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SE (Buckingham) Ridge of Middle Teton Post-hoc Beta Request

Original Post
Owen Witesman · · Springville, UT · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 113

Does anyone out there have a good high-res photo of the triangular face that makes up the main 3 pitches of climbing of the SE Ridge of the Middle? Could be from once you attain the top of the ridge below the grassy ledge where the business starts or from across the cirque. Ortenburger and Jackson isn't quite high resolution enough. I'm trying to trace the exact variation we took on the main face, which seemed significantly more difficult than the description. It was a good place to find bail booty, though :). I'm thinking we went a little too far left to start our second pitch, but straight up along the ridge seemed to lead to some gnarly overhanging terrain. Wondering if there is a weakness there we didn't see that would keep the outing an enjoyable 5.7 instead of Tetons 5.9+ or if we were on route and just being pansies. We did Irene's the day before this and the Complete Exum two days after, and this was by far the hardest, least straightforward climbing of the week, which is why I think there must be a better line.

We know we started on route at this sweet grassy ledge.

Grassy ledge on the SE Ridge of Middle Teton

For pitch 1 we chose the right of two obvious lines from the grassy ledge. This led to a nice ledge system that seemed like a prime belay. Here we chose to traverse left perhaps 20 or 30 feet to the base of a face with two nice crack systems and a right-facing corner high above. Otherwise it appeared we would be forced onto a more easterly aspect and into some overhangs. The cracks we chose turned out to be quite steep and the belay at the top of 2 was tenuous, semi hanging under a flake and some chicken heads where I found a non-bomber nut and a taped biner that someone had obviously rapped off recently (scary). See shots below from the belay above our pitch 2 looking up at pitch 3. Maybe someone will recognize this particular spot. Pitch 3, the corner, was also quite strenuous but ended up at a nice ledge, not a full rope length. From here pitch 4 (one more than the guidebook description) was obviously on route after a 5-th class beginning led to broken terrain and the top of the first summit before the notch. From there everything went as described in the guide. I'll add some more beta about the approach and the area above the main face to the route description with pictures once I get the main face variations figured out a bit more.

Belay above pitch 2, some variation of SE Ridge of Middle Teton
Another shot of our belay above pitch 2 of the SE Ridge of Middle Teton

Anyone have any pictures or wisdom to share?
Owen Witesman · · Springville, UT · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 113


DavisMeschke Guillotine · · Pinedale, WY · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 210

I know I have a better picture somewhere, I just have to find it. This was the best I could find for now. SE Ridge is the obvious buttress to the left of the notch. I'll look for those other pictures when I get off of work.

Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,145

Owen, I can not help you with pictures but I can tell you that you are not the first person who has gotten off route on the infamous Buckingham route. Twenty years ago I did the route with two rather well known SLC climbers who are former Teton ranges RR and TW. TW and I went off first with RR and another, JF behind. TW and I bypassed a horrid crack that sucked RR and JF in to it. TW and I waited for sometime at the notch for them to finish their "variation." We all got a chuckle about their misfortune.

You might read the '65 version of Ortenburger's guide for a bit more detailed description. I am sure your Mom has a copy.

Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 14,449

In case his mom can't find her 1956 edition...

"Follow Route 1 about 300 feet up the Ellingwood Coulior before climbing onto the ridge where the couloir splits.  Scramble some 700 feet of easy going up to a steep smooth buttress.  From the south edge of the east side of the buttress climb a rope length directly upward to the base of a 110-foot pitch up steep cracks on the southeast corner of the buttress.  A 20-foot traverse to the left and a 700-foot ascent in more steep cracks lead to a small overhang, which is climbed with difficulty at the right edge.  Climb another 50 feet on steep slabs to a belay position.  One more rope length leads to a point where one can go around the corner and back onto the face of the buttress.  A rope-length's climb up an easy ledge is followed by a 20-foot vertical face with large hold."

Good times.  I'm pretty sure we were on route the whole time.  Ha ha.


Gee Double · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 2,287

DavisMeschke Guillotine · · Pinedale, WY · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 210

Gonna go change my pants real quick.

Holy shit, what a fantastic picture.

Owen Witesman · · Springville, UT · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 113

That description actually sounds a lot like what we did. Thanks everybody! This is one of those climbs that has stayed on my mind. We were climbing it in memory of a family friend who passed on the route thirty years ago. We had a beautiful day of good rock, no crowds, and blue skies. 

Allen, have you heard my parents moved to St Anthony? You can guess what they have a view of out the east windows. 

And yeah, nice picture GD!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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