In 1811, Wilson Hunt referred to these peaks as the "Pilot Knobs."
French trappers originally named three peaks in Idaho the "Trois
Tetons," but the name soon shifted to the Wyoming range.
In 1915, Stephen Mather, head of the National Park Service, saw the
Tetons for the first time and immediately realized they should be
included in the National Park system. Intense political disputes took
years, and Grand Teton National Park did not achieve its current status
The summit of the Grand Teton is 13,770 feet, more than a mile above the valley floor.
Tetons are recent by geologic standards. They were formed approximately 10 million years ago.
The first ascent of the Grand Teton has been the subject of some
controversy. A party from the Hayden Survey claimed to have climbed the
peak in 1872. The next year, William Owen and three companions climbed
to the summit and claimed there was no sign that the Hayden party had
made it to the top. The ensuing debate has never been resolved.