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Grand Teton - Car to Car


Original Post
sandrock · · Colorado Springs, CO · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 115

Hi all,
If I were to do the Grand via Upper Exum car to car, how long should it take me to hike from the TH to the Lower Saddle? Right now I can hike about 1,100 feet an hour at a comfortable pace, without pushing hard. So that would take me about 4.5-5hrs. Is that typical for a car to car push, or do I need to be faster? Those that have done the car2car, how long did it take you to get to the Lower?

Trying to decide between a car to car or just camping at the Moraine.

thanks.

NateC · · Utah · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 0

If 1100 ft of gain per hour is your comfortable pace, I think you'll likely want to camp if you prefer the experience to be on the more enjoyable side of life. You could do it in a push, but I feel that pace won't lend itself to an enjoyable experience late in the day.

Jason Todd · · Cody, WY · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 1,113

I enjoyed doing the Grand car to car at that pace (TH to upper saddle in 5 hours).
I'd only pack camping gear in if you are going to do multiple objectives.

Philip Magistro · · Estes Park, CO · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 0
sandrock wrote: Hi all,
If I were to do the Grand via Upper Exum car to car, how long should it take me to hike from the TH to the Upper Saddle? Right now I can hike about 1,100 feet an hour at a comfortable pace. So that would take me about 4.5-5hrs. Is that typical for a car to car push, or do I need to be faster?

Trying to decide between a car to car or just camping at the Moraine.

thanks.

A few thoughts:


Check the weather.  If you start at midnight with your pace, you will be on the mountain late in the day.   If the weather is clear that may be fine, but otherwise you run the risk of being caught in a storm.

I am sure it was a slip on your end, but you know that the Upper Exum starts quite far below the upper saddle?

Finally, your hiking time is only as small part of the equation.  How quickly can you move through several thousand feet of 3rd to low 5th class terrain?

In my opinion, in a day climbs are often easier overall but tend to be long days.  Best of luck!!
sandrock · · Colorado Springs, CO · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 115
Philip Magistro wrote:

A few thoughts:


Check the weather.  If you start at midnight with your pace, you will be on the mountain late in the day.   If the weather is clear that may be fine, but otherwise you run the risk of being caught in a storm.

I am sure it was a slip on your end, but you know that the Upper Exum starts quite far below the upper saddle?

Finally, your hiking time is only as small part of the equation.  How quickly can you move through several thousand feet of 3rd to low 5th class terrain?

In my opinion, in a day climbs are often easier overall but tend to be long days.  Best of luck!!

Yes thank you. I meant the Lower Saddle.  I'll be going with a friend that has climbed the route several times, so not too worried about time once we get on the route.

Mike Womack · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 1,673

I'd highly recommend doing the grand in a car to car push.  If you are fit and going at a good pace, getting to the lower saddle should take 3.5-4.5 hours.  

Miguel D · · SLC · Joined May 2014 · Points: 483

If our climb serves as a vague reference point:

We went in a group of 5. Started from the car at 3am. I believe it took us about 4 hours to the lower saddle. Climbed the Petzoldt Ridge as one party of two and one party of three. We moved at a decent pace pitching everything out and then soloed the Upper Exum (except for two short sections where we belayed a member of our group). I forget the times when we hit the saddles, the summit, etc. But we turned on our headlamps as we started going back down the lower saddle.

Overall we had a 21 hour day, car to car. I think if you are in decent shape, everyone moves moderately efficiently, and is comfortable with some low 5th scrambling, you could do it in 17-20 hours I would imagine.

Edit: the Lower Exum should go considerably faster than the Petzoldt Ridge. My estimate was taking the same route we did, but going up the full exum I'd imagine under 18 hours wouldn't be too hard to do

Mike Womack · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 1,673

Starting at 3am would put you just before the lower saddle at first light to help make the scree fields go easier.  Then keeping the pace, you'd summit at 9am and be back at the car at 3pm... ish

Martin le Roux · · Superior, CO · Joined Jul 2003 · Points: 279

Here's a friend's Strava track to inspire you: https://www.strava.com/activities/1755229102/overview. About 5 1/2 hours from Lupine Meadows to the summit and 4 1/2 hours for the descent. After biking 22 miles from Jackson. And swimming a mile across Jenny Lake. And then the same in reverse.

The fastest known time for the round trip from Lupine Meadows is an incredible 2h 53m. https://fastestknowntime.com/route/grand-teton-wy.

sandrock · · Colorado Springs, CO · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 115

Thanks everyone, I have a few more weeks until the climb so I'm going to do a lot of hiking and see if I can cover the distance faster. Sounds like aimjng for 4-4.5 hours is good. 

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 526

Those FKT's, in addition to being irrelevant for anyone but the elite few, are for the shorter and easier Owen-Spaulding route.

I have a different take, which is that I actually like being in the mountains and enjoy spending more time there rather than less.  The prettiest campsites are in the Meadows, but these are also the furthest from the summit.

Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 14,423

Kinda like rgold's put...nice to spend a night up there (or two).

Looking at my notes...my only car-to-car Grand trip was 20 years ago (nearly to the day).  I think we got to the lower saddle in 4 hours.  Took a break.  Total time to summit was 9 hours and a leisurely time out for 15 hours car-to-car.  Didn't seem too bad at the time, and, we didn't push it.

Route finding, if you've never been up there...may be the crux...

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

A big part of the reasoning for ctc  is not having to stress over getting a permit..

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 526

True, but when I was there last summer there didn't seem to be that much of a problem getting permits if you showed up at the ranger station at 6 am or so.  But I didn't try to camp in the Meadows last summer so don't know how hard it might have been.  (I took the picture on a ctc solo conditioning hike up South Teton, something that people almost always do ctc, sometimes including the easy scramble up Middle Teton as well.)

Many years ago we'd go up and camp at the Platforms for a week...

Colin O'Brien · · Bozeman, MT · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 140

The other thing to keep in mind for going c2c on any route is the wait for the guides.  I went up Lupine to the Upper Exum and was just under 12 hours, leaving at 1 in the morning, but we burned at least 2 hours waiting for a guided party to rap their 6 clients down the one rapel route.  We met them just before they were setting rappels, and they refused to let us rap through. If you can't be moving through the moraine by 430am, it's going to get very crowded.  We blew past probably 30 guided clients in headlamps, and being behind those groups, even to get to the base of the route, would be a nightmare.  I passed a guided party just past Wall St., and the guide was very, very aggressive in not wanting me to move past, despite her being in a party of 3 and her two climbers being relatively unfit. If you can't be in front of these groups going cart-to-car, I would definitely walk in the night before and wake up earlier.

stephen arsenault · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 50

Colin,
I think it is a matter of luck with the crowds. I soloed the Upper Exum, and the Owen Spaulding in my late 60's and did pass just a few climbers, but neither gave me any hassle. I suppose if you were roped up with a partner, there might be more resistance trying to pass.
Both times I came directly from the East Coast, and the climb took about 16 hours round trip.
About 20 years ago, my son and I soloed it in much faster time, when I was in much better shape.

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

Steve. you are a beast. even after 3 weeks of acclimation I felt pretty sick up on Buck Mtn and that's a shorter day than the grand.. Threw up over the edge of the north face but summited :)

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Wyoming, Montana, Dakotas
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