The Tetons, from the Idaho Side

August 05, 2016

Tetonval840c_13july16 (3)

Photographer: Ray Boren
Summary Author: Ray Boren
August 2016 

Viewer's Choice Thanks to many a vacation postcard, and movies like the classic 1953 Western “Shane,” the spectacular eastern flanks of the Teton Range of Grand Teton National Park, seen from wide and open Jackson Hole, Wyoming, are more familiar to most people than views of the mountains’ west side, from eastern Idaho and its Teton Valley. Nevertheless, the range’s awesome profile holds true from both perspectives: The peaks rise like gigantic granite teeth, gnashing the sky.
In this photo, taken from the west, outside of Ashton, Idaho, on July 13, 2016, the dramatic central Teton peaks — Grand Teton in the center; Mount Owen to its left and north; Middle Teton and South Teton to the right and south — are underlined by orderly agricultural fields. The nearby valley of the Teton River, once called Pierre’s Hole, for Hudson’s Bay Company trader Pierre Tivanitagon (also often Tevanitagon), is today a tourist haven, not unlike Jackson Hole, east of the range. “Hole” is trapper terminology for a welcoming, sheltered valley, and Pierre’s Hole hosted the annual Rocky Mountain fur rendezvous in 1829 and 1832. Today the Teton Valley and its neighboring uplands are also a fertile wonder, with rangelands and vast rolling fields planted with Idaho’s famous potatoes, wheat, and yellow-topped canola, a rapeseed cultivar.
The principal Teton peaks — topping out at 13,770 ft (4,197 m) in elevation — are oriented north-south, just east of Wyoming and Idaho’s shared border. As a roadside marker notes near the town of Driggs, Idaho, at its heart the Teton Range is composed of granite more than two-and-a-half billion years old. As part of the ongoing collision of the Pacific and North American tectonic plates, a peak-forming block lifted upward here 9 million to 10 million years ago — quite young, as Rocky Mountain ranges go. And it's still rising. The granite core, 40 mi (64 km) long, broke along a fault line, and the ancient rock tipped to form a ridge. More recently — over the past quarter-million years or so — Ice Age glaciers, erosion and time have sliced and sculpted the spectacularly toothy peaks.
French-speaking early 19th-century trappers, however, saw “les trois tetons” — the three breasts — and voilà! The Tetons.

Photo Details: Camera Model: NIKON D3200; Lens: Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 DG OS APO HSM; Focal Length: 220mm (35mm equivalent: 330mm); Aperture: ƒ/11.0; Exposure Time: 0.0020 s (1/500); ISO equiv: 280.