Climbing Close to Home

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The Tetons offer a mix of challenges for climbers of most any ability – from pure rock climbs to high elevation mix of snow, ice, and rock. The following popular climbs are mentioned for their relative short and easy approaches, moderate ratings, and enjoyable climbing. Considering these are popular routes, don’t expect to be the only party on a given route however, there are possible variations to stay out way of others and comfortable belay ledges to take a break and allow faster parties to pass.

Guides Wall A couple miles up Cascade Canyon is one of the more easily accessed, enjoyable, south facing (warm), multi pitch climbs – Guides Wall
Guides Wall provides a great “warm up” for some of the higher elevation climbs in Grand Teton National Park. Plan on six pitches of climbing with a 60m rope (or less pitches with 70m) with difficulty ranging between 5.8 and 5.10 depending on route followed. Hang packs in any number of dead trees just below the start of the first pitch which begins just 15 up & around the corner.

Multiple variations, beginning with the first pitch, allow opportunity to bypass other parties or take line of choice. The final 5.8 pitch finishes at a bolted rap station requiring two ropes for this and the next three rappels. The 2nd & 3rd rap’s are off slinged trees, the fourth and final rap is again bolted.

Baxters Pinnacle has the shortest approach of any climb in Grand Teton National Park and can easily be climbed in a morning, allowing for additional climbing options or other actives for the balance of the day.
There are number options for hanging a pack at the base of the climb but be sure to hang your pack high off the ground to keep marmots and chipmunks at bay.
The number of pitches vary depending on your starting point but typical 5 pitches will get you to the top of the pinnacle.
Pitches range from 5.5 to 5.9 with the crux being the first couple moves of the last pitch.
A one rope rappel gets you off the pinnacle followed by a steep 4th / 5th class down climb to the southeast. One may choose to rap the first part of the down climb from a slinged tree to avoid down climbing the steepest part of the descent.

To shorten approach time for both Guides Wall and Baxters Pinnacle, one may take a boat (nominal fee) across Jenny Lake. To make the return trip to the east side of the lake, be sure make it to the Hidden Falls boat by 6pm to catch the last boat of the day.

Rock Springs Buttress located on the south side of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is an obvious mass off granite – easily viewed when approaching Teton Village from the south. While most every climb at Rock Springs Buttress is reason enough to make the hour plus hike up (or half hour down from tram) Tolle Road & Exum Arête are couple of the best moderate options.

Tolle Road goes at 5.8 and can be done in 3 to 5 pitches depending on rope length. A series of steep corner systems makes this climb fairly straight forward and multiple bolted belay/rappel anchors allow for shorter pitch options. Quality rock and easy of route finding define this climb.

Exum Arête is a mix of trad and sport at 5.9+ and, like Tolle Road, has multiple bolted anchors allowing for pitch length options and one rope rappels. Plan on 3 to 5 pitches – 3 with a 70m rope.
Great position on the arête provides spectacular views of the valley and surrounding area – be sure to take your time at any of the belay ledges to take it all in.

All routes mentioned above can be protected with a single set of cams to #3 and set of nuts, plus a number of longer slings to keep rope drag to a minimum.
For detailed approach, route, and gear information refer to A Climbers Guide to the Teton Range by Leigh Ortenburger and Reynold Jackson or Teton Rock Climbs by Aaron Gams.