A Postcard From the Grand Teton

When I travel internationally, I like to send postcards. I have quite a long list of contacts now, many in the USA, some abroad. Every person on my list means something to me; the postcards serve as a way to let them know that no matter where I was, what I was doing, they were on my mind.

Each message is unique. If we have a good relationship, you will probably get some weird rant on the back. It’s amazing what you can say with a few sentences. Some people, I’ve had to stop sending postcards.

This summer I took a trip to climb the Grand Teton with my mentee Jose. Jose’s my same age. It feels weird to say ‘mentee’. Hermano, we usually call each other. I taught Jose to climb, this year, starting in January. Many people told him he was crazy to attempt the Grand Teton so quickly.

I know Jose from my fraternity. Not directly — there were a few degrees of separation. I went to school in Colorado; he, in California. But still, this unexpected thing brought us together. Jose is on my postcard list.

I didn’t mail a single postcard from the Tetons. Besides Jose, there was only other one person who I thought would appreciate a message from the summit. A foreign climber, with a love for pretty peaks. But they’ll see this.

The Grand is a gorgeous mountain. Jagged. Hugely aesthetic. It’s so steep, it seems you could throw a paper airplane down to the people in Jackson.

A bit intimidating, onsight.

Jose admits, now, that the people who told him he was crazy for attempting such a large goal so early in his climbing career were 100% right. Estuvo loco. But we did it. We stood on top.

I carried this heavy-ass camera all the way up, too. Loaded with analog film — responsible for all of these pictures you see here. Heavy. Bulky. Un-necessary. But every picture is absolute gold. The emotion is rich in a way Instagram does not understand. Will never understand.

So my friend–whoever you are–I hope this message finds you in good health.

Keep sending postcards.

I’d love some in return 🙂

Shoot on film, even though it’s heavy and expensive and you won’t get it developed until three months later.

Let’s not lose our emotion.

Love from the mountains,

Dan

3 thoughts on “A Postcard From the Grand Teton

  1. Loved this piece. I was a very amateur climber in the 1970s. However, my sister was a professional, talented climber of the day on El Capitan in Yosemite. I now live in the Dolomite Alps where there are many challenging climbs. Tanti saluti dall’Italia.

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