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[TR] Grand Teton - Upper Exum Ridge 7/16/2011

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Trip: Grand Teton - Upper Exum Ridge


Date: 7/16/2011


Trip Report:

Fun climb with the mounties...

Last week, we were going to climb Buckner, Torment and Forbidden, but the weather looked crappy in the cascades, so changed plans mid drive and headed towards the Tetons...


We climbed the Upper Exum on the Grand Teton with gorgeous weather and good conditions.


We simlclimbed most of the easier stuff, and pitched out 5 pitches: the golden staircase, the double cracks and friction slab(combined into 1 pitch), the open book, the left leaning cracks above the open book, and the crack in the boulder above this. We set a hand line across the step on wall street


View from the lower saddle showing the shadow of the range



Finding wall street is the first challenge. The eye of the needle was snowed in, so we went a couple hundred feet past the chock stone chimney then headed right, following the path of least resistance to a notch were we could see wall street. We had to cross a 75ft snow couloir to get from the notch to wall street.

From the ridge head up the golden stair case(or you can skirt it to the right) and run out the pitch as there is another ~5.2 part a bit further. Then simlclimb on 200 ft up an easy broad gully until you hit a big wall. Go up to the wall(until you can touch it), turn right and go up a 5 ft wide chimney/gully. After 75ft you break out of the chimney, and are at the base of a broad gully (to your left now). Make your way up that through the path of least resistance. The gully comes to a head in ~150 ft, continue simlclimbing to the right of a steeper section, then back left heading for the crest of the ridge. You’ll end up at the base of a right facing corner with double cracks. You can do a long pitch from there up the double cracks and the friction pitch above it.


Lower part of route



Upper part of route



Somewhere on route



Start simlclimbing again right around a steeper part and up a gully (some snow, so we climbed mostly on the rock left of the snow). If you keep going up the gully you could probably skip the open book pitch without too much difficulty, but to get to it, keep an eye out for a minor notch on your left (on the skyline), also look up when you are on the ridge below so you know about how far you have to go. The open book is super fun somewhat exposed easy climbing.


From the top on the open book, easy scramble 50 ft to the base of the next bump, and go left around it under an overhanging cave to a left angled crack(it’s a small ramp when you get up close). On this scramble you might see people descending, it looks like you could scramble around to the summit and skip the top of the climb if you wanted. To stay on route climb this crack/ramp trying not get your pack stuck and head back to the ridge and follow it as far as you can. We did one more pitch, staying on the ridge, it was 3-4th class except for 1 boulder problem up a splitter crack in a boulder on the ridge. We unroped just before an au cheval ridge and continued on rock and snow to the summit(class3, exposed)


Summit shot



Descend towards the upper saddle following the path of least resistance (class3+, exposed in places, ramps back and forth). We rapped down a chimney and the final double rap off bolts to the upper saddle(according to the ranger, if you just have 1 60 meter rope, so can rap off the slings on the boulder to skiers left on the bolts, and if you are careful to stay as far to skiers left as you can when rappelling, you can get down that way (with rope stretch).

Below the upper saddle there was quite a bit of snow in the enclosure(I think that is what it is called, the gully to skiers right). We tried to avoid it by saying on the ridge in the middle of the gullies, then going skiers left for a couple hundred feet before crossing right. This worked ok, but we had to do 2 raps or a class4+ downclimb. There must be a better way to the descent but we couldn’t find it. There were also tracks going down the snow but it was soft and over significant running water, so we avoided that.


PhotoSynth from the top

Grand Teton PhotoSynth


Gear Notes:

Ice Axe, No crampons when we went


Approach Notes:

There was some fairly steep snow on the approach to the lower saddle. A moat with stream under it was just melting out in the middle of a glissade path, don’t go that way.

Edited by ClimbAndSki

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i was thinking about going there this weekend.... any ideas on what the north ridge approach/climb would be like with their huge snowpack.


I was there 3 weeks ago and the last 1/2 approach to the snaz/caveat was under about 5 feet of snow.

I had to let the ranger who was hiking with us use my ice ax (i used my pole and he tossed it in my truck).

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