Welcome to SP!  -
Areas & RangesMountains & RocksRoutesImagesArticlesTrip ReportsGearOtherPeoplePlans & PartnersWhat's NewForum

gros ventre vs. grand teton

Regional discussion and conditions reports for the Northern Rockies. Please post partners requests and trip plans in the Northern Rockies Climbing Partners section.
 

Postby Bob Sihler » Fri Mar 26, 2010 1:21 am

As far as classic alpine scenery goes, the Tetons have the edge on the Gros Ventres. Since you're looking for 4-5 nights, I'd recommend the Teton Crest Trail (you'll need a shuttle). It will take you along Death Canyon Shelf, near Static Peak Divide, into Alaska Basin, to Hurricane Pass, and then into Cascade Canyon South Fork, where you shouldn't miss the spur to Avalanche Divide. Later, you can choose to head out via Cascade Canyon (shorter and easier) or take North Fork Cascade over Paintbrush Divide and down Paintbrush Canyon (longer and harder but absolutely spectacular).

Alaska Basin and parts of the Cascade Canyon area can be quite crowded, but by backpacking you can see the best things early and late in the day when there's little traffic. And the scenery is so good that the crowds are (somewhat) bearable.

A problem, though: you need permits to camp in the park, and they started accepting reservations back on January 1. You are now unlikely to get anything in the choice camping zones along this route by reserving them, leaving you to hope to get something in person the day before you start out.

Now, I personally like the Gros Ventres better because they are wilder, plenty rugged, and lightly used. And they are still jaw-droppingly beautiful, just not the same way the Tetons are. You need no permits, and there are lots of possibilities for long backcountry routes. If you want solitude and adventure, they'll do it for you. Some loops from Granite Creek near Hoback Junction: Granite Highline back around to Granite Hot Springs, Swift Creek and Shoal Falls back over Deer Ridge.
User Avatar
Bob Sihler
Forum Moderator
 
Posts: 7657
Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 3:20 pm
Location: Herndon, Virginia
Thanked: 2050 times in 1153 posts

Postby Bob Sihler » Fri Mar 26, 2010 2:22 am

Tman-- the Gros Ventres are for you, then. Or better yet, the Absarokas, which I will go to my grave saying are the greatest wilderness mountains in the Lower 48.

I'm watching a movie right now, but check back tomorrow; I will go into more detail on the Gros Ventres. But a quick answer now-- yes, no permits or fees at all; few if any bridged stream crossings except at trailheads, and even then only a couple; definitely plan on 30's for nighttime temps.
User Avatar
Bob Sihler
Forum Moderator
 
Posts: 7657
Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 3:20 pm
Location: Herndon, Virginia
Thanked: 2050 times in 1153 posts

Postby Bob Sihler » Fri Mar 26, 2010 2:55 pm

Bob Sihler wrote:Tman-- the Gros Ventres are for you, then. Or better yet, the Absarokas, which I will go to my grave saying are the greatest wilderness mountains in the Lower 48.

I'm watching a movie right now, but check back tomorrow; I will go into more detail on the Gros Ventres. But a quick answer now-- yes, no permits or fees at all; few if any bridged stream crossings except at trailheads, and even then only a couple; definitely plan on 30's for nighttime temps.


I don't have my maps handy to refer to specific names and elevations, but there are two loops out of Granite Creek that I would recommend.

The first would ascend the Granite Highline Trail and then turn east and south to loop back to Granite Hot Springs, about 2 miles from the trailhead. This route can be 20+ miles and takes you through a lot of high-elevation meadows and alpine areas. I believe it also passes Turquoise Lake, ehich is supposed to be quite beautiful. A drawback is that the trails out there sometimes are poorly marked or hard to see, so you need good maps and navigational skills for certain.

The other is Swift Creek/Shoal Falls. I have not done the whole loop, but I have a good bit of experience from day outings both directions. This loop is also 20+ miles. The trail up Swift Creek to the pass at its head is brutal, so it's probably better to go counterclockwise. In all, you're going to look at more than 5000' of elevation gain just hiking. It's 7 miles over Deer Ridge and down to Shoal Falls, which requires off-trail travel to reach. Then you climb to Shoal Lake and higher into the peaks. You ultimately loop west and south to reach the pass at the head of Swift Creek. This pass would be a great place to spend a day or two and hike up nearby peaks such as Antoinette and Corner. They are both Class 2 from the pass. Black Peak is also within striking distance, and it, too, is Class 2 by the standard route from the pass. This loop also begins and ends at the same trailhead; no shuttle or road walk required. I highly recommend this one.

I'll again emphasize that the deeper you go in, the less maintenance there is on trails. Sometimes they are swallowed by waist-deep wildflowers. If you want adventure and wandering, this is the place.

On these pages, you can get some trail and trailhead information for the second loop and also get a look at the land:

http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock/535438/Corner-Peak.html

http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock/534330/deer-ridge.html

http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock/465474/antoinette-peak.html
User Avatar
Bob Sihler
Forum Moderator
 
Posts: 7657
Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 3:20 pm
Location: Herndon, Virginia
Thanked: 2050 times in 1153 posts

Postby welle » Fri Mar 26, 2010 9:28 pm

tman,

if you've never been to Tetons, I'd say it's a must. End of July is the best time to go as it's when the alpine flowers bloom. And who cares about the crowds. I did the Teton Crest from Teton Village to Paintbrush in the beginning of August (height of the season), did not encounter crowds till we hit the Cascade Canyon. If you can, spend a couple of days in Alaska Basin - and do a couple of side trips. The place is magnificent. I had no problems getting permits last minute in person, just be flexible - you don't need permits for Alaska Basin, so you can build an itinerary around that. The only sites were not available were the lakeside sites (Phelps lake - nice intermediate point if you want to do a loop), but all the backcountry sites along the Crest were available. If you were to do a loop hike, just go to the popular car camping Jenny Lake Campground and get into one of their hiker/biker sites. From there it's a long day in the valley back to Teton Village. To maximize your chance to get permits, just go to the ranger station early am 2-3 days before your anticipated hike, get permits and spend couple of days driving around and exploring GV, Yellowstone etc. I'd say driving around Yellowstone is a must to fully appreciate GTNP - even Jenny Lake crowds would pale in comparison with Yellowstone's plus Tetons crowd is more outdoorsy...
User Avatar
welle

 
Posts: 600
Joined: Wed May 14, 2008 9:08 pm
Location: NY, New York, United States
Thanked: 21 times in 17 posts

Postby jfrishmanIII » Fri Mar 26, 2010 9:43 pm

Bob has said most of it, but I'll agree that the Gros Ventres are stunning. Personally, I like their scenery better than the Tetons. The Swift-Shoal loop is killer, I saw no one else in six days, amazing wildflowers. Bears are in there, but I don't believe they're as big a concern as in the Absarokas. All we did was standard bear bagging.
User Avatar
jfrishmanIII

 
Posts: 231
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2006 9:02 pm
Location: Deep Springs, California, United States
Thanked: 24 times in 18 posts

Postby Scott » Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:57 pm

My opinion: The Tetons are more crowded, but also more scenic as well.

I would also consider the Wind Rivers. The scenery there is as good as the Tetons, but other than places like Titcomb Basin, Cirque of the Towers, etc., it's still easy to find areas without crowds.

In the Tetons he Owl Creek /Webb Canyon Loop is seldom used and offers solitude. The best way to get to the trailhead is by canoe.
User Avatar
Scott

 
Posts: 7596
Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2003 1:03 pm
Location: Craig, Colorado, United States
Thanked: 705 times in 373 posts

Postby MattGreene » Sat Mar 27, 2010 1:57 am

I agree with Scott. Consider the Wind Rivers. I put them above the Tetons in all respects (except that mosquitoes could be a problem in late July. A SERIOUS problem.) Still, step off one of the main trails, and you're likely to not encounter a soul for a week.
MattGreene

 
Posts: 85
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 10:33 pm
Location: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, United States
Thanked: 6 times in 5 posts

Postby Bob Sihler » Sat Mar 27, 2010 7:07 pm

tman wrote:Thanks Bob,
I'll take a look at these with my hiking buddy and it should give us a good indication of the area. on any of these you recommend have you run into other hikers much? I don't mind the occasional meeting with others but just didn't want the masses as one may get in YStone or Glaciers logan pass.

I'm sure there are Grizzs in the area. how widespread. I pack bear spray. not too concerned with blacks. is the GV a national forest? guess you can pitch a tent where ever?
any other piece of advice you can give me is welcome. What part of the country are you in?
see any rangers. I'm not a rock climber please explain class 2? I've done scree fields, loose shale and hand over foot climbing but I'm not educated on the classifications of such.
TMan


I have run into very few other hikers on the routes described. Most of them were out for short day hikes. If you want big, open country, it's out there. I agree with jfrishman in preferring the Gros Ventre scenery to the Tetons even though the Tetons are more postcard-beautiful. The Gros Ventres have a really wild feel that only the nearby Absarokas can beat, though it is true that the Winds away from the two really popular areas are very wild, too.

The Gros Ventres are in Bridger National Forest, much of the range in a designated wilderness. You can pretty much camp anywhere with the usual restrictions-- like not camping right next to a lake.

Class 2 is off-trail hiking, which you clearly have done. Talus, minor bushwhacking, meadows-- that's typical Class 2 stuff. Class 3 is scrambling, which it also sounds as though you have done, so you should be okay on any peak I mentioned.

You're highly unlikely to see any rangers.

It is grizzly country, but the bears aren't as thick as they are in some other parts of the region. Still, a good idea to have the pepper spray. But don't underestimate the black bears; it's my experience that they are more curious and more likely to approach people than the grizzlies are. It's a grizzly I worry about startling, a black bear I worry about raiding my campsite.

Anyway, everything you've said tells me you'll be happier with the Gros Ventres than the Tetons. I hope to get back to the Gros Ventres next year, so take care of those mountains for me!
User Avatar
Bob Sihler
Forum Moderator
 
Posts: 7657
Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 3:20 pm
Location: Herndon, Virginia
Thanked: 2050 times in 1153 posts

Postby jfrishmanIII » Mon Mar 29, 2010 7:00 pm

Bob mentioned bushwacking and Talus and that trails may not be easily seen in the GV. being a first timer in the area we would probably need a solid trail system. I don't mind waste deep wildflowers but with no guide or local experience we don't want to lose the trail and have to backtrack.


I think the bushwhacking and talus were in reference to peak bagging in the GV, not to the trails. On the Swift-Shoal loop, I didn't find routefinding to be an issue at all. The trails were fainter up high, but still plenty followable. I'd say it's hard to get lost in that country if you have any kind of map reading skills.

Whats the best way to get a topo for the GV?


Don't know anything about GPS. We got paper maps off the shelf in Jackson. If you have a little software, you could find and print your own at http://libremap.org/.

are there designated campsites on the loop trails you have mentioned and if so are they marked. I'd like to put coordinates in beforehand. is there any signage at all in GV?


Not really. There are lots of camping options, though. It's a nice place to wing it.

An aid to imagination: http://www.summitpost.org/image/283154/171957/unnamed-peak.html I might have to put in an appearance there myself this summer!
User Avatar
jfrishmanIII

 
Posts: 231
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2006 9:02 pm
Location: Deep Springs, California, United States
Thanked: 24 times in 18 posts

Postby Doublecabin » Tue Mar 30, 2010 2:13 am

The Gros Ventres were my first mountains, and I treasure them every bit as much as the Tetons and the SW Absaroka I'm fortunate to live in most of my year again these last several years. If I had my photo CDs here I'd post a few of Swift Creek, Turqoise Lake, the great Gros Ventre. Great reccfomendations for there already, I'll add Jagg Creek, 6 Lakes, Blacks Peak. There are great photos of the Range on here now I think? Since they I don't have those CDs down here we'll give you a quick gaze into the Southwest Absaroka and contiguous America's [US] remotest mountains, Younts and Thorofare. I think this was July 'o8 but might have been this past summer? I look at the Winds every many sunny day on the Ranch and love going into Ross Lakes, Bomber Basin, etc. The core of the Range from Elkhart or Big Sandy is best done as a minimum one week trip. You can go on farther than that in the Absaroka, but the fun starts right off the bat like the dayhike in this pic.

Image[/img]
User Avatar
Doublecabin

 
Posts: 229
Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2005 4:30 pm
Location: High Country, Wyoming, United States
Thanked: 12 times in 12 posts

Postby Scott » Tue Mar 30, 2010 2:48 am

I am going a few days early so could possibly get permits in Tetons.


Just in case you can't get permits, it isn't that big of a deal. The trail actually leaves the park boundary in a few places such as just west of Pass Lake and all of Alaska Basin. We've camped several times in both places, though the area around Pass Lake can hold snow quite late in the year. If you are going all the way to Paintbrush Canyon from the top of the Tram though, camping in the park is better than doing the long haul from Sundance Lake (in Alaska Basin) to and over the Paintbrush Divide in a day. If you are going out Cascade Canyon though, there really is no reason to camp in the park (unless you wish to anyway) since the area just west of Pass Lake and the Alaska Basin areas are convenient stopping places.
User Avatar
Scott

 
Posts: 7596
Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2003 1:03 pm
Location: Craig, Colorado, United States
Thanked: 705 times in 373 posts

Next

Return to Northern Rockies (ID, MT, WY)

 


  • Related topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

© 2006-2013 SummitPost.org. All Rights Reserved.