Grand Teton Climbing Conditions - July 17th 2016 - Upper Exum & Owen-Spalding

Images in order of appearance on July 17th, 2016.....
(except for the flowers) 

Upper Exum's Puff-n-Grunt Variation

Sign at Lupine Meadows Trailhead

 1st Boulder Field next to Garnet Creek (AKA Bradley Creek)

This is where trail disappears for 100' or so until you're further southwest back by the creek. It's 4.1 miles from the Lupine Meadows Trailhead.

Looking back at the Meadows (Garnet Canyon - not Lupine) from the top of Spalding Falls. At the top of the falls is a source of fresh spring water.

Looking back toward the switchbacks above Spalding Falls.

Lower Saddle as seen from the Morainal Camping Zone

Fixed Rope at the Lower Saddle's headwall

 Looking back toward the Fixed Rope area (center). The Fixed Rope is in the drainage between the headwall of the Lower Saddle and its Northern Buttress

Looking up at the Grand

These climbers wanted to take the bootpack down the saddle's headwall

The Central Rib's Needle at center above the Black Dike

We followed the green route behind the Needle and over the Central Rib at its Lower Crossover.

The Needle's Chockstone Chimney - far right

The Chockstone Chimney is at the most-western side of the Needle. It's the only slanting chimney. It looks easier than it is and with ice it can get a little sketchy. Many climbers use a ledge system to the left to bypass the lower chimney. Some will skip the chimney and use the Briggs' Slab, etc.

Runner's Slab - a variation to access to Chockstone Chimney.

Below the slab is a small ledge that is a common entry/exit from the chimney.

The only other climbers heading up at noon. 

They are just above the  Briggs' Slab. The Chockstone Chimney is below the photographer.

This extension of the Chockstone Chimney leads to the Central Rib's Lower Crossover to Wall Street.

View from the eastern aspect of the Central Rib

 Click to enlarge

It's Carman's Pinnacle in image...not CarmEn's.

Wall Street's Step Across.

Most climbers go around the corner. Almost nobody steps or jumps across the gap. You can take a lower ledge or an upper ledge to work your way around the corner. The lower ledge is safer if the wind is blowing hard, IMO.

Golden Stair - we skipped this and climbed cracks around the corner to the NE just for kicks.

We climbed this crack around the corner from the GS.

This variation is considered to be a little harder than the Golden Stair.

Cracks...go even further to the NE for another crack if you want an even bigger challenge.

Wind Tunnel's boulder problems

Looking back south from the Wind Tunnel's access entrance.

The access to the Wind Tunnel is below you as you approach it. It is at the bottom of a tall 'tower' that is part of the Exum ridgeline. The photographer is directly below the tower. It's behind him. You don't climb the tower. You turn east at the base of the tower. You can access the entrance to the Wind Tunnel by going around either side of this rock feature, or over it. The exposed western approach is a little more challenging.

 Wind Tunnel's boulder problems

This is near the middle of the boulders in the lower climbing section of the Wind Tunnel. The gully turns into a ridgeline as you climb out of it. You can get past the last of the Wind Tunnel's boulder problems by staying on the far right or far left.

WT Boulder Problems - far left (west) side of gully

Wind Tunnel Gully

Looking back down

We took the Puff-n-Grunt Dihedral. It's the corner crack near the center of the image. The Friction Pitch runs up the ridgeline above the right-facing Puff-n-Grunt Dihedral. The Friction Pitch Bypass Chimney is on the right side of the image.

Carman's Pinnacle - detour along Exum Ridge in Wind Tunnel Gully

Several pictures of the Puff-n-Grunt follow.
If you want to see the traditional route, see June 19 post.

Puff-N-Grunt (5.6ish)









Last pic of Puff-N-Grunt

There are two cruxy moves in the PNG. Very short. Both by small overhangs.

Zoom view back to Lower Saddle

A FP bypass on west side of ridge (harder)

After climbing out of the PNG, we headed west to look at conditions. This is a view of a variation to the west of the Friction Pitch.

Notch Gully.

This is part of the same gully that holds the PNG and the FP Bypass. This picture is above those features. You can stay on the ridgeline to the left, or run up the gully.

V-Pitch at ridge top.

This is the view from the top of the gully at the notch in the ridgeline.

Approach to VP

Looking past the Ford Couloir

Looking past the Dartmouth Basin

Looking past the Dartmouth Basin

Approach to V-Pitch.

The V-Pitch Bypass Crack is plugged with snow. The crack shown to the left of the snow leads to VP.




West-Leaning Chimney Crack (on western aspect of ridge).

We are above the V-Pitch and at the southern end of the summit ridgeline. There are several variations here but the WLC is the quickest to reach the summit ridgeline. The WLC starts where the shade and sunlight meet in the above image on the western aspect of the ridgeline (left side of image).

Looking back at the approach from V-Pitch to WLC

The ledge system to the right (west) takes you to the Main Rappel to the Upper Saddle. It's an easy escape off the Upper Exum Ridge.

Boulder Problem In The Sky - Looking back south.

Looking north toward the Horse.


Most climbers bypass the Horse and head under it to the east to reach the summit. You can head for the western aspect and climb it if you wish. You can also head west here and meet up with the Owen-Spalding route.


Eastern aspect just below summit.



Heading down the Owen-Spalding...western aspect.

Ledge above Slabby Wall

Narrow ledge above the southern half of the Slabby Wall

Slabby Wall - Center crack points to summit and Sargent's.

The Horse  (center-right) is a false summit above the Slabby Wall.

Area at the top of Sargent's Chimney

Folow the ledge in front of the photographer to Sargent's main chimney. Sargent's Hidden exit is right in front of the photographer - chute at center-botttom-right.

Hidden Exit just in front of photographer
Top of Sargent's in background.

 Three Stooges

Looking back at the Three Stooges - stay north on ascent. It's a straight shot to the Slabby Wall & summit but many climbers zig-zag their way around a few features.

Chute at the top of Hidden Exit

Sargent's Rap at the top of Sargent's main chimney


Ice above Sargent's Rap

Middle of the Hidden Exit - see ice....

.....and after removing ice with a loose rock

Looking down at the bottom of Sargent's. The Main Rap Overlook is that square-shaped rock near the top-left of the photo.

Sargent's Chimney - stay left (north) to access the Hidden Exit. Main chimney & rap line is on right.

Sargent's wide base

Owen Chimney


Owen Chimney

We skipped the OC and headed for the Main Rap to the Upper Saddle. From there we scrambled to the Catwalk and climbed down to the Double Chimney, etc.

Main Rap to Upper Saddle area

Downclimb  / scramble to Catwalk

Looking back at Sargent's from Main Rap Overlook



Looking back at scramble to / from the Main Rap Overlook.


Looking toward Double Chimney from Catwalk.

You can scramble / climb this rock to reach the Catwalk from the DC. While downclimbing we access the 1st opening in the Owen Chimney and downclimb that (our preference) to reach the DC.

Owen Chimney Bypass Crack - right

Owen Chimney

Bottom of Owen Chimney. That snow was sketchy.

Owen Chimney

Upper exit from Double Chimney

Looking down at the DC

 Scramble to Catwalk

View toward the scramble / climb to the Catwalk from just above the Double Chimney. You can also access the Catwalk from the 1st opening in the Owen Chimney.

Looking into the Double Chimney....

DC's Open-V on left, Tunnel on right side under flake.

DC Tunnel on right, Open 'V' on left.

Open-'V' & tunnel of Double Chimney

DC's Tunnel and Open-V

Middle of the Double Chimney

Looking down at the access to the 2nd Entrance of the DC

2nd Entrance DC

2nd Entrance of DC on left - view toward the Crawl

Access to the 2nd Entrance of the DC

1st Entrance of the Double Chimney


The Crawl

The Crawl and access to the Double Chimney - looking back.

Ledge between the Crawl & Belly Roll

BIC - north side of the Upper Saddle

Valhalla Canyon

A little percip fell.

Belly Roll as seen from above

NE corner of the Upper Saddle by Belly Roll (unseen)

Belly Roll

Secondary Rappel to the Upper Saddle - corner crack on left side.

Main Rappel line near center-right of image

Exit of Upper Saddle's upper eastern side

Southern exit off the eastern side of the Upper Saddle

Exposure below the Belly Roll & Double Chimney

The Belly Roll is up there somewhere...near top.

Looking back at the access to the eastern side of the Upper Saddle

Exit off the Upper Saddle. Afterwards, follow the western side of the
Central Rib and not the drainage below the Exum ridge.

Western side of the Central Rib

The Patio at the top of the Central Rib

 Bowl-like opening in the Central Rib

This is the upper access to the Central Rib's Black Rock Chimney - by larger snow patch. A drainage toward Wall Street is on the left (east) by small snow patch.

Owen-Spalding Couloir - main drainage on far right. Access to BRC at far left.

Central Rib's Black Rock Chimney

Steppy ramp to exit the Black Rock Chimney - head west during descent

Lower access to the Central Rib's Black Rock Chimney is by the smooth slab.

Central Rib & bench

Scramble to/from the Black Rock Chimney just below the smooth slab.

 Looking toward the Lower Crossover

This is the drainage above Chockstone Chimney (or a continuation of the CC)  that leads to the Central Rib's Lower Crossover to Wall Street.

View toward the Eye Of The Needle

Looking down the NE corner of the Chockstone Chimney. Follow the drainage up to the Lower Crossover to Wall Street. Briggs Slab is at bottom right of drainage and just above 'headwall' of CC.



Southern exit from the Eye of the Needle

View toward Briggs' Slab (center right) from CC.

Chockstone Chimney - NE Corner by 'headwall'.

You can take a ledge out to the south or climb up the headwall.  If you follow the drainage line out of the NE corner (just above snow) it will take you directly to the Central Rib's Lower Crossover to Wall Street

Runners' Slab by Chockstone Chimney

West side of the Central Rib's Needle by the Chockstone Chimney (unseen). This area is usually icy or wet.

Cliff Creek Fire

The Needle at center. Black Dike foreground.

View from Lower Saddle

South aspect of Grand

View toward the Fixed Rope.

Fixed Rope

Lower Saddle's Fixed Rope

View east from the Moraines

View from climbers' trail toward the Meadows.

View of the Caves Camping Zone from above

South Fork of Garnet Canyon.
Climbers take the North Fork.

The Meadows in Garnet Canyon

Garnet Creek


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

All images may be used without permission or attribution for all not-for-profit purposes.

Enjoy Safe Climbing