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bedellympian

[TR] Tetons - Cathedral Traverse + some other stuff 07/18/2020

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Trip: Tetons - Cathedral Traverse + some other stuff

Trip Date: 07/18/2020

Trip Report:

I spent the past week in the Tetons. On Saturday my friend Lucas and I attempted the Grand Traverse in snowy early season conditions. We did fairly well, minus a route finding snaffu on Owen, but were slowed down a lot by snow/ice and route finding difficulties on the North Ridge of the Grand. We had bivy gear but opted to bail from the Lower Saddle.

A couple thoughts for would-be suitors... If you want Sierra-esque conditions this is a mid-August to early-September objective. Rolo's beta page on the Pataclimb site is good but not super detailed and would be worth looking up some more pictures if you are trying to onsight like we were (I'd been up the Grand before but never on the North and Lucas had skied Garnet Canyon once). Italian Cracks and N Ridge in general is not obvious splitter climbing, be prepared. You need to be super stoked if you want to walk right past an easy trail down and continue up Middle and the rest of the traverse, or don't be cause you've already done the best parts (so I was told, and tell myself to soothe my battered ego :crash:).

The next few days were spent climbing at various crags (all have directions on MP, but identifying routes isn't always easy)...

Rock springs buttress is AMAZING and also an amazingly sustained steep long hike for a crag. I took 2 hrs and was worked. I think camping up there would be sweet and the rock is awesome but S/SW facing so its really a morning-only venue. You can also take the tram or gondola from Teton Village but that costs a lot of money. 

Teton Canyon's Shady Wall is a short approach and shady all day (big surprise). It's also HARD (sandbagged 10+ warmup, 1-2x hard 5.11, several 12s/13s) and on weird rock (featured granite with flowstone (like limestone) over the face in places). There are other cool crags in Teton Canyon, we did a cool multipitch limestone sport route in a wild location one day but its hard to describe the location and kind of a locals' secret, maybe ask around?

Blacktail butte in the NP is also nice limestone sport cragging on vertical edges. People talk sh!t about it but given that I don't get to climb limestone often I thought it was nice and had some good routes. 

I also went to solo the CMC route on Moran with a leisurely overnight at the CMC camp. I bushwhacked instead of canoe'd, which was a nice mini-cascades flavor, and ended up going in one way and out the other to see both options for going around Leigh Lake. The guidebooks all say to go out the Valley trail and on the East side of Leigh Lake and then bushwhack around the N side of the lake to the gully/creek leading to the the CMC camp, but on a map it looks much better to take the Paintbrush trail around the West side of the lake and then bushwhack in from there. Turns out the guide books were correct (who'da thunk?) and going the E side of Leigh is much more efficient although longer mileage (it's still a pretty decent shwack with neck high ferns, steep side hilling, and downed trees). Anyway, all the jungle blundering was for naught as I got rained on all night at CMC camp and was socked in by cloud all morning. I hiked out only to have things turn perfectly bluebird for the entire afternoon... c'est la vie.

Will post some pics later this week. 

Gear Notes:
Approach shoes and an extra pair of socks for when they wet out with the snow travel and post-thunderstorm shwackage.

Approach Notes:
What the guide books say...
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Pictures:

Sunrise near top of Teewinot

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Lucas on Teewinot

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Raps on 11,8XX

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Lucas descending from East Prong on very firm snow.

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North side of the Grand from Owen

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Lucas scoping the Grand

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Start of N Ridge of the Grandstand, separate team ahead of us...

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Icy chimney pitch on the N Ridge, dude below is pulling an overhanging chockstone with minimal ice-free hand holds (not your typical 5.8)

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Looks like easy traversing to OS but an ice gully separates us from that route and we end up going straight up after some faffing.

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Peaks on L are the Cathedral Group (Teewinot, Owen, Grand)

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Rock sporings buttress... very cool featured granite, long approach, tons of routes

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secret Teton Canyon Zone

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Dog Wall (4p, 5.12+ or 3p 5.11) goes up the edge of the black just above Matt's head and traverses L on a ledge a little before following bolts straight up and finishing on the giant roof just L of the sun.

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Morning clouds at CMC camp

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Standing water post-storm in the tent

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Of course the day just cleared perfectly after I'd retreated and shwacked my way to the trail... at least the sun was out for some swimming.

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TR soloing the shiite out of Blacktail Butte

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