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beta or advice for upper exum or CMC route
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By mike526
From schaumburg
Jan 23, 2013
Planning on going to GTNP end of June with the intention of climbing the Owen Spaulding route. Was also looking at the upper exum and CMC route and was wondering how much harder the climbing is. I know that both routes have more of a commitment factor and that exum can be hard to bail off of if weather turns bad.

Was looking for any info one might have about these two routes as to hard hard you felt it was. Was route finding difficult etc.

Thanks

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By jon weekley
From Denver, Co
Jan 23, 2013
avocado gully
You can follow the guides up OS if you sleep in a bit. Don't let the route descriptions to the upper saddle distract you (if you wake up early). There are only a couple of roped pitches on OS and no particular hard moves. On the other hand upper Exum is all roped pitches for many parties with lots of moderate fun rock climbing. Do OS first to figure out the decent, then find wall street on the way down for your next time up. Once your across the step it's tough to get lost. June is still pretty early, so expect snow and ice.

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By mark felber
From Wheat Ridge, CO
Jan 23, 2013
I recall the Upper Exum being much more aesthetic than O-S, as well as being in the sun and therefore less likely to be iced up or snow covered in June, which is a bit early in the season.

CMC route on Moran is fun, too. Both routes are more likely to have better climbing conditions (i.e., free of ice and snow) and will get more sun than the O-S. I would suggest skipping O-S and doing Upper Exum and CMC routes.

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By mike526
From schaumburg
Jan 27, 2013
Was wondering if anyone had good advice for what length rope to use. I currently own a 70 meter, but something tells me it might be a pain in the ass to climb with a 70. Just wondering what works best for the raps.

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By Abovethebolt
Jan 27, 2013
Can rap w a 60. That's all we've taken.

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By JCM
From Seattle, WA
Jan 27, 2013
mike526 wrote:
Was wondering if anyone had good advice for what length rope to use. I currently own a 70 meter, but something tells me it might be a pain in the ass to climb with a 70. Just wondering what works best for the raps.


You can do the rap(s) down the OS from the summit to the Upper Saddle with a (full) 60. Many people will tell you otherwise, and many people take 2 ropes for the rap. This is unneccesary; if you use the right stations a 60 is exactly adequate (without any significant mandatory downclimbing). Just make sure to get good detailed beta about which rap stations to use. So, I would recommend taking the lightest 60 you have; I did the Exum with one 60m 8.4 mm rope, and that was perfect.

As to difficulty: The actual difficultly of cruxes on the (upper) Exum is not actually any higher than the OS; the difference is that the Exum is much more sustained at upper 4th to low 5th class. Also, the Exum is a much better route. The OS is basically an ugly, loose 3rd class choss gully for the vast majority of the route, finishing with 1-2 pitches of low 5th at the top. You don't have to be that fast on the actual roped climbing; most of the route is just unroped steep gully hiking. So while the Exum is a better rotue, the OS is better if you are not comfortable simulclimbing, moving quickly on multipitch terrain, etc.

The Exum, on the other hand, is a beautiful ridge climb on golden-colored rock. It is actually rock climbing for most of the way, though, so you need to know what you are doing.

Lastly, June is an iffy month for the Tetons. Snow/ice could still be an issue, which could complicate things if you are not prepared for a more wintry alpine experience. If you want the summer alpine rock experience (approach shoes and rock shoes instead of boots and crampons), go later in the summer.

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By Ryan N
From San Louis Obispo
Jan 27, 2013
RJN
Just did this in August. I highly recommend the Upper Exum. The 7 mile hike up there doesn't make the OS worth it, unless your shooting for the grand in a day? To get yourself familiar with the route is very necessary. Hike from lupine meadows early and camp at lower saddle. Hike the rest of the approach after you set up camp. The next day, in the early am hours if you wake up around 3am you can follow the guides up the approach of the route. This is how I did it and would have probably missed the traverse from the gully to Wall Street. In the dark it's very easy to get off trail. Once you hit Wall Street, in full season, you should be able to follow other parties up the whole route. As far as needing a 70m rope, it's not necessary at all. Though it does make the rap down OS easier ( 2 instead of 3 ), none of the pitches require it. There are really only 2 pitches on UE that require roping up anyway. Have fun and leave most of that rack at home, it's very easy terrain. Also don't think that the descent is a gimme. It's VERY loose and easy to get cliffed, read up on it. I found the website yomingwhiskey.org to be better than MP and the orttebeker? guide. That guy details every move and pitch. Be safe.

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By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From Bend, OR
Jan 27, 2013
Racked and loaded... name that splitter behind me? Hint, its on Supercrack Buttress
Last week of July I always found to be primo. Winter snows tend to be gone, warmest days of the year, and usually before the first August storm coats the West faces with a bit of ice. Nice long days too.

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By Ray Pinpillage
From West Egg
Jan 27, 2013
Middle
The O-S is probably going to be full of ice in June. Personally I'd wait until July or later. The Upper Exum is easy, I did the direct in late September and didn't use a rope on the upper after doing the lower. Descending the O-S was a grind. We did the Direct Exum car to car.

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