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Justin B. Jensen,
Greta Jensen, 7, rappels off the 40 meter Owen-Spalding rappel on the Grand Tetons, July 21 and 22, 2012. Their summit attempt was cut about 200 feet short due to a fast approaching storm forcing our hasty retreat off the summit block.
It’s like I could see the whole world up there. —Greta Jensen

GRAND TETON, Wyo. — Greta Jensen is no ordinary 7-year-old. She loves to climb, hike and rappel, and she used all of those skills, plus determination, to get to within 200 feet of the Grand Teton Summit last weekend.

“It was amazing and really beautiful,” the East Millcreek girl said. “It’s like I could see the whole world up there.”

It took 15 hours for her to hike to the summit of Grand Teton on Saturday with her father and four other adults. Grand Teton National Park is located in northwestern Wyoming just south of Yellowstone National Park and just north of the town of Jackson. The Grand Teton rises to 13,770 feet above sea level.  

One of the things she likes to do is free hang.

“It's where you don't have your feet walking down; you just lower yourself down by yourself," she explained.

Greta did just that during her hike: lowered herself down more than a 100 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." She didn’t spend much time crawling  She was on her feet running, climbing, jumping.”

The twins are active to say the least. Instead of eating turkey one Thanksgiving Day, Greta, at age 4, hiked Angel's Landing at Zion National Park. They’ve been on most of the peaks along the Wasatch Front and most of the peaks in Zion, he said.

"Being twins, I carried one on the front and one on the back their first year," Justin Jensen recalled. "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.

“It was pouring on us,” and it was a little scary, she said. “The clouds came in a really big hurry and the thunder and the lightning,” he said. They would have made it to the summit if the storm hadn't come, he said.

Greta’s disappointed she couldn’t keep going because of the storm. Still, for a 7-year-old, the climb was impressive. She 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.