Grand Teton - Complete Exum RidgeDate:
Nathan and I climbed the Complete Exum Ridge on the Grand Teton. Great climbing with a great partner! We were there a bit late in the climbing season and encountered a lot of snow and some ice, especially on the descent.
Lots of new experiences for me on this trip, first time climbing rock at higher altitude for one. With only one day of acclimatization, the 5.7 pitches on the Exum ridge posed a lot more difficulty to me than I would have expected! The upper ridge was easier, but some spiciness was thrown in by the presence of snow and ice which made trusting feet much more difficult.
The weather, though cold, stayed great for us on the ascent, but started quickly turning worse as we descended. The Owen Spalding rappel route included a chimney full enough of ice that you could definitely have ice climbed it, and spindrift fell on us as we made the rappels. After two rappels, the rest of the descent was scrambling, and the conditions continued to worsen with severe winds and limited visibility. Wind gusts reached probably around 90mph and made staying attached to the mountain on the scramble down interesting at times!
We arrived back at the lower saddle where we'd camped the night before only to find the bivy site we thought was relatively well sheltered from the wind still taking a beating. Luckily for us, some fellow climbers that were going to try to climb the next day had seen my firstlight tent starting to blow away and saved it, piling it full of rocks. It was unable to stand up to the storm, nor could we light our stove in that much wind, so we decided to hike out that night rather than trying to camp (which had been our original plan). With the late start to our hike out, we didn't arrive back at the trailhead until ~2:30 am.
The photo uploader on cc.com is broken, so you can check out the photos here:https://goo.gl/photos/naoavYaT7zvdce3e7