The Grand Teton's Upper Exum Climbing Route

The Upper Exum Climb
~ Lower Saddle to Summit ~

Climbers on the Upper Exum are exiting via the Owen-Spalding route so make sure it's in good shape before you free-solo this route.

Unlike the Owen-Spalding route, safely downclimbing the Upper Exum route is considered to be a very time consuming and questionable proposition for many free-soloing climbers. This is especially true for climbers near the limits of their climbing ability and for those who don't know the mountain well. If you don't have a rope, you may need to reach the top of the V-Pitch before you can safely and easily exit the ridge.

Upper Exum Climbing Route Overview
Click to enlarge image

To see more route overviews, see our Marked-Up Grand Teton Images page. To see features in more detail, visit our Grand Teton Features Page. Both of those links cover the approach to the Lower Saddle from the trailhead. This page focuses on the climbing above the Lower Saddle and only has a brief introduction to the approach.

Click to enlarge

An early season approach

From the Lupine Meadows' trailhead, you're headed into Garnet Canyon and up to the Lower Saddle which sits between the Grand and the Middle Teton. There is a trail that runs all the way to the Lower Saddle. The approach will be snow free at some point during the summer. Usually by mid-July, sometimes earlier, sometimes later.

The summer climbers' trail is mostly well defined but it disappears in a significant way in two boulder fields. In both places you will regain the trail to your southwest after a scramble for 100 feet or so. At the first boulder field near the Platforms Camping Zone, you will find the trail restarting next to Garnet Creek. At the second boulder field, you will look for the Moraines Camping Zone sign to your south to regain the trail. The trail also disappears in an insignificant way in a few spots that are easily navigated.

The trail also splinters in a few locations directly above Spalding Falls. The splinters are created when early-season climbers try to avoid snowy areas. The real summer trail above Salding Falls rises along switchbacks for a good distance before traversing toward the Lower Saddle. Usually, other climbers will be on the summer trail during daytime hours. It's very unlikely that you will get terribly off track but it has happened to a few people. 

When snow covers the area in the spring and early summer, most climbers ascend the Meadows' Headwall (see above) where it's closer to the Middle Teton's NE aspect. Climbers then run up the drainage coming out of the Middle Teton Glacier to reach the Lower Saddle. You may see skin tracks from skiers, or a bootpack from hikers, on the headwall. Their path may not be the safest for you. Choose carefully. At times, the snowy slopes can be extremely sketchy. Climbers have died on a snowy Meadows' Headwall. Keep in mind that water can undercut the snow in many locations and snow conditions can go from safe to very sketchy in a short period of time.

Climbers may want to stick to the elevated rib just to the north of the Middle Teton Glacier if the possibility of an avalanche exists near the Morainal Camping Zone. Avalanches can be triggered from any of the surrounding slopes. The safest route varies with the weather and conditions. That elevated rib runs toward the Lower Saddle's Fixed Rope and it holds most of the summer trail. When dry, the elevated rib has several trails. We stick to the highest one on the rib for most of the way.

If you want the safest and easiest approach, wait for the snow to melt before climbing the Grand.

The route between the Lower & Upper Saddles.
Head for the western side of the Central Rib's Needle

A closer look at your options for gaining the Central Rib's Bench

From the western side of the Needle, take the Briggs' Slab variation or the 'Chocktone Chimney to the Eye of the Needle' variation to reach the Central Rib's Bench. There are many variations but those two are the most common. Much of the climbing and scrambling around the Needle and the Central Rib is fairly easy. You will see many variations that require the same effort and skill. Some places do indeed have a best line to follow and we will try to point this out when we come to them.

Take the blue route that runs behind the Needle.
Avoid the green route on the eastern side of the Needle.

Once you reach the 'backside' of the Needle (just above the Briggs' Slab), head east and over the Central Rib. You're following an extension of the Chockstone Chimney which will take you to the ridgeline to the Central Rib. You will find yourself at the Central Rib's Lower Crossover (there is an Upper Crossover further up the ridgeline). From here, you can see the large shelf called Wall Street  which takes you to the upper section of the Exum Ridge. You will also see a big gully rising out of the Wall Street Couloir that leads to Wall Street. Approach the entrance to the scree-filled gully from its northern side and exercise great care around the loose rocks. Let's take a look back at our options in more detail.

The Chockstone Chimney on the western side of the Needle.

There is a ledge system to the left of the chimney that can be used to avoid climbing the lower part of the chimney. You can also skip the chimney and head for the Briggs' Slab. There are too many variations to list but we will look at a few.

Overview  — IMAGE 1

Most climbers use the Chockstone Chimney or the Briggs' Slab to access the Central Rib's Bench but you can choose whatever way that suits your fancy. Obviously, some ways are easier and safer than others.

Variations around the Central Rib's Bench — IMAGE 2
There are no exact routes - choose easiest path.

There are many variations to suit various abilities and many non-climbers do perfectly fine on the Briggs' Slab but non-climbers have other options if that looks too intimidating. In our opinion, the safest and easiest way to gain the bench when dry (and often when icy) for non-climbers involves taking a variation near the two climbers in the white helmets in the above photo. From their location, follow the Lime-Yellow line along a mostly horizontal path around the rock band until you reach the Middle Ledge in the Chockstone Chimney — also see IMAGE 3 & 4. The Lime-Yellow line not an exact route as you approach the Middle Ledge. It's fairly easy to navigate this area in many different ways. Follow the easiest path for you. After crossing the Middle Ledge, use the Eye of the Needle (RED line) to gain the Central Rib's Bench.

The 'Belly-Roll Almost' is slightly exposed but with good holds when dry. Most climbers go under it. The 'Belly-Roll Almost' is almost within arm's reach of the Briggs' Slab. After passing under or over the 'Belly-Roll Almost', you will head for the ridgeline of the Central Rib.

The Cracks of Doom and the Sack o' Potatoes are harder climbs for many people. There is a slightly exposed horizontal traverse variation of the Sack o' Potatoes that isn't fully shown in the above image - you approach from the north (out of the picture frame) and head southeast. That variation isn't too difficult.

Another look at variations around the CR's Bench — IMAGE 3

You can go around the outside edges of the Briggs' Slab. Or, whatever works for you. Guides usually hip-belay / rock-belay clients on the slab instead of using set gear. You can also use the rock on the northern side of the slab as a 'handrail' or climb it. Or skip it and downclimb an easy chimney to reach the Middle Ledge of the Chockstone Chimney.

Confused? Don't worry. You'll figure it out when you get there. All the different variations provide more options when conditions are poor and you don't have gear. Keep in mind that sometimes this area is icy while the climbing above here is less of a hazard. Many people turn around in this area due to poor conditions because they think that the entire mountain is in a similar condition. Sometimes it is, but often it is not. This area is fairly shaded.

 The Central Rib area — IMAGE 4

Most of the Chockstone Chimney is not shown in the above photo. The BLUE dots by the Briggs' Slab show two variations to gain the Middle Ledge of the Chockstone Chimney should you choose to bypass the slab and the lower section of the Chockstone Chimney.

Variation to reach the crossovers to Wall Street

The above image was taken from the Central Rib's Bench. The Briggs' Slab (unseen) is on the north side of the Chockstone Chimney (the photographer is about 120 feet -???- north of the chimney). Once past the Briggs' Slab just head for the ridgeline. The blue dots run from the Briggs Slab and toward the ridgeline of the Central Rib. Climbers follow an extension of the Chockstone Chimney to reach the ridgeline. It is easier to climb along the north side of the drainage, not in the drainage. Follow that line and you will find yourself at the Central Rib's Lower Crossover.

Another look at the same area - just a scramble, go anywhere.

The Lower & Upper Crossover are comparatively equal in terms of ease of use but conditions may favor one over the other during certain times of the year. We use the Lower Crossover simply because it's quicker. The area in the photo is just a scramble and hike. Take whatever route seems safest and easiest. There are no exact routes that you need to take to get to your destination. We avoid being low in drainages due to rockfall hazards.

A look toward the east after exiting the Briggs' Slab area

The Fang at the Lower Crossover

This might be a tight squeeze if you're carrying a big pack. Some folks climb on the outside of the Fang. Right after passing the Fang, you will drop down into another tight squeeze. The Upper Crossover doesn't have similar narrow crossings.

Looking west after passing the Fang at the Lower Crossover.

Looking west toward the Lower Crossover

Upper Crossover - looking east

You can reach the Upper Crossover from the Lower Crossover should you wish to do so — one of the climbers is doing just that in the photo.

Upper Crossover - looking back west after crossing the Central Rib

Looking west from Wall Street

 Access to Wall Street

Notice that the easiest approach to the Wall Street Gully is from the north - further up the couloir. The gully is a dangerous place to be if climbers are above you due to some very loose rocks.

Wall Street Gully - loose rocks everywhere

Wall Street

Rap to Wall Street.

The rap starts just above the Golden Stair. It is not maintained and it's unlikely you will see any evidence of it. Notice that this rap takes these climbers back to the fat part of Wall Street and not the narrow upper end. You can see the Wall Street slab from above the Golden Stair. This rap is rarely used; however, it's good to know your escape options. Some Lower Exum climbers will use the rap instead of tangling with climbers ascending the Upper Exum at the pinch point of Wall Street's Step Across.

Wall Street

The very narrow end of Wall Street where you work your way around the corner.

 The Step Across

The climber is using the lower edge at Wall Street's Step Across. Bomber footholds disappear once you get around the corner. There are small finger holds on the upper ledge for climbers on the lower ledge. Some may question their value. They are unlikely to keep you from falling should you slip. Many guides have their clients use the Lower Ledge.

 Reaching for safety as he exits the upper ledge

 Staying upright on the upper ledge - one variation.

Climber on the upper ledge at Wall Street's Step Across.

We usually use the upper ledge if the winds are calm. It's slightly more thrilling. We will use the lower ledge if we are leading other climbers, or if wind is blowing. We stand upright and work our way around the corner on the upper ledge. There are no great bomber handholds. The footholds are awkward and narrow but we trust 'em on the Upper Ledge. Many climbers do NOT stand upright like we do.

Upper Ledge

Check out the body position.

If she had a heavy pack, this woman's body position could tip her off balance with the help of a gust of wind. Those are not bomber hand holds. Every climber has their own method of attacking this corner. We are not aware of anyone falling at this corner, ever. (That's the kiss of death comment). Everyone is very careful. We feel that the lower ledge is safer but everyone sees things in their own way.

Step Across - Upper Ledge

Step Across - Upper Ledge

Step Across - Upper Ledge

He takes the gloves off.....

We hate climbing with gloves on and we don't consider it to be the safe option unless it's freezing out and we have no other choice.

This is a common hold - pulling up on the gap

Many climbers pull up on the bottom of the gap to maintain their position. This modified-lieback is a popular hold. The awkward body position doesn't instill great confidence but it usually works just fine. The lower ledge is less awkward but the small & frictiony footholds look a little too intimidating for some people. Again, if the wind is blowing, we recommend the lower ledge. It's easy to back off the lower ledge if you don't like it so you can try it first.

The lower ledge

Upper & Lower Ledges

Glenn Exum leaped across the exposed gap on his first ascent

We are not sure if he was leaping from the lower or upper ledge. Leaping from either ledge is not suggested for most climbers. We are still awaiting the video of anyone trying. It is certainly within the abilities of many climbers but that doesn't mean they want to try it without a rope like Ol' Glenn.

On the same day that Glenn Exum made the first ascent of the Upper Exum Ridge, Paul Petzoldt soloed the route after climbing the Grand with two clients via the Owen-Spalding route. 

Climber on the lower ledge.

The above photo was shot from a weird angle with heavy fog. It looks far worse than it is. Or maybe it looks even worse in person for some climbers. The lower ledge does disappear as you round the corner. There is one fairly nice hold (finger tip hold) that's on the flat part of the Upper Ledge. With sticky shoes, you probably won't give the Lower Ledge a second thought. Or maybe you will.

The Step Across - Glenn Exum leaped across the gap.

Lower Ledge - The Step Across

Lower Ledge  - The Step Across

Lower Ledge - The Step Across

Not much of a foothold.

Soloing the Golden Stair.

The Golden Stair has nice holds but it still requires careful climbing. Some of those holds may not seem obvious to non-climbers. While climbing with a companion, Hannah Marshburn, age 24, of Jackson took a fall at the Golden Stair and sustained a facial injury and possibly a head injury. Clearly, 'nice holds' is in the eye of the beholder.

In the image above, Brody Leven is out with Robin Hill free-soloing the Golden Stair. BTW: It's Golden Stair, not 'staircase' if you go by the guide book "A Climber's Guide to the Teton Range"; however, there are often many different names for the same features on this mountain. Most people couldn't care less if you say staircase or stair. And, old timers often used different names and spellings so feel confident that your name works just fine. The Bonney's used 'Golden Staircase' in their early guidebooks and it's common to hear that name.

Golden Stair

The cracks variation

This is just around the corner from the base of the Golden Stair and it is a little harder. If you go even further to the NE, you will find even harder cracks to play with. Past those, you may end up in a drainage.

The cracks variation

A little boulder problem just above the Golden Stair.

It's mostly a scramble to the Wind Tunnel from here. These guys are also at the location where you can set a rap back to Wall Street.

The scramble to the Wind Tunnel....

You will scramble up the rock and then back down the NE side of the rock to reach the entrance to the Wind Tunnel. See below....

 Access to the Wind Tunnel - scramble back down.

We're looking down at the entrance to the Wind Tunnel from the rock we just climbed up.

The gully below (far right side of photo) leads to the Petzoldt Ridge

Lower access to the Wind Tunnel.

Wind Tunnel access - just before the boulder problems

Wind Tunnel's boulder problems.

Wind Tunnel's boulder problems

This little boulder (white- center) can be done in many ways. It's the crux of the Wind Tunnel's blocky chockstone boulders. You can also go east and use the eastern side of the gully to bypass this boulder if conditions permit — it's not an obvious line. One of the great things about the UXM route is that if you feel unchallenged, there is always a line that's harder just a few feet away. And there might be an easier line, too.

Wind Tunnel's boulder problems.

Wind Tunnel Gully.

You can easily access the Friction-Pitch Bypass Chimney and the Puff-N-Grunt Dihedral at the location where the gully opens up to the east (top right of photo and in sunshine). At the only obvious opening you will just head east to reach the two variations. They allow you to skip the Jern & the Friction Pitch. The variations are worth trying at some point if you climb this route often, as is the full Western Chimney variation. The Western Chimney can be easily reached from the ledge at the top of the Wind Tunnel if you don't want to climb the western corner of the Wind Tunnel (see a picture of the ledge just past the next picture shown below).

 View into Wind Tunnel

We're looking back down the Wind Tunnel from just below the Jern Dihedral

The fat ledge just above the Wind Tunnel Gully.

Climbers are headed for the Jern. Behind the photographer is easy access to the Western Chimney variation.

A look up the crestline.

You can climb the eastern crestline (....or crest of image) to the Double Cracks below the Friction Pitch. The Double Cracks were a popular variation as was the Western Chimney (see below). These days, most climbers take the Jern to the Friction Pitch. The crestline to the Friction Pitch is slightly more difficult than the Jern to the Friction Pitch in our opinion. At some point, we will find out what variations Glen and Paul took on their first ascent up this ridge.

The complete eastern crestline — (from the bottom of the picture to the top) — will test your skills more than most of the other lines. You should have very sticky shoes for two short cruxy areas and be able to manage a more difficult line if you try the complete eastern crestline. Again, it runs from the top of the Wind Tunnel all the way to the top of the Friction Pitch. Novices should not be on the full crestline.

How you get to the Jern is up to you.

We figure that the Puff-n-Grunt is 5.6ish at two very short cruxes; however, in the book "A Climber's Guide to the Teton Range", the authors call it a "difficult (5.6 to 5.7) corner". We say 5.6ish because it doesn't feel as difficult as it should when we're wearing very large winter-insulated hunting boots. In other words, it almost feels like a solid 5.6 with our shoes but not quite a 5.7 so we'll stick with a 5.6. Ratings are pretty subjective and yours may vary. A short climber may have a harder time than a tall one.

The FPBC is 5.4ish and it is harder than it looks at its top because it's easy to pick the 'wrong' exit line. Just back track and choose another line. To exit the chimney, you can go right or left near the top of the chimney and maintain a 5.4 rating if conditions permit. The left exit isn't obvious and neither is the right-side exit but you'll figure it out. Conditions may force you to choose one side or the other. You will find loose rocks in the chimney but plenty of solid holds. It is also likely to be a mix of ice and snow early in the season as seen in the above photo.

You might, might, be able to downclimb the FP Bypass Chimney if the weather looks threatening and you need to turn around. We are assuming that the gully above could send debris down the chimney. We have never been in the chimney during a big storm so we don't know how bad it could be. It's a little tricky at the top but far easier than downclimbing the Friction Pitch in a storm (not suggested) if you're free-soloing.

The entire Western Chimney which exits at the top of the Friction Pitch is a fun variation. The Western Chimney's rating varies with the exit location but if you exit at the base of the Friction Pitch (by an old cam stuck in the rock) you will be looking at a 5.4ish ascent. That is the most common line via the Western Chimney. If you exit the Western Chimney just before the exit to the base of the Friction Pitch by the old cam, you can quickly get into 5.5+ territory.

From a point closer to the bottom of the Western Chimney, you can head for the western crest of the Jern Dihedral along small but good holds. It's a nice 5.4 line along the crest which is looking down on the Jern Dihedral's right-facing corner.

The Western Chimney is another downclimbing option for a few hardy individuals. If you are at the bottom of the Friction Pitch, that might be your best option for retreating from a passing storm if you just want to get a little lower on the ridgeline. It is very easy (IMO) to downclimb the lower section of the Western Chimney but accessing it (descending into it) from the ledge that runs along the base of the Friction Pitch can appear intimidating to many free-soloing climbers.

Free-soloing down the Double Cracks or the Jern Dihedral is only for a select group of climbers. 


The pink line exiting the Western Chimney is by an old cam and it dumps you at the base of the Friction Pitch. It's the most common line out of the Western Chimney. The pink line is by a large step in the chimney and there will be an obvious opening above you to the east. Once on the ledge above the old cam, there is a rarely climbed ascent line that runs between the Western Chimney and the standard Friction Pitch line. Options everywhere. The chimney is a good way to bypass slow climbers to the east. It's a fairly quick ascent.

Climber just below the Jern

Climber at the Jern

The Jern Dihedral is named after climbing guide Ken Jern. He slipped on ice and fell 50 feet down its face. You can watch Ken point out the location in this great soloing video. You can see the western crest of the Jern in the above photo. It's a nice place to take photos of climbers in the Jern, and a fun variation. You can see the Double Cracks section of the Crestline variation in the image above and below.

Climbers on Jern & on Friction Pitch

One of the climbers slips three times while attempting the Friction Pitch's eastern crest.

The climber could have slipped off the eastern side of the crest and slammed into the PNG variation. A rope may not protect you very well if you are literally within one foot of the edge. The crux of the Friction Pitch can't be properly protected from below but we feel that it might be possible to spot a climber if you are just below them.

It's easy to move just a few feet to your left or right on the Exum Ridge and encounter a move that is more difficult, or easier, than expected. Choose carefully because climbers can start a line and be unable to easily retreat from difficulties. If you see others making easy work of a line and they have similar abilities and shoes, you should probably follow them.

The Friction Pitch is sometimes considered to be the only feature rated a 5.5 on the Upper Exum Ridge, and only at its short crux. By using variations like the Friction Pitch Bypass Chimney you can lower the rating of the UXM to that of the OS. Keep in mind that the UXM is longer with more sustained 5.4 climbing and with features that may take more time to figure out than most features on the Owen-Spalding. Some climbers feel that other features on the UXM, like Wall Street's Step Across, etc, are more disconcerting than the Friction Pitch. As we say, everyone experiences a climb differently.

Climber headed for the Friction Pitch's Knob Line.

Friction Pitch

Friction Pitch —

The Vaginal Line is just to the left of the climber by a foot or so. He is on the Knob Line. Most climbers take a western line off the knob but some go east off the knob. There are many variations off the Knob. There are no bomber handholds, or even tiny mildly-comforting handholds. You need to trust your friction footholds. Hopefully, you're not wearing loafers and the soles are dry.

Some climbers like the Vaginal Line; however, it is a friction zone and we don't consider it any easier than the other variations. The Vaginal Line isn't its name — it's just a memory aid with a poor name. Many climbers find it to be a real pain in the ass if they lack sticky shoes, or even with sticky shoes. Some find it easier to start the Vaginal Line and exit to the right before going up the main channel, others climb straight up it. We have done every line in shoes that were not made for climbing; however, it's far easier with sticky soles.

You might want to test your shoes on friction rock that's just a few feet off the ground before climbing the Upper Exum if you're not used to friction climbing.

Some climbers go left, some go right at the knobs

Those look like pretty good footholds in the above picture. When you're on the rock, your perspective is different. The footholds seem less secure. We would like to say that with sticky climbing shoes this area won't seem like much of a crux; however, we find that most inexperienced climbers don't like the lack of bomber handholds. It does require careful and thoughtful moves.

We usually go left from the knob. We think it's a little safer for us (and we have tried all the variations). A Climber's Guide to the Teton Range seems (seems) to suggest that going right - foot in a small depression - is easier. In the book Teton Rock Climbs by Aaron Gams, he suggests that going left off the knob is the better option. If you plan to go left off the Knob, you might want to have your right foot land on the top knob, and vice versa if you plan on going right. Richard Rossiter who wrote both "Teton Classics: 50 Selected Climbs in Grand Teton National Park", and "Best Climbs Grand Teton National Park", suggests going up from the knobs and "right to a shallow grove and upward to the top of the slab." Obviously, all advice should be taken with a grain of salt when it comes to the highly personal experience of climbing. Again, with sticky shoes all lines are pretty similar on the Friction Pitch's crux.

So many variables come into play while climbing: your shoes, your foot size, your experience with friction, your arm reach, your eyesight, your grip strength, your body position, etc. Tall climbers usually have an easier time on the OS & the UXM but short climbers come by the thousands and bag this mountain. This route has been carefully climbed by seniors and children with all sorts of different body types and abilities. It's a puzzle that is different for every climber. In any area, soloing climbers might want to contemplate which line is the safest line, and/or easiest to back off from, if two lines look similar.

Friction Pitch - friction footholds look nice...from this perspective

A close look at the crux of the Friction Pitch
Not much in the way of bomber hand holds.

Friction Pitch's crux

Friction Pitch - western side by Vaginal Line.
Many Variations.

Friction Pitch — Vaginal Line at center

There are variations further to the west if you're interested in another challenge but they are less traveled and the rating varies.

Friction Pitch - view from eastern side of crest

This is the most common approach line to the Knob and the crux of the Friction Pitch.

Friction Pitch

Friction Pitch's crux

FP Crux

The dark rock (bottom right) is a small ledge just past the crux.

Friction Pitch's crux

A look back down the FP and Wind Tunnel

Carman's Pinnacle (sometimes spelled Carmen's Pinnacle) is a detour for bored climbers. It has many names, BTW. That name probably comes from Dave Carman or his brother. Dave was an Exum Guide and happened to help build the JHMR Via Ferrata climbing area.

Friction Pitch - above crux

Easier climbing but still be careful.

Exiting the Friction Pitch

The Notch Gully above the Friction Pitch

Run up the gully or climb the western ridgeline - both easy

View toward the V-Pitch from the Notch Gully.

We don't recommend the escape ledge just above the Notch Gully. You can more easily exit the ridge and head for the Main Rap to the Upper Saddle after exiting the V-Pitch or its bypass cracks.

Notch Gully - looking back down

Above the Notch Gully and below the V-Pitch

The Crack Variation to the east of the V-Pitch is easier when dry. The variation to the far east is off route. That far eastern variation is a worthy variation for some climbers but only if you don't mind more friction with tiny finger holds. Again, it's off route. It will take you the the eastern side of the summit ridgeline and past the Boulder Problem in the Sky (or to it). It's an interesting line if you're bored with the traditional route. An eastern variation can also be started from just above the V-Pitch via some slick slabs.

Climbers by the bypass crack (middle-right of photo), and one just above the Notch Gully (bottom center).

The easy bypass crack to the east of the V-Pitch

 View to the SW

We're looking back from a far-eastern crack/slab variation and looking toward climbers approaching the V-Pitch. We are just below the eastern aspect of the summit ridgeline. Again, this is off route. You can take several off-route lines on the far eastern side. The line we took included some 5.5ish friction moves (without climbing shoes).

The V-Pitch - center right - is being bypassed due to conditions

Easy V-Pitch bypass crack

The crack and the V-Pitch might be covered in snow (or filled w/ ice) during the start of the summer season.

Unsoeld's Lieback runs along the eastern edge.


 V-Pitch July 2018

Climber on the eastern crest of the V-Pitch after using the bypass crack

West Leaning Chimney / Petzoldt's Lieback

EMERGENCY EXIT: Right above the V-Pitch is an easy exit for climbers needing to bail off of the ridgeline. It runs to the main rappel to the Upper Saddle. Follow the slabby terrain (a ledge system) along the toe of the wall to your right until you reach a small 'drainage' or low point. You will be directly below Sargent's Chimney. Follow the 'drainage' to the west, (along its north side & away from the loose rocks), until you reach the Main Rappel Overlook. From there you can downclimb the Catwalk, etc, or use the Main Rappel.

The West-Leaning Chimney/Crack is a little tricky. It's a short combo of a slab, crack, chimney, and lieback. It can be tackled in many ways. It also has many many names. After getting above the West-Leaning Chimney, you can head east toward the ridgeline to reach the Boulder Problem in the Sky


L-Shaped Notch (LSN) feature northeast of the WLC

Instead of heading directly for the ridgeline after exiting the WLC, you can also head for the LSN. Most climbers head for the ridgeline unless they want to bypass the BPITS.

Climbers heading for the ridgeline after leaving the WLC

Again, after the WLC, you can go directly east to the ridgeline or head for the L-Shaped Notch. From the  L-Shaped Notch, you have two options. You can head directly east to the ridgeline and access the Boulder Problem in the Sky's Southern Jam Crack. Or, at the L-Shaped Notch, you go also go down into a gully and take a bypass variation up to the ridgeline to avoid the BPITS. You can also access the gully from higher up - just below the BPITS's jam crack. The bypass can be a little tricky especially if there's slick snow or ice.

The western aspect of the summit ridgeline after exiting the V-Pitch

A look up toward the BPITS from just above the LSN

Looking over at the exit from the bypass.

If you're using the bypass from the LSN, you climb down into a gully, scramble up toward the ridgeline and climb out of a gully. Once out of the gully just head for the ridgeline. The shaded rock in the picture (top right) is the western aspect of the Boulder Problem in the Sky.

Looking over at the exit from the bypass that's under the western aspect of the BPITS

 Vanessa just below the BPITS

Boulder Problem in the Sky's Southern Jam Crack

Boulder Problem in the Sky's Southern Jam Crack
Some people give this crack a 5.5 rating.

Many ways to ascend.

It's a little tricky for non-climbers and novice climbers. Take your time and examine all your options, you should be fine. It's a very short crack but with some exposure to the east.

Boulder Problem in the Sky's Southern Jam Crack

Exiting the BPITS

Looking Northwestish - Just a few variations

 The summit ridgeline

Run along the ridgeline and go under the eastern aspect of the Horse to gain the summit. Take the path of least resistance. You can also climb the Horse (start on the SW corner). Or, you can cross over to the Owen-Spalding route in front of the Horse and approach the summit from the western side.

Rescue off the Exum Ridge

FYI: Bailing via the Chevy & Stettner Couloir can be a gamble and it is not recommended unless you're exceptionally well prepared for that descent, know the conditions, and understand the risks. It should go without saying, but we will, most narrow couloirs should be avoided during bad weather due to runoff, and they should be avoided when high temperatures may cause flushing from snow fields. Runoff / flushing can include rocks, snow and water. Those couloirs can hold ice and snow all year long. Narrow couloirs are terrain traps even when dry.

~ The Downclimb ~ 

The Approach & Route Overviews

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Enjoy Safe Climbing