Grand Teton Climbing Conditions September 17, 2016

The Grand Teton's Upper Exum & Owen-Spalding Routes


A few trip reports for April through October

July 17th, 2016 (UXM) PNG Variation 
Overview - Upper Exum
Overview - Owen-Spalding
Detailed Look At Specific Route Features
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 Not all route features are shown here. Please see another trip
report from above to get a better feel for the routes.

 The Meadows Camping Zone in Garnet Canyon

 The Petzoldt Caves Camping Zone by the top of Spalding Falls

 Looking at the South Fork of Garnet Canyon from the North Fork

 Looking at the South Fork of Garnet Canyon from the North Fork

 Looking up at the East Face of the Grand Teton and the switchbacks above the Caves / Spalding Falls

 East Face

 The Morainal Camping Zone, Lower Saddle, & Middle Teton Glacier

Looking north from the climbers' trail toward the Jackson Hole Mountain Guides hut by Teepe Pillar

 The Fixed Rope at the Lower Saddle's Headwall

 Looking back at the Moraines from the Lower Saddle

 Lower Saddle view toward the south aspect of the Grand. We are by the most eastern camping site & the water hose.

 Exum Mountain Guides took down their hut on Saturday. GTNP will take down their weather station & their hut very soon.

 Detail of variations around the Friction Pitch

 The Wall Street slab - very slick in spots. Not icy slick, just slick snow.

 Tanner & Johnny at the Golden Stair.
Cracks variations are around to the NE.

 Wind Tunnel Access

 Exiting the Wind Tunnel's boulder problems

 View up the Wind Tunnel Gully. The Friction-Pitch Bypass: FPB. The Puff-n-Grunt: PNG. Jern Dihedral: JD

 View down the Wind Tunnel Gully

 View down the Friction Pitch's crux.

The exit from the Western Chimney that lands you at the base of the Friction Pitch is popular with climbers who use the chimney; however, it is not a common route variation taken by most climbers. You'll find a very old cam stuck in the rock at the exit location.

 The guys are using the Knob Line

Contemplating the Friction Pitch's crux.

 The remaining section of the Friction Pitch is similar to the Golden Stair

 Exiting the Notch Gully

While the 'escape ledge' by the Notch Gully is one way of getting to the Main Rappel to the Upper Saddle, the best 'escape' off the Exum Ridge is usually at the top of the V-Pitch. Just take the big & safe ledge system directly to the Main Rap from there. You head to the N-NE from the top of the VP and look for the Main Rap Overlook below Sargent's Chimney. You pretty much go to the point with the lowest elevation - it's a small 'drainage' heading west toward the Main Rap from Sargent's.

 Looking back at the Notch Gully

 Scramble to the V-Pitch & crack variations.

 The V-Pitch was a little snowy so we used the cracks to the east.
The V-Pitch is out of sight as you climb toward it.
It's directly west of the crack and the access is at a small notch in the ridgeline.



  V-Pitch - far right

 Petzoldt Lieback - West-Leaning Chimney or Left-Leaning.
This was a little slick - the guys had smooth rubber soled climbing shoes.

 Petzoldt Lieback - West-Leaning Chimney or Left-Leaning

 Above the chimney, head east for the ridge or head east and
then scramble toward the L-Shaped Notch.

The two options above the chimney will get you to the Boulder Problem in the Sky. The L-Shaped Notch option is just a different way to do the same thing but it takes you directly to the southern jam crack of the BPITS if you head east from the notch, and it gets you to the BPITS bypass gully if you want to avoid the crack.

 At the L-Shaped Notch, head east to the ridge and you will be at the south-facing jam crack of the Boulder Problem in the Sky.

 Exiting the BPITS's southern crack

 Exiting the BPITS's southern crack

 Looking north after the BPITS

 Heading toward the Horse - eastern aspect of the ridgeline. Climbers can climb the Horse from its SW corner.

Instead of climbing the Horse, most climbers just head for the summit by going under the eastern aspect of the Horse and scrambling up its northern side to reach the summit which is north of the Horse by 40 feet or so.

 Summit of the Grand Teton

 View toward Delta, Surprise, Amphitheater, Bradley and Taggart Lakes

 East Ridge

 Teewinot with Jenny Lake behind it.

 One of the many ways to exit the summit is start just a few feet south of the summit and then scramble to the NW until you can make an easy exit to the SW.

Many climbers will go around the east aspect of the Horse and cross back over to the western aspect at its south side. The Slabby Wall is below the Horse. North of the summit is one of the easiest exits when dry - you head down a NW chute and make a big u-turn back to the south along the easiest path.

No more forest fires sending vast amounts of smoke into the sky.

 Cascade Canyon

View toward Jackson Lake

 The tiny ledge above the Slabby Wall - descent.

We usually take the switchback variation once we get to the base of the Slabby Wall if conditions are poor.

 The Center Crack is an easy scramble when dry.

 Taking a 'switchback' around the Slabby Wall - descent

 Descent into Sargent's Chimney's alternate Hidden Exit.
This is the view from the top of the alternative route out of Sargent's Chimney.

 Top of Sargent's main chimney at the rap.

 Looking down Sargent's main chimney

 Looking up at Ed who's at the top of Sargent's Hidden Exit

 Rapping down Sargent's Chimney

 Hidden Exit - lower access. This is a NW corner crack.

Looking down Sargent's. GREEN arrow points toward the Main Rap (follow drainage).
The BLUE arrow points toward the top of the Owen Chimney.

 Northern side of the bottom of Sargent's Chimney

 Southern chute that leads to the Main Rappel to the Upper Saddle.
You can exit Sargent's any way you want.

 Northern chute that leads to the Owen Chimney

 Owen Chimney

 Owen Chimney

 Owen Chimney

 Owen Chimney

 Access to the Catwalk - we took the Catwalk instead of the Owen Chimney.
The Owen had more snow than ice and would have been a viable option to descend.

 Looking down at the Catwalk from the ledge below Sargent's

 Looking down at the Catwalk from the ledge below Sargent's

 Looking back up at Sargent's

 The Main Rap to the Upper Saddle
RED arrows point to one way to access the alternate 2x70' raps

 Access to the Catwalk - pretty slick. It helps to knows the rock and all the holds so you don't go sliding off the mountain if you don't have crampons or ice cleats. We were not using crampons but we did use an axe at a few locations as a walking aide.

 The Catwalk

 Looking up the Owen Chimney's middle section

 Owen-Chimney Bypass crack / chimney

We exited the Catwalk via the bottom of the Owen Chimney.

 A few variations around the Double Chimney / Catwalk.

The RED arrows are a variation that takes you into the DC Bypass and back into the DC via a ledge that is just out of view. The complete DC Bypass is harder than the DC and should not be used for downclimbing. The YELLOW arrows are just a different way of approaching the top of the DC. The GREEN arrows show the most common direction of travel when dry. There are other ways to exit / enter the DC that are not shown.

 The bottom of the 2nd Entrance to the Double Chimney

 The Middle of the DC. The Open-'V' and tunnel were both snowy but fine for travel. Ice is under the snow in the tunnel. This is a tricky area when slick.

 Looking down the 1st Entrance of the DC. We took this exit during the descent.

 The Crawl

Looking back toward the access to the Double Chimney.

We usually take the 1st Entrance up & down if it's slick. It's a difficult entrance for many climbers. This is a dangerous area when snow filled & icy, or dry.

 The ledge between the Crawl & the Belly Roll

 Belly Roll

 Belly Roll - you can go over or under it.

 Upper Saddle. Middle Teton summit at top left.

 Exiting the upper eastern side of the Upper Saddle - one variation we did not use.

 We took the southern-most variation to exit the Upper Saddle's eastern side.

 This is slightly exposed on the southern side.

 The Exum Gully to the left (south) is where Mary “Mimi” Conley Bilyeu lost her life while going up this section.

Wall Street Couloir  -  not the route down the mountain.
You could run down the couloir to the Crossovers to Wall Street but this is more time than it's worth.

 Wall Street

Middle Teton as seen from the top of the Central Rib

 Central Rib's western aspect on right side of picture. We followed the rib to the Black Rock Chimney

 At a funky opening in the Central Rib, hop over to the eastern aspect for a short distance to gain the Black Rock Chimney.

 Black Rock Chimney - follow it all the way down until you are forced back to the eastern aspect of the rib.

Do not continue down the eastern aspect. Take the steppy ramp out to the west and then downclimb a short access chimney.

Looking back at the access to the top of the Black Rock Chimney


 Steppy ramp off the BRC. Climbers are heading west during the descent.

 Lower access to the BRC is by the smooth slab along the Central Rib.

 Access to the BRC is via a short chimney that takes you to the steppy ramp.

 Ed is just past the Belly-Roll-Almost and approaching the Eye of the Needle.
We took the Briggs' Slab which is on the northern side of the drainage and across from the BRA.

 Looking down the Central Rib's Bench

 Scramble down the CR's sloping bench

 We took the Briggs' Slab which was mostly dry.

 The exit to the NW just below the Briggs' Slab (unseen). The BS is just to the south of the Cracks of Doom / Death. The COD is just above the climbers.

 You can see the trail out of the South Fork of Cascade Canyon if you look closely.

 Lower Saddle camping site - only $25 to $35.

 Looking back from the water hose

 Ed getting a drink of water.

Lots of rock.

 Switchbacks above the Caves.

 Climbers heading up for the worst night of their lives - winds were whipping Saturday evening and Sunday morning.

You can't really walk in 70 mph winds.

We have trouble standing upright on uneven terrain in 60 mph winds.

 The spring that feeds Spalding Falls

 Exiting Garnet Canyon - looking east.

 The Middle Teton rises above the Meadows Camping Zone. Spalding Falls is at center-right. The Meadows' Headwall runs between the Middle & the falls.
 Garnet Creek

 Stonework on the trail

Heading for the First Boulder Field (1st where trail disappears during the ascent).

1st Boulder Field

 We wear all kinds of shoes up the Grand.

 Bradley & Taggart Lakes

 Trail back home

 That's it for 2016!

Enjoy Safe Climbing