The Naming Of Disappointment Peak Is One Goofy Wyoming Tale You Won't Find In The History Books
For more than a century, mountaineers have flocked to the Grand Tetons for world-class climbing, hiking, scrambling, and exploration. These majestic mountains include Mount Owen, the Grand Teton, Teewinot, Mount Moran, Nez Perce — and Disappointment Peak.
The Cathedral Group is one section of the Tetons known for rugged peaks. It's most famous for being the home to the Grand Teton itself.
Back in the early 1920s, climbers had their sights set on The Grand.
The mountain had just been conquered in 1898, and notable climbers were still chasing first ascents and new routes of the landmark peak.
In 1925, a group of climbers led by mountaineer Phil Smith decided to try a new route up the Grand, following a trail that took them past Surprise and Amphitheater Lakes.
The face of the Grand visible from this popular spot had never been ascended, and the team was excited to make their mark on history.
Today, you can follow their route high above the lakes on a fairly easy trail.
The view from the lake ledges is sure to take your breath away.
Most of the route is hike-able, but there are a few tough scrambles as you get higher and farther from the lakes.
You'll have to be comfortable with exposure, and it's recommended to have approach shoes. If it's your first time, go with a guide, because route finding can be tricky.
As you climb higher up, you'll start to realize exactly what Smith's team realized — that the views are unparalleled, and that this mountain does not take you to the Grand Teton.
The first summit you complete will be the last — on the other side of the mountain is a 450-foot dropoff.
As the climbers realized their effort would not lead them to the summit of the Grand, they rappelled down and named this mountain Disappointment Peak.
When they realized they were the first to make it to the top, they did feel a little better. Despite the name, many Teton climbers find Disappointment Peak to be one of the best hikes and scrambles in Wyoming.
If you want to climb it yourself, you can hire a guide or try your route-finding skills.
The night before your hike, stay at the Grand Teton Climber's Ranch. Here, you'll be able to gather some advice for the trek and get an early start.
As for Phil Smith, he went on to climb dozens of other Teton peaks, and he did make his mark on history. Smith was the very first ranger of Grand Teton National Park when it opened in 1929.
If you’re interested in trying to climb Disappointment Peak yourself, check out a guided hike from
Jackson Hole Mountain Guides or Exum Mountain Guides.
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Disappointment Peak, Wyoming 83414, USA