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GTNP climbing guide book?


Original Post
Thumer · · SLC, UT · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 240

What’s the best guide book for Grand Teton National Park?  Also, are there any single pitch craging areas or shorter half day type of routes?  

Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 14,421

A Climber's Guide to the Teton Range.

There's cragging nearby outside the park.  Closest might be Blacktail Butte.  Hoback Sheild.  Rodeo Wall.  

Mike-Mayhem · · Bozeman. MT · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 60

If your looking to do a popular route in the Tetons, check out the Gams guidebook “popular Teton rock climbs”. I find if your doing a well traveled route, this guide will be a bit more helpful. That being said if your planning on doing something like south face of cloud vail, serendipity arete on Owen etc I would get the Ortenburger Guide. I found that his descriptions of the lesser climbed routes in the range are a little better than Gams. That being said you could easily do any climb with either one, although the Ortenburger guide has much more climbs in it.

Thumer · · SLC, UT · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 240
Mike-Mayhem wrote: If your looking to do a popular route in the Tetons, check out the Gams guidebook “popular Teton rock climbs”. I find if your doing a well traveled route, this guide will be a bit more helpful. That being said if your planning on doing something like south face of cloud vail, serendipity arete on Owen etc I would get the Ortenburger Guide. I found that his descriptions of the lesser climbed routes in the range are a little better than Gams. That being said you could easily do any climb with either one, although the Ortenburger guide has much more climbs in it.

I’m doing the full exum with the Petzoldt ridge as a back up plan.  Does Teton Rock Climbs by Gams have good color pictures?

Mike-Mayhem · · Bozeman. MT · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 60

Yeah the Gamms guide has great color pictures, but the topos are not as good as the Ortenburger guide. For the full exum I would recommend the Gamms guide

Teton Climber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 1

Climbing at Rock Springs Buttress is another option. You get a free tram ride back to you car. It's mostly locals at that place.

A Climbers Guide to the Teton Range is a great book but it is dated. No color pictures. No great detail but enough to get by. It's part history book, part guide book, part good advice for alpine climbers in the Tetons.

You can read the full route descriptions via google books for free if you know how to use google search. With so much beta online, I'm not sure why so many people still buy guide books unless those books go into greater detail. Or, you're in the middle of nowhere (no internet) and need a guide for routes you hadn't thought of beforehand.

An inter-library loan will probably work best if you're only considering two routes and insist on a guide book. You might want to check out the trip report by Mark Thomas on summitpost or his site.

Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 14,421
Thumer wrote:

I’m doing the full exum with the Petzoldt ridge as a back up plan.  

Curious why the Petzoldt as your back up plan?  I'd think just the Upper Exum would be a good option for backup.  Are you thinking if there was a que you'd stroll over to the Petzoldt ridge?  I'm not sure its as straight forward as the Exum.

Teton Climber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 1
Brian in SLC wrote:

Curious why the Petzoldt as your back up plan?  I'd think just the Upper Exum would be a good option for backup.  Are you thinking if there was a que you'd stroll over to the Petzoldt ridge?  I'm not sure its as straight forward as the Exum.

The Petz is a classic that the Upper isn't. Fewer people. Harder. Different climb. It hooks up with the Upper so it makes sense as a replacement for the Lower Exum to Upper Exum. Some like it more than the Lower. You are correct, it is not as 'straight forward' as the complete Exum. The 'que'  is a possibility. I think everyone needs a backup route and the Petz seems like good bet. It's right next door. 


Of course, one person's 'classic' is another's yawn. So perhaps the Petz has a few detractors.
Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 14,421

I thought the Petzoldt Direct was great.

Just curious why the OP picked it.  

Have fond memories of the complete Exum...was my first route in the Tetons.  And we topped out in a snow storm.  Good times...

I think if one isn't experienced in the Tetons...and a longer route is preferred...the full Exum works.

Cheers!

Mike-Mayhem · · Bozeman. MT · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 60

I feel like planning on doing the petzl is a good backup if there is a long que on the lower exum. But hell wake up earlier than everyone else and ensure your first on the route lol

Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 14,421

Rather than being first....being second behind a party that knows where to go might be a better situation...ha ha.

Yeah, an early start is prudent, as is scouting the approach the day prior in the daylight.

Approach to the Petzoldt at around 6:30am:



We had parties behind us that got bouted by the weather later in the day.  When we topped out, was starting to threaten rain.  Bottom of the standard final rappel, it cut loose.  By the time we hit the lower saddle, was a full on wet storm.  They bailed over to the rap onto Wall Street (darn prudent).  Said was like trying to rappel in a flash flood.  They got soaked but got off ok.  Scared the heck out of them (us too, thinking about them as we noted how far below us they were).

Yeah, get an early start.


Plus, you get nice views of the sunrise on the Middle Teton.

Looking at the different guidebooks, I'd say the route topos in either the Ortenburger/Jackson or Rossiter guidebooks are pretty good.  The Gams guide overlays a topo on a photo and I'd say its just "ok".  Having a couple of options to decipher might work.  

Reason I wonder about folks heading over to the Petzoldt ridge (especially if they have no prior experience in the Tetons) is that there's been a couple of incidents in recent years on that route, mostly by folks who didn't have much experience in the Tetons.  One of which a friend was involved with the rescue.
 
http://publications.americanalpineclub.org/articles/13201214425/Leader-Fall-and-Lost-Gear-Lead-to-Stranding
http://publications.americanalpineclub.org/articles/13201214040/Stranded-Poor-Position-Stuck-Rappel-Rope

Anyhoo....take care!
Mike-Mayhem · · Bozeman. MT · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 60
http://publications.americanalpineclub.org/articles/13201214425/Leader-Fall-and-Lost-Gear-Lead-to-Stranding
http://publications.americanalpineclub.org/articles/13201214040/Stranded-Poor-Position-Stuck-Rappel-Rope

Anyhoo....take care!

HA Brian, it’s funny you linked that second article, I am good friends with someone involved. From what I’ve heard it was a shitty situation for his group, which then turned into a potentially deadly situation once they linked up with the other group.. thank god they did though, as the other group sounded like they were in a dire situation. 


Although, in my opinion the main thing to take away from that rescue was to not attempt a climb with a group larger than 3 where not everyone is totally competent in the mountains. Both parties in the Stettner had climbers who weren’t totally comfortable which led to their demise...

And about starting early: Sometimes the fun is being the first party when you have no clue where to go ;)
Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,146
Teton Climber wrote:
A Climbers Guide to the Teton Range is a great book but it is dated. No color pictures. No great detail but enough to get by. It's part history book, part guide book, part good advice for alpine climbers in the Tetons.
Renny is in the process of updating the book. However, 99.9% of the climbers visiting the Tetons do routes that were first done 50 or more years ago. As for the pictures, not sure how color images would help other than increase the cost. There is plenty of detail to have an adventure, just gotta read the description rather look at topos.
Teton Climber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 1
Allen Sanderson wrote: Renny is in the process of updating the book. However, 99.9% of the climbers visiting the Tetons do routes that were first done 50 or more years ago. As for the pictures, not sure how color images would help other than increase the cost. There is plenty of detail to have an adventure, just gotta read the description rather look at topos.

Now that he's 'retired', Renny can get around to making his little history book better than ever. A Climber's Guide to the Teton Range is more than a guide book and perhaps all that extra information adds cost too. Like you say, I'm betting that most of the routes in the book are rarely repeated so all that expensive filler material could be replaced by a few marked-up color pictures. I think most readers like the idea of a guide book that has more photographic detail than one finds in A Climber's Guide to the Teton Range. That is one of the reasons that sites like Mountain Project are so popular — even with misleading information. If you mosey around online, you can get beta on every pitch, with color images of every pitch. Renny & Leigh's book will never do that. It would be too big, too expensive, and too time consuming to document by one individual. Besides, their book really serves multiple purposes like Thomas Turiano's skiing books. That expensive filler material is part of its charm and value. That doesn't mean that more detailed color pictures of the top 20 routes wouldn't help improve the book. Of course, it's not the goal of ACGTTTR to make every Teton pitch and approach crystal clear. It's a book about possibilities and histories and safety and routes, etc. Leigh & Renny's encyclopedic book is technically outdated but, like a good Bible, never without merit.

My initial point about color pictures was mostly about the difference between newer books and older guide books; nonetheless, color helps with route finding among other things and, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Clearly, many would rather look at a picture than read a route description. That's been my first-hand experience in the Tetons. Given the number of people who read Leigh's book and get completely lost or misdirected, I'm not so sure it's the best option for the average climber who makes their way to the Tetons. Especially those on the most popular routes. Of course, people who have extensive alpine experience can get by with onsighting many Teton routes and skip the guidebook altogether. Many climbers like a little mystery and enjoy route finding and prefer basic information on routes. If that's you, A Climber's Guide to the Teton Range is perfect. It certainly has enough information for most climbers but that doesn't mean it's the best information for every climber. If you're a mountaineer just out to run the Grand's Upper Exum route, I'd skip the book and stick with online resources which number in the thousands and are free.


This is Mark P. Thomas's Complete Exum Trip Report.

I like the color pictures of the pitches. Many climbers find those pictures to be extremely helpful.

If you think that Mark's trip report sucks with all those color pictures and words, so be it.  A Climber's Guide to the Teton Range has a different kind of value. Both resources can be helpful to climbers. What works best is really an individual choice.
Teton Climber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 1
Brian in SLC wrote: 
Reason I wonder about folks heading over to the Petzoldt ridge (especially if they have no prior experience in the Tetons) is that there's been a couple of incidents in recent years on that route, mostly by folks who didn't have much experience in the Tetons.  One of which a friend was involved with the rescue.
 
http://publications.americanalpineclub.org/articles/13201214425/Leader-Fall-and-Lost-Gear-Lead-to-Stranding
http://publications.americanalpineclub.org/articles/13201214040/Stranded-Poor-Position-Stuck-Rappel-Rope

Well, probably every flippin' ridge and route in the Tetons has seen an accident. That's rarely a reason to avoid them. The issue, as you point out, which merits attention is about those who don't have experience in the Tetons. It doesn't matter what they are climbing if they can't make good choices which includes proper preparation for Alpine environments. Additionally, if the party lacks climbers capable of handling routes and variations scaled above their objective then it's easy to get into trouble when route variations may be necessary. It's also pretty easy to get off your intended pitch or line by accident while climbing in the Tetons. Many climbers take unintended tangents and end up in terrain that's above their comfort level. Places as "simple" as the approach to the Upper Saddle of the Grand Teton often end up hosting misdirected climbers engaging in time consuming, dangerous, and/or harder than expected climbing.



Thumer · · SLC, UT · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 240
Brian in SLC wrote:

Curious why the Petzoldt as your back up plan?  I'd think just the Upper Exum would be a good option for backup.  Are you thinking if there was a que you'd stroll over to the Petzoldt ridge?  I'm not sure its as straight forward as the Exum.

I didn't realize there were more responses to this thread until now.  Yea, I was thinking if the exum ridge was pretty crowded, I'd head over to petzoldt ridge.  I realize the route finding will be more challenging, but for me route finding is part of the fun.  This is really only my backup if there is a real slow party on the exum ridge.  I actually enjoy meeting other groups on routes, as long as everyone is moving efficiently.  I want to climb the Petzoldt ridge too, so it seemed like a logical backup.   

If it looks like weather is going to be bad, I will probably just postpone my trip.  I'm driving from SLC so rescheduling wouldn't be too big of a deal.  If the weather unexpectedly turns bad while we are there, I don't know what we will do.  Any suggestions for other lower elevation climbs?  
Thumer · · SLC, UT · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 240
Allen Sanderson wrote: Renny is in the process of updating the book. However, 99.9% of the climbers visiting the Tetons do routes that were first done 50 or more years ago. As for the pictures, not sure how color images would help other than increase the cost. There is plenty of detail to have an adventure, just gotta read the description rather look at topos.

I'm more of a visual person.  I just like pictures.

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Thumer wrote:

I didn't realize there were more responses to this thread until now.  Yea, I was thinking if the exum ridge was pretty crowded, I'd head over to petzoldt ridge.  I realize the route finding will be more challenging, but for me route finding is part of the fun.  This is really only my backup if there is a real slow party on the exum ridge.  I actually enjoy meeting other groups on routes, as long as everyone is moving efficiently.  I want to climb the Petzoldt ridge too, so it seemed like a logical backup.   

If it looks like weather is going to be bad, I will probably just postpone my trip.  I'm driving from SLC so rescheduling wouldn't be too big of a deal.  If the weather unexpectedly turns bad while we are there, I don't know what we will do.  Any suggestions for other lower elevation climbs?  

Baxter’s Pinnacle, Symmetry Spire, The Snaz, Irene’s?

Skibo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 5

Guides Wall, Open Book, Caveat Emptor, Dem Bones

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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