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7-year-old climber above the clouds on Grand Teton

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GRAND TETON, Wyo. — It takes skill to climb mountains, and it's something a lot of adults are neither prepared nor trained to do, let alone children. But a 7- year-old girl from Salt Lake made it to within 200 feet of the Grand Teton Summit over the weekend.

Greta Jensen loves to climb, hike and rappel, and she used all of those skills, plus determination, to get as far as she did. She said the "free hangs were really fun."

It's where you don't have your feet walking down; you just lower yourself down by yourself," she said about the hangs.

And on a 15 hour hike to the summit of Grand Teton on Saturday with her father and four other adults, Greta Jensen did just that: lowered herself down more than a hundred feet through Owen Spalding and Sargent's Chimney.

Justin Jensen, Greta's father, said Greta and her twin sister, Leah, went from crawling to running, essentially.

"Greta's an amazing athlete," he said. "She always has been, from the time she was just crawling."

The twins are active, to say the least.Instead of eating turkey one Thanksgiving Day, Greta, at age four, hiked Angel's Landing at Zion National Park.

"Being twins, I carried one on the front and one on the back their first year," Justin Jensen said. "And they went to a lot of the local peaks with me to be outside and exposed to the elements."

Unfortunately, it was the elements that forced Greta, her dad and the rest of her team back down the mountain just 200 feet shy of the summit. Otherwise, Jensen says they would have made it.

Still, for a 7 year old, the climb was impressive. Greta even carried her own gear and ropes.

"It's a remarkable accomplishment and she did it all by herself," her father said. "We didn't pull her, drag her or kick her, nothing. She was just up and ready to go."

And when asked what her favorite part was, besides being above the clouds, Greta answered much like any 7-year-old would.

"Feed a chipmunk," she said, and that's exactly what she got to do.

Her father had a different answer.

"It was the resounding thought that there was nothing better than being up on that mountain with my daughter," he said. "It was just wonderful."

And he will probably get that feeling again: the two plan on going back and climbing Grand Teton in mid-August. They were just so close to the summit — they really want to make it to the top.


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Lori Prichard


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