Sunday, July 20, 2014

Grand Teton Climbing Conditions - July 19th, 2014

Grand Teton Climbing Conditions
Upper Exum & Owen-Spalding Routes
Saturday, July 19th - The Grand Teton Triathlon

Grand Teton Triathlon
Kelly Halpin and Tristan Greszko taking a picnic break from the Grand Teton Triathlon.

Three people completed "The Picnic" on Saturday. A group was up last week.
Tristan & Kelly completed the first self-supported picnic following
the original route with one exception - the last swimming leg.
Kelly is the first woman to complete the triathlon.  - -

Nick was planning to climb the Upper Exum but the winds & crowds changed his mind.
You'll find some suggestions about running the GTT at the bottom of the post.
Nick's swimming leg was out and back.

~ Current Conditions ~
From the Jenny Lake Climbing Rangers 
Call at 307.739.3343, 8-5pm MST during the peak of the summer.

~ Weather ~
GTNP/MesoWest Lower Saddle Weather Station
Fire & Smoke Map
The GTNP Air Quality website

Visit WyomingWhiskey.NET for a guide to the UXM & OS routes. Webcams

Now is the time to attempt record runs on the Grand Teton. Runners can take advantage of snow fields and dry rock for super fast round-trips. Climbing conditions will be at their best over the next few weeks and possibly longer. For a completely dry approach, wait a week. As always, be on the lookout for low overnight temperatures after storms and every other safety hazard related to conditions and climbing in general.

~ Fastest Known Grand Teton Round-Trip Times (FKT) ~

~ Grand Teton's OS Route FKT ~

~ Grand Traverse FKT ~
Rolando Garibotti 6:49
Woman's record
Kim Csizmazia 12:26

Rolando & Kim ran together on Kim's record time.

Map of the Grand Traverse
The distance to the top of the Grand Teton via the OS route was estimated to be 7.7 miles from the Lupine Meadows trailhead with a gain of about 7000 ft. (1.3 miles). The 7.7 miles is often disputed. Kilian's GPS watch recorded a 12 mile round-trip with shortcuts. Google Earth pegs the round-trip near 13.8 miles.

On the Grand Traverse, Rolando has the overall elevation gain near 12,000 feet and a distance near 14 miles. An Outside Magazine story has a "total elevation change of more than 20,000 feet" and a distance near 14 miles. The distance should be greater than the round-trip distance of the OS route. The level of climbing difficulty ranges up to 5.8 on the Grand Traverse (YDS class).

UPDATE July 22:  The skies have cleared of smoke for now. Air Quality Web Cam.  Two preteens are climbing the Grand today.  Wednesday's forecast is for 51° F on the summit. The weekend forecast is for perfect weather.

Will Cornyn, 36, of San Francisco, California did not have a pulse when one of several search teams found him lying below a steep cliff band near Inspiration Point above Jenny Lake. 

Additionally, Scott Huntsman, 48, of Salt Lake City, Utah and his climbing guide with Exum Mountain Guides were attempting the Grand Traverse of the Teton peaks and had just descended to Gunsight Notch above Valhalla Canyon at approximately 4 p.m. Monday when a rockfall, possibly triggered by the afternoon rainstorm, struck Huntsman and injured his foot. 

UPDATE July 21st:  Joanna Wang, 23, of Boyds, Maryland received a serious injury to her leg as she jumped from a rock while descending the Cache Couloir above the Platforms in Garnet Canyon about 4:30 Sunday afternoon.

 The Platforms camping zone is in the trees, and
 just SE of the 1st boulder field.

Trip Report July 19th:

The wind speed never got below 20 mph in the 24 hours preceding noon on Sunday and the lowest wind speed since midnight (Sunday a.m.) was 24 mph. Wind gusts hit 56 mph. A little wind chill.

Sunday's 24 hr summary at noon.

Conditions are very good on the OS & UXM routes. We did not take crampons or an ice axe. We did take a single hiking pole. A tiny patch of verglas was in the Owen Chimney. Overnight temperatures are still in the low 30's on the summit block. The NWS forecast can be off by several degrees when it comes to temperatures above the Lower Saddle. The climbing routes are mostly dry. Mixed conditions cover the approach once inside Garnet Canyon. We took the 'winter trail' up to the Lower Saddle. Climbers will probably be switching over to the summer route by next weekend. The Fixed Rope at the Lower Saddle was being used but the bootpack may be easier until the snow above the Fixed Rope is completely gone. Be careful near snow-rock interfaces on the approach. The following pictures were taken on the Owen-Spalding route. The last Upper Exum Trip Report was on July 4th. Last week's Owen-Spalding Trip Report has a more extensive photo collection of features.

Wilderness Ventures had a large group of young adults heading out for the Grand on Saturday. Word on the street is that local ski bum Carson Meyer, 18-years-old, will be attempting the Grand Teton Triathlon in the near future. Carson has been climbing for most of his life. Swimming?

Click on a photo to see a larger size.

View back down from the top of the Meadows' Headwall.
Garnet Canyon's Meadows is in the background.
This is the north fork of Garnet Canyon and on the 'winter trail'.

Morainal Lip - eastern edge of moraines & above the steeper part of the Meadows' Headwall.

View from the Morainal Lip above the Meadows' Headwall.
East Face of the Grand in background.

View toward the 'summer trail' from the 'winter trail'

Middle Teton Glacier below the Lower Saddle's Headwall.
Still snow above the Fixed Rope.

Lower Saddle's Fixed Rope. Some interesting variations going on.

Climbers on the bootpack at the Lower Saddle's Headwall.

View from the Lower Saddle toward the Morainal Camping Zone.

View of the Central Rib's Bench above the couloir (drainage).

One of the many variations to reach the Central Rib's Bench.
The Briggs Slab would have been safer but this is a shortcut for some climbers.
The Briggs Slab is just 20-30 ft to the south along the headwall and
above the Chockstone Chimney's NE corner.

A busy and WINDY Wall Street. We were planning to go this way - UXM - and choose not to.
The OS was pretty quiet. It was like having E-ZPass.

Nick moving into the Black Rock Chimney from the Central Rib's Bench.

View toward the Enclosure from the upper Central Rib.

Every so often, climbers mistakenly head toward the GWC and
bypass the Double Chimney. There is a bypass, but most climbers aren't
intending to take it.

Shoes like these will really slow you down on the ascent but they are good for
mixed conditions and protection from ankle injuries over uneven terrain.
The climber is outside the Crawl during the descent.

Nick coming out of the Double Chimney.

Idaho side looked really bad - dark layer of smoke moving over Idaho.
Enclosure to left.

Smoky view from summit.

Jeff checking out the USGS's summit monument.

Smoky view from summit.

Smoky view from summit.

Nick at the summit.

Climbers using the Owen Chimney's parallel bypass.

One of the many ways to get into the 2nd entrance of the Double Chimney.
This climber is accessing the entrance from the lower ledge.
1 of 3 photos - see below.

2nd Entrance to Double Chimney.
The lead climber is in the cleavage that leads north to the Great West Chimney.
The photographer is in the DC.

2nd Entrance to Double Chimney

Nasty scree above the location where Mary “Mimi” Conley Bilyeu died last week.
This is just below the Upper Saddle's crest by the flaky boulder problem.
A chute drops into the Wall Street Couloir (AKA Exum Gully) - see following pictures

Approach to the flaky boulder problem. Chute is to the left

View down the chute.

Exum group by the upper access to the Black Rock Chimney along
the Central Rib - next to drainage to Wall Street Couloir.

View of Upper Western Rib - camera turned to match slope.

Briggs Slab 1 of 3 - see below.

Briggs Slab

Briggs Slab

View to the east from the Lower Saddle.

Kelly & Tristan

Nick by the crevasse on the headwall.

Lower Saddle's bootpack

Climber on the 'summer trail'. View from 'winter trail'.

Lupine Meadows Trailhead
Nick riding into the S. Jenny Lake parking area for the swim.
Nick swimming in Jenny lake 

Visual Range is back to nicer levels - MONDAY July 21st.

 Air Quality Web Cam
 Less smoke. More Blue Skies on Tuesday, July 22nd.

Climbers' Ranch AAC
 The snow is almost completely off Mt. Glory. Generally speaking,
the conditions on the Grand Teton's UXM & OS routes 
are at their best once the snow burns off Glory.

General Information

Grand Teton Webcams
Select  2013  Trip Reports
The OS is rated a 5.4 & the UXM a 5.5
August 11th Conditions UXM
September 14th Conditions UXM
September 21st Conditions OS
October 26th Conditions OS
2014 TR's
June 21st Conditions UXM
July 4th Conditions UXM
July 12th Conditions OS

Our website is being updated; however,
it will still provide you with some critical information about
soloing the Upper Exum & Owen-Spalding routes. You're
reading our blog about current conditions.

Other Trip Reports
"Light & Fast on the Grand Teton"
is a nice free-soloing blog post from Owen-Spalding via Catwalk Owen-Spalding via Owen Chimney Upper Exum Upper Exum Upper Exum Route
Greta Jensen's 2012 Grand Adventure
Grand Teton Links & Stats
GTNP Peaks
Grand Traverse Pataclimb .com
Outside Mag 2012 Grand Traverse

 Mark P Thomas has some excellent Teton trip
 reports. Check these out:
Teton Grand Slam & Lower Exum TR

Google Upper Exum
Google Owen-Spalding

Virtual Tours
A Climber's Guide to the Teton Range 'The Bible'
Teton Classics: 50 Selected Climbs in Grand Teton National Park
Teton Rock Climbs: A Select Guide to the Teton Range's Best Alpine Routes
 Select Peaks of Greater Yellowstone
All books are available at the Teton County Library.
Find books at your library.   

Grand Teton National Park Information
GTNP Trailhead Maps
Lupine Meadows Trailhead &
Approach to Garnet Canyon (PDF)
GTNP Winter Map (PDF) Link
GTNP Winter Guide & MAP (PDF) Link
 (Other Maps are further below) 
Information (307) 739-3300 
Best of the Tetons - Outstanding Photo Blog
13775' is the Grand Teton's Official Height
USGS 7.5 min Grand Teton 2012 (GeoPDF-zip) 1968 PDF-zip / TIFF
Bear Safety 

Backcountry Camping - NEW FEES

GTNP is putting the screws to individuals wishing to overnight in the backcountry. Backcountry campers will be charged a $25 fee for each walk-in permit ($35 in advance). If you're alone, that's an unjustified fee. Your public lands aren't so public and accessible. If you're in a group, the fee will have less of a financial impact because a backcountry permit for Grand Teton can cover between one and six people. Backcountry permits can be obtained at the Jenny Lake Ranger Station or the Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center.

Local Climbing Shops
Teton Mountaineering -  also rents gear (Google)
Moosely Mountaineering -  also rents gear (Google)

Skinny Skis - mostly backcountry gear (Google)
High Country Outfitters - no climbing hardware (Google)
Teton Backcountry Rentals

Local Climbing Guides
Exum Mountain Guides
Jackson Hole Mountain Guides
Wilderness Ventures (Programs for Teens)

Lost & Found Items
Contact the nearest Visitor Center
or call the Lost & Found Hotline at
(307) 739-3350 and leave a message.

Telephone Numbers
GTNP Lost & Found 307.733.3350
GTNP Emergency Dispatch 307.739.3301, or 911
Jenny Lake Ranger Station 307.739.3343 8-5 pm the winter call 307.739.3309
Moose Visitor Center 307.739.3399
Winter Hotline 307.739.3399
Visitor Information 307.739.3300
Public Affairs Office  307.739.3393
Moosely Mountaineering (in GTNP) 307.739.1801
Climber's Ranch (in GTNP) 307.733.7271
Weather NWS 1-800-211-1448 or GT 307.739.3611

Jackson Hole Forecast
NWS 7-Day Forecast near the Grand Teton
The above point forecast near the GT
(shown below "Current Conditions")

is at 43.74N 110.79W Elev. 11598 ft.
The "Current Conditions" are only for Jackson.
 Weather Access Map from
WeatherSpark Forecast Map

Be sure to read any Watches, Warnings, Advisories, or
Hazardous Weather Outlook messages.
Weather 1-800-211-1448 or 307.739.3611

 NOAA's Online School for Weather

Radar / Satellite
NWS's US Radar Loop Map
Wilderness First Aid
Altitude sickness

The body needs time to adjust to higher elevations. The reduced air pressure means thinner air, or less oxygen. With fewer oxygen molecules in every breath, the body has to work harder. As oxygen in the lungs decreases, the blood becomes less efficient at circulating it to the brain and other organs. At an altitude of 13,775 ft (4200 m) an average person has 9% less oxygen in their blood at rest as they would at sea level. As soon as any exercise is taken, the oxygen level in the blood decreases further. Altitude sickness has stopped many climbers from ascending the Grand Teton and its effects can become a serious safety hazard. In groups, individual denial of hazardous symptoms is very common.

Emergency Care
Emerg+A+Care After hours call 307-733-8002 for 24/7 service.
Powderhorn Mall 982 W Broadway
Dr. Hayse often works late & w/o appointment.
307-733-6700 269 W Broadway

~ Grand Teton Triathlon suggestions ~

Choose perfect-weather days. We usually have plenty. Soloing the Grand is preferred but it's your picnic. Test your swimming skills in Jenny Lake with your wetsuit before attempting this if you aren't used to such activities. Unless you're special, you'll need full body armor for the swim - hoodie, booties, a warm full-coverage wetsuit. The water temperature rarely gets above 60°F. Cramping or freezing in the middle of the lake is not good. Neither is complete physical exhaustion. You may want to choose a swimming line that runs near the shoreline if you don't have a chaperone. You can map out a line, or lines, in Google Earth. Kelly & Tristan used boogie boards to haul gear. The boards can be used as a safety device. You can also swim out and back so that you end up back where you started and skip hauling gear across the lake. Let the Jenny Lake Boating operators know if you'll be crossing the lake during the day. Get a good night's sleep. Being tired out of the gate seems like a greater safety issue. It should be fun, not a health hazard. You can rent a wetsuit at several place in town including Rendezvous River Sports. Park a car the day before your triathlon at Jenny Lake in case you need to bail. BRING PLENTY OF FOOD & LIQUIDS. Lastly, it's your picnic. You can follow the traditional course and try to beat Ryan Burke’s 11:30 GTT time or design your own picnic and test yourself.

Enjoy Safe Climbing