The Grand Teton is a pretty big mountain. The second tallest in Wyoming and the tallest in the Teton Range at 13,775'. Jackson Hole Mountain Guides, who will be leading the climb, describes the first day this way, "The hike, while very scenic, does gain 4200 feet of elevation gain and requires a certain level of fitness and will." What a pleasant way to say, "You better get your butt into the gym". Or at least that's how I read it.
So I've been doing a variety of training - CrossFit Bootcamp (shout out to Coach Jess!), some classes at the gym, a few classes at Triangle Rock Club, a bit of rock climbing, and once in a while a short run. Despite years of stubborn persistence I've never quite been able to call myself a runner. I'm a swimmer, a snowboarder, a backpacker.... but running always feels just a bit too painful to be fun.
But whatever workout I do there is always at least one set of squats involved. My favorite is the sumo squat, just because it's called the sumo squat. As I sweat through yet another set of squats, hearing the coach and instructors say "get lower!" I think about climbing the Grand Teton. I imagine carrying a 35 pound pack up 4000 feet. And so I do more squats. Because come July I want to be standing on the summit of the Grand Teton - probably thinking to myself "thank goodness I did all those squats".