Fun climbing and clean rock on a warm (in the lee of the prevailing winds with full sun until early afternoon), crowd-free and scenic part of the mountain characterize the technical part of this climb. Throw in a low hassle approach and a thousand feet of enjoyable but not gripping scrambling to the summit and you have a classic alpine experience. Ortenburger ranks this as one of the about 35 "highest quality, true classics" of the range.
Note: the following pitch break out is slightly different than Ortenburger's. Also note that the grading scale O used for this route seemed considerably softer than the one he used for cragging routes such as Caveat Emptor.
P1: Up the short RF corner to a small roof/alcove (5.8) then step left onto a ledge/slab. Angle L across the slab for ~20' to some vertical cracks that lead to an RF corner. Up these easy cracks to corner (~5.8) then continue up easier cracks to a small ledge just below the point where the crack widens to 3-4". 5.8 ~140'.
P2: Up the crack which is hands and fists for its first 30' (5.8) and then widens to OW. 20' of OW (~5.7) leads to easier climbing and a ledge. Veer right on easy ground and up 20' to another, larger ledge system. Belay at some large blocks about 20' below a 10' high flake. (Note this links Ortenburger P2 & 3. Also the O topo is confusing, indicating that at the end of the pitch, after the crack, you go R as described here AND you go L to face climbing above the flakes; the flake variation puts you on climbing that is harder than anything else on the route with ledge fall potential.) O indicates you might want "some 4-inch pieces" for this pitch. One #4 is plenty (save it for the upper section) and solid wide crack climbers won't even need this -- there are some side cracks and pods were small pro can be placed. 5.8 ~120'.
P3: Up the steep face, past the flake (5.7) to a sloping ledge which is traversed L for about 40' (5.5, no pro) until below a 100' tall open book capped with a roof. Establish a belay here, trying not to stomp on the floral hummocks.
P4: Up cracks right of the corner (5.7) until they merge with the corner. Up corner easily until a small, pegmatitey roof/bulge is encountered and passed on the R (5.9-). Continue up to the large roof, step R to a ledge and belay. 5.9-, 120'.
P5: Up cracks for about 20', then traverse L on a sloping ramp until a vertical crack on black rock. 5.5, ~100'.
P6: Up this crack for about 30' where it joins the Underhill ridge. Follow a corner crack past a fixed pin (classic 5.6) then continue on easy ground to the summit of the Underhill ridge. 5.6 200'.
At this point (~12,900') we unroped, crossed the 50'wide, snow covered saddle, and zig-zagged up third and fourth class terrain to the summit, avoiding snow fields. We encountered a short ~5.5 step near the bottom and a short ~5.4 chimney near the top.
The "east" faces actually faces SE. The route is located just around the corner to the east of the Underhill ridge. For those trying to do the route in a day, the best approach may be up Teepe glacier -- see Ortenburger for details. The approach from Lower Saddle is as for Lower Exum, Petzoldt and Underhill. From Lower Saddle hike up the Owens Spaulding trail for about 10 minutes until a faint trail branches off to the right; this trail is hard to find in the dark so either wait until it is light enough to see or scout out the turnoff before hand. Follow this trail past the Exum, Petzoldt and Underhill ridges and across the bottom of the Stetner Couloir (no snow in mid July) to Teepe Col. From the col, descend trending left for ~ 200' on rubble to a low angle ridge; in mid July we were just able to skirt a frozen snowfield which could have been problematic a couple of weeks earlier. From the low angle ridge, walk up right/North to a ledge system, passing a large L-facing corner until below large ~150' long R-facing corner. BEF1 starts about 20' left and 20' above this point. From the low angle ridge to the start takes about five minutes; LS to the start took us about 75 minutes. The climb starts at a series of cracks in a short, ill-defined r-facing corner just left of a prominent roof. 20' of 5.5ish scrambling is between the end of the walking and the start of the climbing proper.
Doing this route from Lower Saddle in mid July we did not take, nor ever feel we needed, ice axe and crampons.
We took the following rack but did not place many of the pieces:
2 & 3 RP; 2 ea 1-4 Rock; 5-8 Rock; green, yellow and red Alien; .3 - #4 Camalot with 2 ea #1 & #2; 1.5 & 2 Friend; the four smallest Tricams.
If I did the route again, I would take 1 each of: 1-8 Rock; green, yellow and red Alien; .5 - #3 Camalot; four smallest Tricams. However, many people will feel more comfortable in the OW with a 4" piece.
Rob Springer high on the SE slopes of the Grand Te...
From the belay above the 5.9 pitch.
BETA PHOTO: Beyer East Face
Below the 5.7 'flake' pitch.
BETA PHOTO: Pitch 2 splitter.
best fist crack in the Teton's
|By Nick Stayner|
From: The Magic City
Jul 16, 2007
David's description is good. Pitches 3 & 4 as he describes them can be linked with a 70m, as can 5 & 6.
As of 7/8/07, no ice axe was needed for the approach, route, or descent.
|By Eric Goltz|
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 30, 2007
This is an excellent route, although there are some dirty sections. As always, beware of loose rocks and flakes, I dislodged a cannonball on the 'flake' pitch. I got the impression that the route isn't done often; there's only 1 piece of fixed gear (pin) on the route, on the last pitch. I recommend bringing a #4 Camalot. Although the offwidth section is easy, there isn't really any alternative gear. Don't expect to wait in line for this route, you'll be alone until you get to the rap station on top!
Aug 22, 2012
This is a spectacular route. As we watched countless parties head up the south face routes, we enjoyed this climb to ourselves. Solid and well protected the whole way up. If anybody does the route this year, I left a watch at the bottom of the 4th "open book" pitch. Would love to get it back if anyone happens upon it.
|By Stan Pitcher|
From: SLC, UT
Sep 3, 2013
This is a good description that I should have read closer concerning the start. Don't make the same mistake I did and begin traverse left too early! If you do it right, the hard moves are well protected. We approached from Moraine camp and up moraine left of Teepe glacier. Loose but pretty easy and no snow to cross late summer. Took us 1.5 hours. As for gear, we took nuts, single set of cams to #2 bd, 3 3's, 1 #3.5, and 1 #4 and all was used.
Jun 16, 2014
Did this route as my first Grand Teton summit back in 1990. Felt it has only been done a few times then, loved it! Great to see its getting traveled more these days!
Jul 21, 2014
Looking for a partner for this route next week. July 28-31ish.