Located on the Grand Teton's striking Petzoldt Ridge, the Direct Pezoldt is a classic route with memorable pitches and huge exposure. It was first climbed on August 30, 1953 by Willi Unsoeld, LaRee Munns, James and Rodney Shirley, and Austin Flint.
The Direct Petzoldt is great for those looking for an alternative to the Lower Exum. It is a 5.7 variation of the standard Petzoldt Ridge route which is rated 5.6(There is also a 5.9 variation). The Direct Petzoldt starts at the base of the Petzoldt Ridge while the standard Petzoldt Ridge route starts a good ways up the Stettner Couloir.
The crux of the climb is on the first pitch, but the later pitches have the most exposure. These include the famous "Window" and "Knife Edge" pitches. From the summit of the Petzoldt Ridge, a 50 foot rappel down to a ledge will allow you to traverse to the Upper Exum Ridge and summit, or summit via the Ford/Stettner Couloir. Summiting via the Upper Exum Ridge is classic, and is the way that most people choose to summit after climbing the Petzoldt ridge.
Getting ThereFollow the trail from Lupine Meadows parking lot up to Garnet Canyon. Continue up to the Lower Saddle, and begin heading partway up the trail towards the Upper Saddle until you reach the "black dike"; a dark colored band of rock. Follow the "black dike" towards the base of the Petzoldt Ridge which is located to the right of the Exum Ridge. The Direct Petzoldt route starts directly at the base of the ridge and the Stettner Couloir(which is located on the right side of the Petzoldt Ridge). Watch out for rockfall coming down the Stettner Couloir!
From here the exposure gets a little more intense, with the route leading out to the left to a roof which takes you around and up a terrifyingly exposed corner. There are several moves which require you to step out and onto a gigantic cliff. Luckily there are good juggy holds to cling to in these sections.
The terrain then gets less steep and angles to the right. The "Window" (a large hole in the rock) can be seen here, and it is a good idea to belay just beneath it. Climb through the window to a section of ledges which then lead to a short but difficult crack to regain the crest of the ridge. The next section stays slightly to the right of the sheer crest, leading eventually to the famous "knife edge". The exposure here is pretty intense on lead. Luckily there are several good places for cams here(although these may not be immidiatly noticeable).
A final pitch of moderate climbing leads to the top of the ridge. A 50 foot rappel must be made to reach a ledge which leads to some 4th class scrambling, meeting up with the Upper Exum near the "Wind Tunnel" pitch. The rappel station is just below the summit of the ridge. Do not rappel directly to the north, as there is a large drop!