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Bivy on the Grand

Original Post
climberboy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 10

My partner and I climbed the Grand last year car to car because all the camping spots were already booked. With that said, we're looking at doing the full Exum soon and wondering if we can just bivy on the route and not mess with all the reservation nonsense. I looked on the NPS website and didn't see anything against a bivy on a ledge. Anybody here have experience doing this?

Martin le Roux · · Superior, CO · Joined Jul 2003 · Points: 237

You know that most of the Garnet Canyon campsites are first-com-first-served, right? Only one-third of them can be reserved in advance. You shouldn't have too much difficulty getting a campsite if you show up at the Jenny Lake ranger station at 8am the day before you want to start hiking, and you may be able to get a same-day site if you're okay camping somewhere like the Moraines.

You'd need to ask the rangers, but if you bivy at the base of the Exum they may consider that part of Garnet Canyon and subject to to the same limits. You may be able to bivy higher on the route without being subject to the Garnet Canyon limits, but if you're capable of hiking from the valley floor and climbing several pitches up the lower Exum while carrying bivy gear and water then you're probably capable of doing the whole thing car-to-car in a day.

Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 440

Rangers and SAR guys were very fast to ask for permits if they were not displayed on the pack.....

climberboy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 10

Yeah we went to the ranger station in the morning, but there was nothing available for the same night. It's hard for either of us to get there a day in advance due to work. My question was more directed to actually sleeping on the wall several pitches up. Assuming good weather, the sleeping gear could be very light on a big ledge. 

Andy Novak · · Golden, Co · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 370

The route isn't that long or that hard. If you can get "several pitches up", then you can get to the top. I guess you could bivy at Wall St, but why? You'd be in for a cold, cold evening.   

benb · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 0
Andy Novak wrote:

The route isn't that long or that hard. If you can get "several pitches up", then you can get to the top. I guess you could bivy at Wall St, but why? You'd be in for a cold, cold evening.   

This. And if you go up high planning to bivy, don't discount seeing people late in the evening anyway. Last year we were coming down late afternoon and a couple folks (guides, I assume, or maybe rangers) were running up from the lower saddle to watch the sunset from the summit. I don't know if the rangers would bother you up on the route, but could be a possibility. You'd definitely be cold at 12,000+ feet. You already know you can do car to car and it's much less painful than camping, even if you got a spot at the meadows. If you really wanna sleep, just catch a few hours in the valley the night before, start super early, and do the route in a day. Can even camp in the national forest for free.

Kurt HR Krueger · · Missoula, MT · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 0

The rangers might by quick to ask for a permit but  .....   In the 70's heading up to the grand I was asked by a ranger in uniform (I think it was one of the women who did the first ascent of the Nose) asked me for my permit.   I think it was in my pocket or the pocket of the pack.  Anyway, I asked her for identification as a Park Service employee which she had none.  I didn show her the permit.  Another time in RMNP we had a bivy permit for 2 grade 3's (or 4's) but were told the grade 2 or 3 (3 star route) didn't qualify for a bivy.  I ask the ranger you mean you want us to do 2 climbs (and bivy) then hike out, spend the night in the valley and then walk back in the next morning).  My partner looked a the ranger and spending to me said: "pick another climb, any climb".  On the permit the ranger route - Must be on route indicated on day indicated.  I told her that you mean you are sending us up on a route where we think it's dangerous (think lightening).  After the 88 Yellowstone fire the campground ranger told me my campfire was too large.  My reply that I was a Forest Service Fire researcher and my campfire was a prescribe burn didn't change his mind.   As a ex FS union steward I feel it always important to mess with people that have 2 many rules.

Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,135

If you plan to bivy you need a permit. Further permits are for specific locations. There are no known bivies on the Exum Ridge. Thus if you want to bivy on the Exum you will probably be offered a permit for the lower saddle. If there is one.  There are traditional bivies that are not always as well known but you will need to talk with the rangers to get them. For instance, I have been known to bivy on the Enclosure whilst doing the OS. The rangers were not thrilled abut my plans but they could not deny me the permit. 

climberboy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 10

Thanks Allen! That's exactly what I needed to know. 

Gee Double · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 2,221

The Durrance Direct.

GTNP has the highest backcountry, per-night fee in NPS...

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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