Though only 40 miles long, Wyoming’s Teton Range cuts an impressive profile. The craggy mountains derive their name from les trois tétons (the three breasts), a phrase used by 19th-century French Canadian trappers to describe a trio of closely aligned peaks: Middle Teton, South Teton, and the Grand Teton, the tallest in the range. Today, Grand Teton National Park comprises much of the tract, including a dozen summits over 12,000 feet.
The Tetons lie along an active fault line that continues to drive the range up and force the valley down.
A 150-foot-wide blaze of volcanic rock known as a black dike runs up the eastern face of 12,605-foot Mount Moran.
Mount Owen’s 12,928-foot summit is named for William O. Owen, who in 1898 organized the first documented ascent of the Grand Teton’s 13,770-foot mass.
FOR THE BIRDS
North America’s largest and smallest birds—the trumpeter swan and the calliope hummingbird—both inhabit the Teton Range.
UPS AND DOWNS
On August 26, 2000, speed climber Rolando Garibotti scaled 10 Teton peaks, including Cloudveil Dome and Nez Perce, in a record 6 hours, 49 minutes.
The Tetons have appeared in Shane, Any Which Way You Can, Rocky IV, and numerous other motion pictures.
Photography by Ron Niebrugge
This article was first published in January 2008. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.