Type: Trad, Alpine, 1000 ft (303 m), 5 pitches, Grade III
FA: Paul Petzoldt and members of the Chicago Mountaineering Club, 1941
Page Views: 52,938 total · 239/month
Shared By: Meredith DB on May 12, 2006 · Updates
Admins: Mike Snyder, Taylor Spiegelberg, Jake Dickerson

You & This Route

155 Opinions
Your To-Do List: Add To-Do ·
Your Star Rating:
Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty Rating:
-none- Change
Your Ticks:Add New Tick
Use onX Backcountry to explore the terrain in 3D, view recent satellite imagery, and more. Now available in onX Backcountry Mobile apps! For more information see this post.

Description Suggest change

A classic climb in a beautiful location. Although the CMC Route is the most popular route on Mount Moran, it does not see a lot of traffic compared to other Teton trade routes. On a summer day there are usually 3 or fewer parties attempting the CMC Route.

While a fast party can climb the route in a day, it is more leisurely to use the CMC campground for the night before (and possibly the night after) the climb. A backcountry permit is required to use the CMC campground (available from the climbing rangers at Jenny Lake).

The usual approach is to canoe across String and Leigh Lakes to a point below the East and West Horns on the east side of Mount Moran. From the base of the lake an obvious but eroded trail leads up the hillside among beautiful wildflowers for about 1500 feet to the CMC campsite. The trail traverses left (south) just below the campsite; follow cairns and tape on some trees.

The CMC campsite is located among trees and near a spring. It has beautiful views and feels pleasantly secluded.

To climb the CMC route, first hike to the summit of Drizzlepuss, descend into the notch between Drizzlepuss and the east face of Moran, then climb the east face of Moran.

From the CMC campsite a trail goes to the top of Drizzlepuss with some scrambling. The trail can be difficult to follow in the dark, so it helps to scout where it goes before a pre-dawn start. Watch the cairns carefully to find the easiest fourth class route through the cliff bands. If you miss the easiest scramble, you may find yourself on fifth class ground and want to rope up. After this steep section, follow the scree slope, heading left around the West Horn, to the top of Drizzlepuss. This is a good location to leave extra water or packs for the descent.

From the top of Drizzlepuss, scramble down a short distance to the right (north) to find an rappel anchor. From this anchor you can rap or downclimb into the notch.

The interesting climbing starts from this notch. Initially the climb heads up a short corner, then traverses right (north) to avoid Unsoeld's needle. After the traverse pick a path up the broad east face of Moran, staying to the left of the prominent Black Dike. There are many possible lines up the face. The traditional CMC route stays near the center of the face. Several pitches of climbing lead to the top of the face.

From the broad summit ridge, it is an easy walk right (north) to the proper summit of Mount Moran.

The descent is somewhat involved. With careful routefinding it is only fourth-class downclimbing and does not require rappelling; if the correct route isn't found it may be more difficult. The descent stays near the south end of the east face of Moran (climber's left). From the notch between the face and Drizzlepuss, climb back up to the summit of Drizzlepuss. This is easier if you stay to the south (climber's right) of Drizzlepuss.

The remainder of the descent just reverses the hike back to the CMC campground and the lake.

Location Suggest change

The CMC route climbs the broad east face of Mount Moran, staying to the left (south) of the Black Dike. See above for more details on the approach.

Protection Suggest change

Tetons rack: a set of nuts and a few cams.