Type: Trad, Alpine, 6 pitches, Grade II
FA: Richard Pownall, Art Gilkey 1948
Page Views: 23,825 total · 150/month
Shared By: Nick Stayner on Mar 9, 2006 with updates from Adam Patten
Admins: Mike Snyder, Jake Dickerson, Taylor Spiegelberg

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Baxter’s Pinnacle and Southwest Descent Gully Closed for Nesting Peregrine Falcons Details


Guide's Wall is a classic Teton non-summit rock climb. Its moderate grade, quality climbing, easy approach and easy descent all combine to make it an extremely popular route. There are many variations, as well as many nearby short climbs, that allow for a wide range of difficulties.

P1- 120', 5.7: Move to the left shoulder of the ridge. Climb easy rock to a short dihedral with pins. Continue above and end at rap anchors.

P2- 60-70' (short), 5.5-5.7: Either continue up easy 5th-class rock straight above the rap anchor, or move right to a fun 5.7 crack. Both bring you to a large ledge.

P3- 180': This is actually pitches 3 and 4 described in the book. It's easy to link them if attention is paid to rope drag. Anyway, there is another left (west)/right (south) option on this ledge.

WEST: take the big dihedral (5.7) for a full pitch, passing the rap tree in the first 30'. It becomes 5.6 after about 80'.

SOUTH: Move right on the ledge to a large flake with a finger crack above. Climb this pretty crack and pull a 5.7 bulge to a ledge. Belay here or follow the crack to Flake Ledge at 5.6.

P4- 80': A great pitch, no matter what path is taken. Traditionally, the leftmost handcrack is taken at 5.7. The right thin hand/finger crack is wonderful as well. While it is possible to traverse back into the 5.7 crack under the roof, you can also pull it at .10. A small traverse back to the left is required if doing the roof.

P5- 80': All variations funnel into this one, a classic 5.8 dihedral/finger crack lined with plenty of awesome faceholds. An outstanding position! There are a couple of pins.

Descent: Four double-rope raps get you down.


Look for cairns/climber's trail up the talus just past a large pond in Cascade Creek. Guide's Wall ascends the obvious buttress/ridge to the right of the gully.
GPS Coordinates for the base of the climb: 43.7654722, -110.77086111111112


A light Teton rack. Bring extra .75-2" pieces if you're doing the handcrack/roof. Extra TCUs and small Stoppers for Blobular.
Buff Johnson  
Great climb (Thanks Jim!) - Best way to introduce yourself to Teton climbing with an escapable route, great rock, and short approach via the boat & all kinds of wildlife in the Cascade (I was more concerned with the moose than the bears).

The P4 splitter is friggin sweet - off fingers, but perfect ring locks into perfect hands 5.9+. Don't get spooked on the last pitch or the preceding pitch to the crux splitter - both 5.8, just commit & move through. A full rack is almost not needed due to a fair amount of fixed pins (totally agree with the route description comment as to pro).

With a descent, double-rope rap to the flake ledge (the start of the splitter), then walk out through the gully (don't take the next tree rap), then walk back into to a final rap. These are both bolt stations & ends of saving you on a double-rope rap that is not clean.

There are so many great variants to this climb - the original 5.8 line seems like you miss some of the good stuff, but considering a post-WWII ascent, I'm glad they didn't hammer the crap out of the splitter. Mar 10, 2006
A 70m rope links the traditional 6 pitches into 3 total. Speeds up the climb and slows the descent a bit (adds a rap or two). Exactly 35m from the chains at the top of the traditional first pitch to your packs.

Great warm-up for bigger and better Teton outings. Jul 5, 2006
Jay Knower
Campton, NH
Jay Knower   Campton, NH  
The 5.10c roof finish to pitch 4 is highly recommended. It just feels good to cut your feet in an alpine setting. Feb 19, 2007
Nick Stayner
Wymont Kingdom
Nick Stayner   Wymont Kingdom
Finally climbed the roof on top of Flake Ledge. Protected with stoppers. Huge jugs! .10b. The roof/splitter are actually part of a route called Vieux Guide, put up by Yvon Chouinard and Jim Donini. They started about 200' to the right of the standard Guide's Wall and linked up at the Flake Ledge. Jul 5, 2007
Bill Lawry
New Mexico
Bill Lawry   New Mexico
To arrive at the top of the "walk-off" descent, complete a 6th pitch (officially 7th) which goes at 5.5; starts with a roughly 50 foot traverse to the left and goes up a large right facing dihedral.

Non-trivial walk-off: At the top of the large right facing dihedral, traverse to climber's left on exposed but easy ledges until one can descend the SW couloir of Storm Point. While traversing the ledges it is tempting to descend an obvious/distinct small gully which shortly cliffs out. Traverse past this gully and climb 4th class rock up and left 20 or so feet, and then continue left on additional exposed ledges to the SW couloir.

Descending the SW couloir involves periodic 3rd/4th class downclimbing. Also, we rejoined the route at the top of the 1st pitch and lowered/rapped from the bolted/chained anchor: 1st person was lowered to gauge the reach of our 60 meter rope (rope middle was marked) and the last person rapped without knotted ends; had to be careful at the end of the rap. The remaing downclimbing was relatively easy. Jul 24, 2007
I had forgotten about this wonderful route until seeing this.
I rope soloed Guides Wall back in 1979 while waiting for buddies to join me in the park.
It was a great day for me and very memorable. Feb 11, 2008
Andy Laakmann
Bend, OR
Andy Laakmann   Bend, OR  
Climbed this again. 1:35 hike from String Lake to the base with a casual pace. I linked the 5.8 finger crack and the pitch above (to the ledge below the splitter) with a 60m... and ran out of rope right before the ledge. My partner had to simul-climb the first 20 feet of 5.7... not a big deal, just something to know.

Rack: nuts, one set of TCUs (maybe double in the green/yellow alien size), 2x0.5 camalot, 2x0.75 camalot, 2x#1 camalot, 1x#2 camalot, 1x#3 camalot, pink tricam. Jun 24, 2009
Boulder, CO
boulderkeith   Boulder, CO
Approach description would be more accurate if it said "Just as you reach the pond". The climber's trail is up the middle of the very obvious talus field at the beginning of the pond. Don't walk past the pond. Did the West variation for P3-4. A bit vegetated. Don't know what the South variation is like but I might try it instead.

The move out of the corner is a bit committing. Be wary if you are really only a 5.7 leader. Also, protects better with a small cam (green alien?) at the corner instead of the pin in the dihedral. The pin will redirect you into the ledge for a possible ankle breaker.

The 5.9 handcrack is great but if you have large hands it is ring locks and will feel like 10- IMO.

The new Tetons DVD guide has a better topo. Aug 1, 2009
Sam Lightner, Jr.
Lander, WY
Sam Lightner, Jr.   Lander, WY
The Rappels descend from chains, trending rappers right to a large tree, then trending right to another smaller tree, then hard right to chains you pass on pitch 2... that gets you to the ground. THe top anchor has had one of the 1/4's replaced with a stainless 3/8. You need double ropes to use only these raps.

Oh, if you want to link the mid pitches together you don't have to have a 70, but you do have to use every inch of a 60. Set your belay in the notch at the base of the fingercrack rather than on the big ledge. THis is comfy enough and is about 6 feet above the main ledge (should be obvious when you get there). You will reach the comfy spot on the big ledge from here, but you wont have enough to set a full anchor using the rope... its a real stretch, but it works. I should point out that this is not necessarily by the book and thus is not the safest way to climb. Aug 23, 2009
Jaren Watson
Jaren Watson   Idaho
As Trevor said, a single 70-meter rope will work. The first rappel was the most challenging. I overshot the lone, tiny tree that is the only option we could find for splitting the traditional first 150' rap. Fortunately, my climbing partner got it on the way down, and I was able to tie in from my precarious perch 30' above the flake ledge. Other than that, the raps were straightforward with a single line. Jul 16, 2013
Jason Albino
San Francisco, CA
Jason Albino   San Francisco, CA
Climbed this on our first trip to the Tetons July 2013.

Minus one star for four mostly dirty, rope-snatching double-rope raps to the ground from the top (we avoided the partial-downclimb options since we didn't know the area well), but if that concept doesn't bother you, this is great intro climb to the area with a relatively moderate time commitment. Walkie-talkies are generally useful for communicating with your belayer on this climb.

On the approach, we luckily joined up with some locals who guided the way, as the location where you leave the hiker's trail and ascend the talus to the wall was in my opinion non-obvious. To locate the right spot to turn up the talus, wait JUST until you reach the first obvious mini-lake/still-water formation on your left. There's a marshier, much smaller still-water area before that with some opposing talus that almost tempted us off the trail. Once on the talus, we didn't see a well-defined climber's trail per se, instead heading somewhat blindly up the dryest part of the talus until trending up-and-left towards the wall. The start of the route is also non-obvious: look for a sharp right bearing around the main formation off the "path" at the wall where there are large trees for hanging your pack.

The main route then starts across from those trees by ascending a somewhat dirty sharp left-leaning line for ~20 feet before banking bank right to finish the first pitch. Note that you won't be able to see any part of the route beyond this first ~20 feet when looking from the base belay point.

Sling P1 well or use double-ropes, especially around that first turn, to avoid murderous rope drag. From there, the P1/P2 line is pretty straight up, at which point you'll generally want to commit to either the South-facing remaining pitches or the West-facing remaining pitches. Once you commit around the P3 point, note that it would probably be very awkward to switch to the West or South lines. In other words, if you want to go for the harder South pitches, it's probably best to be ready for ALL of them (in case you had it in your mind to do SOME South variations and SOME west variations).

To access the South-facing remaining pitches, from the first *major* and clean ledge, traverse right around a somewhat blind and non-obvious corner (again, huge slingage for this part) to spot the base of the 5.7 crack. Belay there to set up straightforward pitches the rest of the way up.

We did all south variations, linking P3/4 (barely with a 70m rope) and P5/6 (easily with a 70m rope). Obviously I can't speak for the West variations, but I doubt they would be as fun/sustained as the best parts of the South variations. For me, the best pitch overall was the P5 splitter crack - tricky feet off the deck get you established into an all-to-short but sweet jam sequence. I have bigger hands and found the jams to be locker and well within 5.9 bounds (especially by Yosemite standards) after the initial sequence. Jul 18, 2013
Ryan Nelling  
Awesome climb. I did this last summer - there's a 5.9 dihedral variation on P2 which is stellar! Also - if you decide to fire through the roof on P4, be sure to exit to the left immediately! I continued up the crack, to the next roof, and damn did I regret that decision when I was dealing with terrible rope drag, no gear, and slopey, unused holds as I delicately danced my way in to the final corner at the fixed cam 20 or so feet above the standard belay stance. Terribly scary and really bad route-finding on my part - don't make the same mistake! It could have ended terribly for me or my partner if either of us fell. Aug 9, 2013
Scott Higgins
Honolulu, HI
Scott Higgins   Honolulu, HI
Planning to do this next week. Does anyone know if you can you rappel this using bolted anchors with a single 70m? I'm too heavy for a small shrub rappel!

Thanks! Sep 15, 2015
Jackson's Hooooleeeeeee, WY
Prametheus   Jackson's Hooooleeeeeee, WY
I left a blue gear sling girth hitched to the big dead tree limb that most people hang their gear on. If you happen to stumble upon that up there, please send me a pm! I'd love to recover that piece of gear!
Thanks. Jun 24, 2016
Michael Butts
Boulder, Co
Michael Butts   Boulder, Co
Such a great climb. We did it July 24th. started climbing at 11:30 and the route was shaded until after1pm. we did it in three pitches pretty easily. Skip the anchors on first pitch and climb until end of rope. Should put you on ledge just below rap tree. Climb about 170ft of great corner to next rap tree. You have more than one option and next time I go back I will choose the other corner. Both look amazing. Walk around the corner to the base of two splitter cracks. The one on the right is .9 and is great off hands for 15 ft. Can step left easily to join the easier crack and turn roof on left. Keep climbing up final pitch to the rap chains. . The rope drag was not an issue, the climbing is great. We climbed as two parties with a rope each. put ropes together for rappels. I do know that one 70 will hit the ground from last rap chains. The 10 start variation is a great way to end the climb. Great route , awesome granite, fantastic setting. Will definitely do it again. Jul 30, 2016
Carl H.
Carl H.  
Finding the approach trail is a bit tricky. We got a tip from a local guide and still missed it. When you get to the sandy 'beach' where the main trail is close to the river, and Guides Wall is on your right, you have to scramble over some small blocks for about 100 feet before the approach trail becomes obvious. You can't see it from the main trail. Hope this saves others some add'l scrambling. (Also, we took the Horse trail up - a bit shorter, with no crowds, but also no views as it is in the trees. On the way down we took the longer trail, which had several great views of Jenny Lake but lots of tourists. Sep 1, 2016
Carl H.
Carl H.  
One more thing I heard a guide say, but of course forgot hours later. On the last rappel lower the rope ends, do NOT throw them, as there are trees at the bottom that will catch your rope and the untangle will not be easy. Sep 10, 2016
Brian Hyde
South Ogden, UT
Brian Hyde   South Ogden, UT
Casual 2 hour approach from the String Lake trailhead. Park in the southern most parking lot, near the canoe launch. Take the Jenny Lake loop trail over the bridge heading south-west at the outlet of String Lake. Beautiful views of Jenny Lake are not to be missed. Jul 30, 2018
Greg Sievers
Bozeman, MT
Greg Sievers   Bozeman, MT
a helpful reference for hiking distance: proceed to the 3rd clearing. about 45 minutes up the trail. just as you enter the clearing there is a visible beaten trail into the tallus. And to your left, about 50' away is where the streams' slow backwater goes into a rapid. also at this point you will be looking at the route as a "ridge" and not a face or profile.
;' Aug 23, 2018