Middle Teton Southwest Couloir Hike
The the Middle Teton hike isn’t just any old hike in the Tetons. It is THE hike of the Tetons. It is only 2nd in glory to good old Grand Teton. But while Grand Teton may remain out of reach with its highly technical climbing requirements, that’s not the case for Middle. This hike isn’t for the faint of heart but by the time you come down from that nearly 13,000 foot summit, you will be glad you took on the journey.

The Middle Teton hike via Southwest Couloir is the easiest route up to the summit of the Tetons! Find out how to hike the Middle Teton in this blog.

Middle Teton – 43°43′48″N 110°48′41″W,
Elevation – 12,800 ft
A dream seen to reality.
11 hours
13 miles
6,000 vertical feet of gain

Hiking the Middle Teton has been on my to-do list for a very long time. The mere thought of reaching the Middle’s summit and seeing its grandiose views has had me drooling in daydreams. See, hiking the Middle Teton isn’t just any old hike in the Tetons. It is THE hike of the Tetons. It is only 2nd in glory to the pride and joy of the Rockies, the good old Grand Teton. But while Grand Teton may remain out of reach with its highly technical climbing requirements, that’s not the case for Middle. This is no hike, this is a journey, and I promise you, by the time you come down from that nearly 13,000 foot summit, you will be a new person.

IMPORTANT: Hiking the Middle Teton requires no rock climbing skills or ropes. While it is strenuous, it is also completely doable for any experienced hiker. I do recommend wearing a helmet for the last section though since there is a lot of scree and loose rock that may be dislodged from other hikers (accidentally of course). Read on to get the exact beta on how to hike Middle Teton.

So before I share all the important details on how to actually hike Middle Teton, I’m dropping a muse on why we even climb mountains anyway…but if that bores you, just skip this section with the table of contents below.

Middle Teton Mountain Musings

There are few things I love as much as the pain and the risk and the challenge and the beauty of climbing really sharp, jagged peaks and the elimination of the insanity the world has come to be.

Unlike most things we do, people like climbing mountains because it reminds us that we’re nothing and it’s as simple as that. We don’t conquer mountains, mountains conquer us.

In the mountains, our egos can’t get in the way. We don’t have control nor much power in the scale of sheer mountain force. All we have is the ability to analyze, predict, and adapt. It prepares us for hard things. It prepares us for failure.

At hour 5, I thought we might not get to the summit. A snowfield stretched along the base of the scree slope that ascended toward the peak. And, in the way of the mountains, the weather was changing by the second. A dark cloud had rolled in and from our vantage point, we had no idea if it was the only cloud formation, or if it was the first of many.

I was preparing myself to accept defeat. I knew I was really quite powerless in that decision and it was out of my control.

Then, just as we reached the saddle between South and Middle Teton, a stretch of relatively clear sky lay ahead and the snowfield ended right alongside the Southwest Couloir Route.

Our legs were absolutely fried but an hour later, at the summit, they felt weightless.

And as accomplished as I felt in that moment, the pain of descent (arguably harder than the ascent) is where the absurd love of challenge comes in. Going back and forth between “Why am I doing this?” to “I love this sh**!”

I can’t help but think of Jon Krakauer’s words,

“In the end, climbing mountains doesn’t really prove anything.”

And that’s why I love it.

There are too many things I do in my life to try and prove something to no one in particular (and don’t we all), but when you climb mountains, it’s beyond the individual. 

It’s impossible to see yourself and your life as anything but a gift to experience in the grand scale of trying to climb very large mountains🏔

✘ In the end, mountains are a gateway to an elevated life (pun intended) ✘

It’s a confrontation to balance all 7 chakras at once.

🏔 It grounds you into the earth.

💪🏽 You may not be strong in comparison, but it makes you feel strong and that’s all that matters.

✨ We are bold and brave and courageous in the face of fear.

💚 We love.

We love the earth and the people who summit these mountains beside us.

And we forgive, because we are so fulfilled in this moment.

✨ We speak clearly in this motion toward fulfillment.

👁 We see. We expand our awareness of what could be through the experience of what we’re capable of.

It makes us connected. Completely.

We are nothing, but we are this mountain.

For more of my musings, follow me on Instagram @gabirobledo_


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