stream chemistry, plate tectonics and the evolution of western North America. We spent a few days doing roadside geology in Yellowstone.
I also managed to squeeze in a couple fun, easy climbs in the Tetons during our short break in Jackson. First, I headed with Dan, who’d climbed the Grand Teton last year with me, and Jake up Cube Point above Jenny Lake.
The next day, Annalisa and I got an early start to climb Teewinot Mountain. In the crisp darkness, we hiked between herds of bugling elk, before alpenglow lit up the world around us. As we ascended, we left the awful smoke from the many nearby fires. A few hours of climbing and scrambling on steep but clean rock brought us to Teewinot’s summit…such a small perch beneath the Grand Teton and Mount Owen that only one of us could stand on top at once.
The last part of the trip has historically gone to the rough miner town of Cooke City, MT, just outside of Yellowstone, but this year we tried something new. The group went to the Sage Creek Basin in southwestern Montana to see the type of research we do. We ended up going to several areas we’ve studied in the past, and students helped collect samples that will contribute to our ongoing efforts to better constrain the history of climate and topography in North America.
And as always, we brought instruments and played some good music. It was so wonderful to get some time to camp in a less stressful setting than this summer with a great group of TAs and students. Thanks guys!