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Ideal Months for Various Grand Teton Routes & Others

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Ideal Months for Various Grand Teton Routes & Others

Postby PellucidWombat » Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:02 pm

I'm thinking of doing an extended trip to the Grand this year to climb multiple routes on the peak. There are a number that I really want to do, and since I have to come from so far away, this makes the most sense to me. However, I know that some routes are more likely to be better to climb during different months depending on weather volatility, rockfall, snowcover, ice, etc.

Could the locals or those very familiar with the Grand suggest the likely best months to do the following routes in light of how this year seems to be shaping up?:

1. Direct Exum (I've done the Upper Exum)
2. Underhill Ridge
3. East Ridge
4. North Face
5. North Ridge

I'm especially interested in the North Routes since they are less traveled and seem to be more likely to have issues of rockfall, ice/snow cover, & watching/escaping the weather if afternoon thunderstorms brew up.

Also, in the Winds:
6. Wolfs Head
7. Pingora

Thanks!

P.S. Currently hoping to spend 2 weeks or so in the area. Climbing Middle Teton & Mt Owen while in the area could also be nice. I have some friends I'm hoping to climb with, but since no one is able to commit right now, at the very least if they can't join me I'd want to put something together with others who are in the area - at least doing a climb or two with various people. PM me if these climbs interest you for this year.
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Re: Ideal Months for Various Grand Teton Routes & Others

Postby ExcitableBoy » Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:48 pm

I have always had good luck in early August with weather and snow/ice conditions. I'm interested in joining you if I can swing it.
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Re: Ideal Months for Various Grand Teton Routes & Others

Postby PellucidWombat » Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:51 pm

For sure. I need to look more closely at what regulations allow with camping/bivvying & reserving permits, but ideally if I was with an overall fast & fit climber on the Grand I could see something like the following at the most ambitious:

Day 1: Alpine start to set up high camp near lower saddle. If early enough, ascend Middle Teton by Glacier or Standard Route.
Day 2: Underhill Ridge or Direct Exum
Day 3: Underhill Ridge or Direct Exum. Move camp closer to E Ridge (near Disappointment Pk?)
Day 4: Climb East Ridge & return to camp.
Day 5: Rest? Ascend Mt Owen (partly to scout N Face & Ridge route & conditions)? Move camp closer to N face routes?
Day 6: N Face
Day 7: Rest?
Day 8: N Ridge

Could something like this appeal to you? Or were you more interested in just doing one or two routes?
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Re: Ideal Months for Various Grand Teton Routes & Others

Postby ExcitableBoy » Fri Jan 28, 2011 9:15 pm

PellucidWombat wrote:For sure. I need to look more closely at what regulations allow with camping/bivvying & reserving permits, but ideally if I was with an overall fast & fit climber on the Grand I could see something like the following at the most ambitious:

Day 1: Alpine start to set up high camp near lower saddle. If early enough, ascend Middle Teton by Glacier or Standard Route.
Day 2: Underhill Ridge or Direct Exum
Day 3: Underhill Ridge or Direct Exum. Move camp closer to E Ridge (near Disappointment Pk?)
Day 4: Climb East Ridge & return to camp.
Day 5: Rest? Ascend Mt Owen (partly to scout N Face & Ridge route & conditions)? Move camp closer to N face routes?
Day 6: N Face
Day 7: Rest?
Day 8: N Ridge

Could something like this appeal to you? Or were you more interested in just doing one or two routes?


Totally, I'd love to do another Teton Rampage!

Here is what I was thinking:


Day 1: Alpine start to set up high camp near lower saddle. If early enough, ascend Middle Teton by Glacier or Standard Route. NW Ice Couloir is really nice. I think the North Ridge starts from the lower saddle.
Day 2: Underhill Ridge or Direct Exum. I've done the Direct Exum so I would rather do another route. Don't know anything about the Underhill. Have you thought about the Petzold Ridge? (Not sure you can get to the Petztold from the LS.)
Day 3: Underhill Ridge or Direct Exum. Move camp closer to E Ridge (near Disappointment Pk?)
Day 4: Climb East Ridge & return to camp.
Day 5: Rest? Ascend Mt Owen (partly to scout N Face & Ridge route & conditions)? Move camp closer to N face routes? Would love to do the Serendipity Arete.
Day 6: N Face Awesome!
Day 7: Rest? Well deserved by this point.
Day 8: N Ridge Sounds Good. I would also like to do a quick dash up Teewinot and am interested in the 50 Classics Climbs route on Mt Moran.

I think any of these routes would be great in August. My summer is still up in the air, not sure if or where I will be working then.
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Re: Ideal Months for Various Grand Teton Routes & Others

Postby PellucidWombat » Fri Jan 28, 2011 9:33 pm

Day 1: The NW Ice Couloir is a route I was thinking of :-)
Day 2: I might have Underhill and Petzold mixed up in my head - now that you mention it, I think it was Direct Exum & Petzold combo that I was wanting to do.
Day 3: So you would still be up for Direct Exum? Just perhaps later in the trip then?
...
Day 5: Will look up Serendipity Arete from guidebook once I get home.
...
Day 8+: Teewinot could be nice while in the area, either as an active rest day (depending on route or how badly we need to rest). I am interested in Moran's long buttress, though since it is a step up in length & difficulty from the other routes on the Grand, I'd prioritize those first for the breadth & depth of experience I can get on them (and of course while minimizing return trips & redoing the same approach!).

I can be flexible with time off from work and when I can go. Although in an effort to be cheap I'd probably get my SW airline ticket in advance and if the trip needs to be postponed, bump up the flight ca. 2 weeks to keep it the same price. This strategy works well.

The only other restriction is committed partners. I need to put in enough overtime at work to offset the time off, which would be nice to spread out over a couple of months leading up to the trip.
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Re: Ideal Months for Various Grand Teton Routes & Others

Postby ExcitableBoy » Fri Jan 28, 2011 9:42 pm

I like your revised itinerary a lot. Sorry I can't commit now since my summer is up in the air.
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Re: Ideal Months for Various Grand Teton Routes & Others

Postby PellucidWombat » Fri Jan 28, 2011 9:47 pm

ExcitableBoy wrote:I like your revised itinerary a lot. Sorry I can't commit now since my summer is up in the air.


No worries. I admit it is still a bit early, especially if it is August rather than June/July that I plan to head up that way. It's always nice to know who to check in with about such trips as the time gets closer.
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Re: Ideal Months for Various Grand Teton Routes & Others

Postby PellucidWombat » Sat Jan 29, 2011 1:50 am

Petzold Ridge should be accessible from the same starting points as the Lower Exum. You just traverse a little bit further right.

Serendipity Arete looks pretty nice, although being a grade IV and approached from Cascade/Valhalla Canyon, it really calls for being a separate climb from being up on the Grand (as opposed to running up it from the south). But I am interested.
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Re: Ideal Months for Various Grand Teton Routes & Others

Postby ClimbandBike » Sat Jan 29, 2011 6:52 pm

The week before Labor Day was a great time for us. The weather seemed more stable with the cooler temps and there was only four or five other people staying at the climber's ranch. Sounds like a great trip!
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Re: Ideal Months for Various Grand Teton Routes & Others

Postby Doublecabin » Sat Jan 29, 2011 8:15 pm

My few climbing days are long gone but I thought I'd post the Phillips Bench Snotel site:

http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/cgibin/wyg ... LIPS+BENCH

I would take Climb & Bike's timing suggestion. Snow is about a month ahead of seasonal norms at this point and the forecasts I've seen indicate it will continue to pile up. With May and June Ranch cleanup being my hardest months I', personally hoping for a drier and warmer Spring than we've had in recent years but of course not counting on it. People were using Ice Axes on Paintbrush Divide the fourth week of July last year. Even if it does warm up after a good snow year in 2006 it flamed on and dried up for most of the Spring but I still went over Paintbrush a day after the ranger chopped steps in...July 16th.

That is indeed a great time at the Climbers Ranch, the discount is one of the reasons I keep my AAC Membership. I hope you have a great time,

John
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Re: Ideal Months for Various Grand Teton Routes & Others

Postby b. » Sat Jan 29, 2011 11:03 pm

Serendipity is going to be real hard to get to from the East side. I've done almost all of the routes you guys are looking at for this trip. Feel free to email me if you need more specific ideas.
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Re: Ideal Months for Various Grand Teton Routes & Others

Postby b. » Sun Jan 30, 2011 5:57 pm

Ok, I was having computer problems replying, but that's worked out.

The North Ridge is going to be a scary climb from the Teton Glacier. The better approach is actually from the Lower Saddle via the Valhalla Traverse. Petzoldt start is just past the start for Lower Exum, and is actually a good alternative start to bypass slow parties low on the direct. If you climb the East Ridge, I would plan a rest day after that. I was in pretty good shape and climbing as well as I ever have and that thing took us over 20 hours. If you don't get through the descent before dark, the hours start to add up getting down the Teepee glacier and the last couloir. As with the North Face, the routefinding is the crux and there are many, many places to lose a lot of time. I also wouldn't worry about moving camp from the base of the East Ridge to the North Face start. If you camp past the moraine you can do both routes easily from there.

As I'm typing about the descent from the E.R., I'm remembering that you will have covered some of that territory while moving camp from the Lower Saddle to the Teton Glacier. That will be the time to scope that area and find some landmarks for the Black Dike traverse.

The North Ridge and Serendipity would make a good trip from Valhalla. Getting into that drainage is work, but it's awesome in there.

The DSB on Moran is another beast. Long approach, longer route. I'll have to look, but I'm pretty sure it took us 4 days, and we'd been up Leigh Canyon twice, and I had previously done the lower part of the buttress (first 12 pitches in the 50 classics book). We did that route, then about 500 feet of 5.7 simulclimbing before camping the first day. The next day we started climbing at 7:30 and simulclimbed to the top at 3 in the afternoon. The good part was getting back around to camp in Leigh Canyon just as the rain started. I'd still recommend that descent over the rappels off of the DSB. That was a serious pain. Good luck! If you break any of this up, I would love to give the North Ridge a go this year.
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Re: Ideal Months for Various Grand Teton Routes & Others

Postby PellucidWombat » Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:29 am

Thanks a lot for the beta - especially on accessing the North Ridge. The information I have leaves out any discussion on actually reaching the route. The Valhalla Traverse sounds like a nice way and can better break up the trip.

B. - I'll see how it shapes up, but I'll touch base with you as the time gets closer.

Cheers,

Mark
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Re: Ideal Months for Various Grand Teton Routes & Others

Postby PellucidWombat » Wed Feb 02, 2011 7:01 pm

For those that know the Grand well, perhaps you can tell the the feasibility of the following shortcut. I can't find any info on this linkup or the couloir this low on the Grand. If I climbed the East Ridge one day and wanted to return to camp for a later attempt on the North Face, it would be nice to not have to reverse the climbing from low down on the trail.

One thought is that the couloir might be icey, but I'm not sure of the likelihood of that, or if the number or rapps needed to bypass the ice would be few and easy to do?


Image
Last edited by PellucidWombat on Wed Feb 02, 2011 8:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Ideal Months for Various Grand Teton Routes & Others

Postby b. » Wed Feb 02, 2011 8:36 pm

The image isn't working for me. The standard way back to a camp on the Teton Glacier Moraine is the Black Dike Traverse. You go from the Lower Saddle towards Lower Exum and continue along the dike to the Teepee col. From there you descend the Teepee Glacier under the East Face, then the Dike couloir (I think that's what it's called) back to the base of the East Ridge.
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