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Friday, November 22, 2013

AOG Teton Mission Part 3- The Mountain

Who:  Brad, Sean, Mark, Brenton and Coach Rob

What: Adventure Operations Group- 4 Day Teton Operator Course (Summer)

Where: Jackson, WY; Teton National Park and other"off grid" spots

When:  August 7-12, 2013

Why:  Fast and light mountain ops and a big final mission

This course will advance the performance and push the limits of motivated individuals and teams.  You are trained by AOG and Exum Guides in leadership, mountain survival, tactical shooting and alpine climbing.  The training is preparation for a big final mission, an epic test of mountaineering skill and endurance requiring total focus and team commitment. 

“The Teton Operator course reminded me that with training, focus and teamwork any mission is possible.” Brenton Reagan
There are few times in your life when you are in a situation that is the absolute edge of your comfort zone.  Having been through a couple already, I knew before we began the climb up the upper Exum Ridge that I was putting myself into one again.  For all the desire I had to attain the summit via that route, my fear of heights had to be overcome for the sake of the team’s success.  Moving through the wall street section and beyond was one of those pivotal moments that literally made me a stronger person.  I left the Teton Mission more prepared for not only future adventures in the natural world, but better prepared to conquer challenges at work with the same determination and techniques for success...focus, positive mental outlook and absolute confidence in the team.  The AOG week truly reinforced those things everyday, in every event we executed with best in class leaders and other team members who don’t settle for anything less than giving it all.”

The Final Mission: Grand Teton

Day 4:
0100 came too fast.  Coffee did little to knock the fatigue from us after our team had pushed hard for the three previous days.  We were in the car and driving to the Exum office at 0130.  We rallied with Brenton, divided up more gear and headed out for the Lupine Meadows trail head parking lot.  We were on the move at 0230.

Alpine start
There was little talk as we moved out at a quick pace, each one following the head lamp in front of the other.  The trail was wide and easy at the start, but it was hard not to think about the 7000 ft of vertical gain that lay in front of us.
Water refill, eat GU, move out
We continued marching through the darkness.  After too many switchbacks to count, we turned west and entered Garnet Canyon.  The sound of the alpine stream was lout as the trail carried us close to the water before entering a large boulder garden.  We moved quickly through the boulder garden, but heeded Brenton's advice to "not fall in here".   

As dawn approached, Brenton halted our team and pointed for us to look over our shoulders.  We turned and saw the valley stretching out below us, and the Snake River beyond that.  We were just over 10,000ft and our first view in the early light was spectacular.

First light at 10,000 ft

 We continued on and negotiated the fixed ropes section successfully.  Soon we were approaching the Exum Hut.


"Since this was a one day summit, and we had a team of four Brenton kept us on a tight schedule at the Hut.  We ate, repacked kit and put on our gear at the same time.  This felt just like other missions I had been on where small teams  move fast and light following tight schedules on their way to accomplish something awesome, while most people are still sleeping".    Brad

Early morning up high
It was fun to watch Mark, who had only rock climbed the first time 2 days prior, climb through exposed sections and ledges (Wall Street), and witness the exhilaration of a first time climber overcoming an alpine problem. 
Mark the climber

“Fear is the biggest enemy of finding your true capabilities, Faith, and Trust are the biggest enemy of Fear!” Mark

We made it past Wall Street, and up the Golden Staircase.  We climbed as a group, short roping and using body and terrain belays where we could, and moving together like a team of seasoned operators that had been working together for years.  Moving as a roped up team of four, everyone on the team was an active member of making the summit.  Brenton would lead a pitch, establish the anchor site and start off on the next pitch once Sean and arrived and assume belay for me.  We moved like this over most of the upper Exum Ridge. 

The Exum Ridge route is one of North America's classic mountaineering routes
Nearing the end of the final pitch, Brenton motioned for me to move to the side, and we made a gap for Mark and Sean to pass between us.  Mark was the first of our group to step onto the summit, with Sean following close behind.  Our summit was spectacular, and our team was relieved to be there, having pushed hard all morning.    
Summit of the Grand Teton

Brad & Sean


Short break on the way down


Back at the Exum Hut

After a quick lunch, we left the saddle and began the hike down back through Garnet Canyon.  The summit was awesome, but we still had to get out as a team.  The "Exfil" is always one of the most important phases of any operation.  We moved fast, but focused on not falling or getting injured.  

A short break during the hike out (Middle Teton in background)


The one day summit of the Grand Teton was a great mission, and an awesome end to the week.  Our group had come to Jackson to train hard, move fast and do something big.  We spent three days refining skills and achieving high levels of competence in critical topics that you need to know if you are operating in a mountain environment.  How to move fast and light, and not get hurt in Alpine terrain.  How to pick safe, efficient routes.  How to pack.  Getting water in the field.  How to train like an elite athlete and prepare your body and mind for big missions.  How to focus like a SOF operator.  How to push through obstacles and open your mind to new environments.  How to plan and execute a big mission, as a team.  Climbing the Grand Teton is an epic experience, to do it as a group and watch the transformation of individuals into a cohesive Mountain Ops team was awesome.
A big thanks to Brenton and the Exum team, Coach Rob and Mountain Athlete and the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort!
Contact ADVENTURE OPERATIONS GROUP at brad@adventureoperationsgroup.com to learn more and to reserve a spot on a 2014 AOG Teton Mission.

Jackson, WY (Info)
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort 6311 Ft Elevation.  Base Camp for the 2013 AOG Teton Mission.  Located 12 miles NW of Jackson, WY.  In the winter the resort boasts some of the most advanced in bounds and back country skiing in the world.  In the summer, the resort serves as a perfect launching point for multi-sport adventures including: hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, alpine mountaineering, paragliding, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, wilderness and backcountry travel and family adventures.

Grand Teton National Park Home to the spectacular and awe inspiring Teton Range.  The Grand Teton, the highest peak in the range, rises to 13,770 feet.  The Tetons are home to some of the most challenging and technical alpine climbing in North America and attract thousands of climbers and back country adventurers each year.

Exum Mountain Guides  North America's oldest and most prestigious school of mountaineering.  Exum has been guiding clients on the Grand Teton for over 80 years.  Exum's elite guides offer unmatched instruction, inspire initiative and responsibility and lead their clients through one of a kind mountaineering and climbing adventures as active participants.

Adventure Operations Group A veteran owned company dedicated to the pursuits of modern adventurers and the human performance lifestyle. AOG offers guided adventures, team missions, coaching, leadership training and instructional programs.  Through preparation, elite training and "SOF Focus", AOG leads individuals through transformative missions designed to push the outer limits of personal performance, mindset, teamwork, gear and adventure travel.  AOG shares epic experiences along with our clients as we continue to go BEYOND NORMAL LIMITS.  Get more out of your self, your team and your next adventure with AOG.


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