Duke Paul of Wurttenburg,
"...these are covered with perpetual ice and snow, perhaps the loftiest mountains in all the scenery of the North American Alps."

John Muir, Naturalist

"...plants and animals, biding their time, closely followed the retiring ice, bestowing quick and joyous animation on the new-born landscape. Pine-trees marched up the sun-warmed moraines in long, hopeful files, taking the ground and establishing themselves as soon as it was ready for them; brown-spiked sedges fringed the shores of new-born lakes; young rivers roared in the abandoned channels of the glaciers...The ground burst into bloom with magical rapidity, and the young forests into bird-song; life in every form warming and sweetening and growing richer as the years passed."

Thomas Moran, Painter, August 23, 1879:

"The Tetons are now plainly visible but are not well defined owing to the mistiness of the atmosphere. They loom grandly over all the other mountains, an intervening ridge dividing us from the Teton Basin stretches for miles to the north of a beautiful pinkish yellow with delicate shades of pale cobalt while the distant range is of an exquisite blue with but little definition of forms on their surface."

Moran, August 25, 1879:

"The Tetons here loomed up grandly against the sky and from this point it is perhaps the finest pictorial range in the United States or even in North America."

Comments about Moran's painting "In the Teton Range, Idaho"

"The snow covered Teton Range lies spread out in the sun and shadow...out of the human scale altogether, and man, in spite of his constant intrusion, has been powerless to disturb its vast serenity. Although he has had the audacity to scale these peaks, to fell these forests, and to fish these streams, he has made no noticeable impression upon them...if he is at work in this painting he is too minute to be seen."

Samuel Parker, Indian Missionary, 1835:

"I spent much time in beholding the towering mountains...sometimes filled with emotions of the sublime. I descended...much gratified with what I had seen of the works of God."

Nathaniel Langford, 1872.
In 1872, Langford claimed to be first white to climb Grand Teton, which he called Mount Hayden. Subsequent evidence indicated Langford did not reach the summit:

"...after ten hours of the severest labor of my life, we stepped upon the highest point of the Grand Teton. Man measures his triumphs by the toil and exposure incurred in the attainment of them. We felt that we had achieved a victory, and that it was something for ourselves to know - a solitary satisfaction - that we were the first white men who had ever stood upon the spot we then occupied. Others might come after us, but to be the first where a hundred had failed was no braggart boast.
"...our elevation was so great that the valley beneath us, filled as it was with knobs and canyons and foot-hills, had the appearance of a vast and level plain, stretching away to, and imperceptibly blending with the distant mountains."

William Owen, Mountaineer, 1891:
William "Billy" Owen was part of the first party to indisputably climb the Grand Teton in 1898. This account is from an unsuccessful attempt in 1891. Owen describes the view from their camp at 9,200 feet:

"Looking eastward through a mile of superlatively clear atmosphere, we beheld the Grand Teton, unveiled from foot to crown - a giant monolith rising a clear 5,000 feet from the glacier valley at its base, and terminating in a point as shape as the steeple of a church. Words cannot convey the impression one gets while viewing that awful spire from this point. Its size and appalling height are simply overwhelming. In an experience of fifteen years of mountaineering I have seen absolutely nothing comparable with it. Five thousand feet of naked, cold granite, with not a spear of vegetation nor vestige of soil on the whole mountain. Sky, snow, and granite the only elements in this wild picture!"
BACK TO "In the Shadow of the Tetons"