The Wyoming Man Who Invented Modern Mountain Climbing
In the early years of mountain climbing, most people actually did it with simple ropes around their waist, while wearing nice clothing.
Women climbed in dresses.
It was seen as an exciting novelty for vacationers.
But that all changed when one Wyoming man took the Grand Tetons, alone.
We went to Europe to see how they climbed and came back UNIMPRESED.
So he began teaching climbing techniques that are used to this day, at Wyoming's Grand Tetons, and around the world.
Glenn Exum (June 24, 1911 – March 17, 2000). Jackson, Wyoming.
The story is told in this newly released video by Wyoming Public Media.
Back in 1931, while only in his teens, Exum was the first to climb the exposed ridge to the summit of Grand Teton which now bears his name.
To this day the Exum Ridge remains one of the most popular routes to the summit of Grand Teton.
Glenn witnessed climbing in Europe where guides there essentially pulled their clients up mountains.
He observed European guides tying ropes around their clients and pulling them up difficult sections of a climb.
Nobody was given climbing instructions or taught how to handle a rope or other equipment.
On the descent, the guides lowered their clients instead of having them rappel on their own.
Glenn and his friend Paul Petzoldt, founded a climbing school to teach the climbing skills they had invented themselves in the Tetons.
They wanted people to learn to climb, not just get pulled up.
The school they founded, now known as Exum Mountain Guides, still operates today within Grand Teton National Park.