Hans Johnstone and Stephen Koch have climbed a 1,000-foot new mixed route on the Grand Teton’s lower North Face. Squeeze Box (IV M7 A0) takes a line splitting a steep granite buttress between Shea’s Chute and the Alex Lowe Memorial Route.
Koch had attempted the climb with Brian Harder on January 28, climbing about half the route. On February 6, after a five-hour approach, Koch and Johnstone linked a series of slabs and chimneys, with one pitch of good gully ice breaking up the technical mixed climbing on lightly featured granite. The second-to-last pitch required a tension traverse across a slab to reach a series of seams. Koch then led the last pitch by headlamp, ending the climb on easy snow by the upper Hossack-MacGowan Couloir. The two rapped their route in the dark, then skied down the lower Teton Glacier and thrashed through the woods toward the car, making numerous face plants, one of which was rewarded with the discovery of a line of wolf tracks in the snow.
“There is so much to do up there now that my eyes are opening further and further,” Koch said. “Pretty limitless, really, with modern mixed abilities and attitudes.”