Updated: Sep 14
SheJumps New Hampshire Regional Coordinator, Jaimee Rondeau, takes us through her experience of going on the 2021 Fundraising Climb on Dae Wunt (the Grand Teton) in Jackson, Wyoming. The climb took place August 24-27, 2021.
The trip started with ice breakers at camp after a day of practicing technical climbing. Everyone made introductions, compared gear notes and shared funny stories. The next day we’d begin the trek to High Camp and you could feel the excitement and anticipation. Eventually, hopefully, we’d all be able to reach the summit of the 13,770-foot tall Grand Teton. But the climb ended up being about so much more than that.
That night, we discovered that our team collectively raised nearly $30,000 to support SheJumps Wild Skills programming which provides accessible youth outdoor education across the country. To every single person who donated on our behalf, thank you.
The hike out to High Camp was beautiful - we walked through Garnet Canyon, full of flowing wildflowers, up to the expansive Boulder Field, which then opened up into The Meadows. The lush area took my breath away with its deep green moss and rushing waterfalls. Every so often, we would all pause to take in the sweeping view as we made our way up the moraine, which is the debris of rock and dirt left behind from a moving glacier.
There were high fives all around after we made it to the comfortable camp set up by Jackson Hole Mountain Guides, where we’d spend night one at 11,000’ to acclimate. After getting fitted for helmets and harnesses, enjoying a warm meal and a Leave No Trace discussion, we repacked our daypacks with what we’d need to summit. Layers and easy snacks were the name of the game, along with a positive mental attitude.
Summit day began quietly.
During an alpine start in the early morning hours, it’s just you and your climbing partners. Your breath. I let the inhale come naturally, then focused on the exhale. The rhythm of the mountain was reflected in each movement I made. After we followed the Upper Exum through Wall Street and the Golden Staircase to the ridge, the exposure started to become real. Once we headed to Friction Pitch, we were in it. Every single one of us was roped up and committed.
I was so completely in the moment during the climb that when I reached the summit it took a minute for the accomplishment to actually sink in. Tears rolled down my cheeks from pure happiness and gratitude for the ability to reach the peak with truly inspiring ladies.
There are no words to completely describe the feeling. To be able to climb the Grand Teton as a way to raise funds and awareness for SheJumps so more women can participate in an activity like this had me feeling pretty emotional. I thought of my own two young girls and what they will be able to accomplish one day.
Back at High Camp, in fine SheJumps style, we celebrated with cake, homemade cookies, and climber awards for each participant (not to be disclosed!). I want to shout out our amazing guides who literally had us in complete awe with their knowledge, expertise, patience, and tenacity – Lisa, Izzy, Guda, and Peggy. Photography credit goes to Micheli Oliver, a photographer, geographer, and descendent of the Niitsítapi (Blackfeet) people.
SheJumps New Hampshire Regional Coordinator, Jaimee Rondeau
The Grand Teton Climb is the fourth of four SheJumps fundraising events through mountaineering skills clinic. SheJumps Fundraising Climb Series contributes to the nonprofit’s Wild Skills program. Our goal as an organization is to grow this program to serve all regions we operate in and provide young girls the community that connects them to other women and the natural environment. The funds raised from these climbs help further this vision. Learn more here.
Want to sign up for a SheJumps fundraising climb in 2022? Sign up for SheJumps email newsletters and check your email in the fall to sign up for the upcoming year's climbs.
SheJumps is an inclusive organization. We welcome all women and girls (transgender and cisgender) as well as non-binary people who identify with the women’s community. SheJumps strives to be an ally in the fight against racism and acknowledges that our events and programs take place on traditional, unceded Indigenous lands.