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Grand Teton (Owen-Spalding)
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By Daniel.
From SLC, Utah
Aug 27, 2014
Some friends and I got a surprise three day weekend over labor day and are looking to climb the Owen Spalding route on the Teton. While we are technically competent, we are lacking in alpine experience and are interested in any and all beta for this route, including the possibility that the route is beyond our skill level.

For background. Ive been climbing for a number of years, but am relatively fresh to trad. I've been comfortable leading on gear on routes up to 5.7 my partners are both capable of climbing up to this grade, but have little to no leading experience on gear.

Suggestions, thoughts? Should we expect ice still? Some descriptions have said it persists year round on some variations of the climb. Should that be a major concern?

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By fastskier25
Aug 27, 2014
I was thinking of doing this as well this weekend, but it looks like the weather might not be cooperating. tetonclimbinggrand.blogspot.co... . There's like a 40% chance of thunderstorms this weekend as well. I'm going to call the ranger station tomorrow and see what they think. And as far as beta, This link has a topo/map of the technical section, its only about 3 pitches and doesn't look too bad, but if theres ice in the chimneys it might go harder than 5.4 . And there's some sections with like a thousand feet of exposure


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By Andrew Carson
From Wilson, WY
Aug 27, 2014
Gallatin Canyon
We've had over a week of nasty weather, including a fair bit of snow in the high peaks, so the OS is going to be a terribly icy ascent. I'd suggest turning your sights to the upper XM, only slightly harder -- alot longer, but not much more technical -- and avoiding the problems of the OS in bad conditions. It will probably get worse before it gets better, as the mountain thaws out and the dripping into and onto the OS continues.

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By Sean Peter
From IL
Aug 27, 2014
For detailed weather info for the area go to mountainweather.com - it's updated every weekday morning (come saturday you just get a more general report without the lightning forecast etc).
Also- (I guess the site is down for reconstruction) there's TONS of detailed info at yomingwhiskey.org BUT the only way to get to it right now is to not enter the address in your browser- but go to google - enter yomingwhiskey.org in the search bar …. (it should be the top result) - Below the title click the little drop down menu arrow to access the CACHED page - and it should take you there. Not sure how navigable the site is when it's just cached though…
But yeah- check out the Jenny Lake rangers blog per fast skier to see photos of what Andrew is talking about - - - tetonclimbing.blogspot.com

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By Allen Sanderson
From Oootah
Aug 27, 2014
Stairway To Heaven - all the way to the Pearly Gat...
All ya need is a day, a bacon sandwich, and an extra pair of trousers.


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By Eric Thomas
From Colorado
Aug 27, 2014
Second flatiron solo
This may sound like a trollish response, but I can assure you it's not.
Just solo it. I was just in the Tetons last week partnerless. I read a ton of beta on the pros/cons of soloing it and decided that given how many people are guided up the OS route, I could probably figure it out based off the "conga line".
If everyone is fine with easy exposed fifth class (and limited exposure), this will complicate things a lot less. And you'll summit way quicker by sneaking between a guided group.

Some tips:

  • the double chimney -- the left one has ice right now, but it was not an issue when I went through it. The right one will still be doable for a 5.7 climber
  • Get to the lower saddle early so you can follow the trail of headlamps to the top
  • Wear you helmet by (if not earlier) the fixed rope.
  • The storms come in quick. It will be blue bird and then ten minutes later, a storm will take you out.
  • It's not necessary, but if anyone in your party is not comfortable downclimbing, bring a light rope for the rappel.

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By Charlie Jonas
From Jackson, Wyoming
Aug 28, 2014
Typically in August I would recommend soloing as well. The exposed and technical sections of the OS are really not worth hauling a bunch of gear. However the recent weather has probably put a good bit of ice on the route. Andrews advice on doing the XM is worth following. It a better route anyways, especially if you are going to rope up. It's also an easy solo (you can skip the friction and v pitch by staying right).

As I recall, Wyoming Whiskey had some good beta photos on their blog. The OS is easy route finding. Hike to the upper saddle, traverse the belly roll, climb a couple easy chimneys, continue up 4th class to the top. Down climb back the way you came or find the rap station. People are normally queued up on the rap station so be careful not to kick off any loose rock approaching it.

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By Daniel.
From SLC, Utah
Aug 28, 2014
thanks for the great info guys, we are currently planning on the Upper Exum, which certainly looks more interesting to me.

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By EricF
From San Francisco
Aug 28, 2014
Also a great resource for weather in the Tetons

mountainweather.com

The exum is definitely a more fun route, BUT.. it is long and with a party of three, being new to climbing with gear, will take you hours+. The descent, once in the upper saddle can also be confusing if you don't know where you are going, climbing the OS you climb what is the descent and that can help, the exam you don't.

With a new party of 3 on exum you will more than likely be one of the last parties on the summit and not be able to follow parties down the nasty gully back to the lower saddle. If you do go as a party of three go climb a multi pitch route together and get your system figured before you get up on the mountain, it is a much more difficult route to bail off of than the OS. Whatever you pick have fun, be safe, hope the weather works out!

Also if you do OS with three people its really not much gear to bring if you feel uncomfortable, maybe five cams, set of nuts and a rope, spread the weight out and your fine. You can also do the OS much easier in day if the weather window is short and not have to carry bivy gear up to the meadows/saddle, making you gear load even less.

When did the Wyoming Whiskey site go down???

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By Paul Merchant
Aug 28, 2014
In ideal conditions it takes about 12-13 hours to summit the Grand via OS solo parking lot to parking lot. That is for a person that knows the route. Route finding is not totaling straight forward on the Grand. This can add hours to your total time. It will be probably a busy weekend so there maybe people to follow or get beta en route. If you do go Upper Exum make sure you follow someone off summit to help guide your descent. If you end up in wrong gully it can be potentially be a fatal mistake. It is not uncommon for afternoon thunderstorms as well so it is best to try and be off the upper grand by two or three. Since you are a party of three I would recommend two forty meter ropes to split weight and will be long enough for repel joined together. A single rack with nuts is plenty if plan on placing gear. There are many youtube videos that show you what to expect. Move fast as you can and have fun.

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By Sean Peter
From IL
Aug 28, 2014
Allen Sanderson wrote:
All ya need is a day, a bacon sandwich, and an extra pair of trousers.

What a great video!

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By Matthew Abbott
Aug 28, 2014
You should contact the Jenny Lake Rangers at (307)739-3343 to speak with a ranger to get a direct description of the current conditions. As of this morning, ice axes and crampons are necessary. They received about 6-8 inches above 11,000 ft in the series of storms over the past weekend. I think it is safe to say that you will encounter ice/ snow build up for parts of your time at elevation this weekend if you still choose to go. If you lack experience in alpine endeavors these are non-optimal conditions. The rangers are your best bet at assisting you in making a smart decision.

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By James Hicks
From Denver, CO
Aug 28, 2014
Rapping off of South Six Shooter.
We bailed on our plans for the Tetons this weekend as well due to the weather. If you don't have a ton of alpine experience I would find an alternate activity for this weekend, IMO at least. It will be cold, with low 30's or upper 20's up high at night and highs in the low 40's. The winds look like they could be rough as well.

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By Daniel.
From SLC, Utah
Aug 29, 2014
Yeah, our party decided to bail this afternoon as well. I found I had brought much less cold weather clothing with me (when i moved earlier in the summer) than I had thought, and all of us were intimidated by the prospect of that much snow and wind.

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