Friction Pitch

The Grand Teton's Upper Exum Route

REMEMBER, you can use the Friction-Pitch Bypass if you are uncomfortable with the friction zone. If it's free of snow and ice, it should be safer, quicker, and easier than the Jern/Friction Pitch. It's not as easy as it looks as you near the top of the bypass and you may find a few loose rocks. If you don't like friction areas, or if you are unsure of your abilities, or if you just want to avoid the crowds, consider the bypass. It's a nice alternative. The Puff-n-Grunt Dihedral is harder than the Jern/FP and is rated between 5.6 & 5.7. It's a fun line to climb. Most climbers use the Jern Dihedral to reach the Friction Pitch.

The climber exiting the Western Chimney at the base of the Friction Pitch had the option of continuing up the chimney and avoiding the Friction Pitch. It used to be a more popular line but nowadays few people take it. Continuing to the top of the Western Chimney can be a greater challenge.

The Eastern Crest to the Double Cracks (just below the FP) is rarely climbed but it's a fun line.

This area slows down many climbers but some just blow past it like they're walking on a sidewalk. Sticky climbing shoes really help but not everyone uses them. You do need to be extra extra careful if you lack sticky soles, or if there is any moisture on the rock or your soles. If there is moisture, consider the FP Bypass.

If your are headed for the Knob Line and you want to go to the right after reaching the knob, make sure your left foot lands on the knob. If you want to go left, make sure your right foot lands on the knob. We prefer going to the left off the knob - to the west toward the Vag Line. Others prefer going right. There is less of a chance going off the crestline to the east if you are further away from that side.

You could slip like the gentleman in the video below. He was lucky in that he headed west after slipping. He also had a rope. We think the west side has slightly better options but not everyone agrees. If you have super sticky climbing shoes, you may not care which friction line you take. You will have a better feel for your options as you approach the knobs.

A look at a climber slipping on the Friction Pitch.

This video mentions an old piton at the top of the crux. It's probably an old nut jammed into a tiny crack.

Most people take the Jern to reach the Friction Pitch. There are many fun variations.

Climber above the crux

Climbers at base of Friction Pitch

Looking down the crux of the Friction Pitch

Climber on Knob Line

Looking down the crux at a climber who is on the ledge at the bottom of the FP.

We think the eastern crest is the harder variation at the crux.

Climber on Knob Line

Climber went left (west) off the Knob Line

Climber just above the crux

Jern Dihedral at far left. Three climbers on Friction Pitch above JD. PNG Dihedral to right of FP

Two climbers at the base of the FP and one on the FP above the crux.

Climber on the Knob Line

On FP, above crux

Going right off Knob Line - toward eastern crest

We prefer going in the other direction but to each his own. The insignificant holds and friction depressions seem slightly better on the western side to us; however, with super sticky shoes you may not notice much difference. We rarely climb with super sticky shoes.

Making the move to the east off the Knob

Just getting started at the base of the Friction Pitch

On the Knobs

Going west

Above the crux - still exercise great care

Variations to the west of the Vag & Knob Lines

Climbers at base of FP

Looking down the FP

Crux is between climber and small ledge in middle of image

She moves from the Knob Line toward the Vag Line

Vag line

This is a friction zone

With sticky shoes and a careful eye, we think the vaginal line is the easiest. It can also easily get you into trouble if you're not careful. If you're on a secure rope, it really doesn't matter what line you choose.

Base of FP

 Climber exiting the Western Chimney at the base of the Friction Pitch

Friction Pitch Rescue Operation

Enjoy Safe Climbing