Direct South Ridge
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BETA PHOTO: The South Ridge from the col on the approach. The...
Probably the finest route on the peak, the South Ridge provides an enjoyable passage up mostly solid, golden granite to the summit. The difficulties are not sustained, with many easy 5th class sections broken up by short 5.6-5.7 steps. The crux is likely passing through a notch on a short wall on pitch six -- a few fun, steep, well-protected moves.
We didn't do the last two pitches as the 5.8 variation looked like a more direct finish up the steep headwall near the top of the ridge. However, if following the main route, scramble to the East and up about 200 feet to avoid the steep buttress, and belay 1-2 pitches to the top.
Descent: The descent is rather complicated, but from the summit, traverse the west ridge and slowly descend to the NW. Keep angling mostly west, and follow cairns until you reach some rappel slings. Two 60-foot rappels bring you to a deep col, and from here you can scramble back down to Garnet Canyon. The exact descent trail here eluded us, but you should be able to scramble and downclimb the rest of the face, angling west. Eventually you'll reach the enormous cirque bordering the South Teton, Middle Teton and Nez Perce; and, depending on the season, it's either interminable talus and boulder-hopping or fun glissading back to the stream at the bottom of Garnet Canyon.
A long day just about any way you break it. If attempting in a day, hike up Garnet Canyon to the Platforms. From the Platforms, ascend a couloir to the SW which will put you in a gorgeous cirque. From here, traverse South, keeping about the same elevation, and eventually wrapping around the East flanks of Nez Perce. From here, Shadow Mountain looms to the South and two cols will be visible to the West, up another 1500 feet or so. Aim for the right, higher one. From this col the striking South Ridge will come into view right in front of you. Traverse 100 feet and ascend 4th class ledges until you reach a larger ledge, then traverse west. Soon you will reach a 15 foot spike in front of an obvious left-facing corner/chimney. This is the first pitch.
Standard Teton rack. No fixed anchors. Bring lots of slings.
By Greg Malloure
From: Prescott Az
Oct 12, 2014
Take note that the book warns many climbers do not climb the correct ridge. The direct south ridge lies south of the col and does not connect to the col. If you find yourself climbing the wrong ridge (the one connected to the col) and it dead ends, don't worry. From there traverse the whole mountain on 3rd and 4th class ledges to the west. This way you will pass below the head wall in the south ridge. Or continue traversing generally west and up until you can see the Grand Teton. From there it's just a couple hundred feet of scrambling to the summit. This also leads to the NW coulior descent.