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HELP: Want to climb Grand Teton
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rockprodigy


Oct 14, 2009, 9:37 AM
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Re: [keith_b00ne] HELP: Want to climb Grand Teton [In reply to]
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Well, considering the Grand was first climbed about 100 years ago before cams, nuts and even pitons or crampons, I'd say you have more gear and climbing experience than the first ascentionists did. All THEY needed was courage and an adventurous spirit...something that is severely lacking in today's climbers.

If you have the desire to do it, that is all you need. You certainly don't need the blessing of an internet safety committe.

PS, I climb at the Red a lot and would be happy to help in exchange for some belay duty.


sungam


Oct 14, 2009, 9:43 AM
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Re: [rockprodigy] HELP: Want to climb Grand Teton [In reply to]
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rockprodigy wrote:
Well, considering the Grand was first climbed about 100 years ago before cams, nuts and even pitons or crampons, I'd say you have more gear and climbing experience than the first ascentionists did. All THEY needed was courage and an adventurous spirit...something that is severely lacking in today's climbers.

If you have the desire to do it, that is all you need. You certainly don't need the blessing of an internet safety committe.

PS, I climb at the Red a lot and would be happy to help in exchange for some belay duty.
Kieth, belay this man! Take the offer!


keith_b00ne


Oct 14, 2009, 12:36 PM
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Re: [rockprodigy] HELP: Want to climb Grand Teton [In reply to]
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I appreciate everyone's information. Thanks again.

Rockprodigy: Will likely take you up on the offer.


jmeizis


Oct 14, 2009, 1:24 PM
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Re: [keith_b00ne] HELP: Want to climb Grand Teton [In reply to]
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I was there about a month ago so I'll give you some more relevant advice.

It's big. I've done plenty of long climbs but the Grand is actually the biggest elevation from combined climbing and hiking I've done so far. I live next to Pikes Peak and it covers almost the same elevation gain in less than half the distance and it includes a significant amount of technical climbing/scrambling. It's big and it's steep. It sounds like you do a good amount of hiking so you should be ok. Just keep in mind that you'll have to carry your climbing gear. Between two of us we had close to 100 lbs. for a week. Don't take two sixty meter ropes unless it's a set of half or double ropes. Two singles is overkill and just extra weight.

Alpine climbing is less about the technical ropework skills (which can be learned relatively quickly and safely) than it is about good backcountry habits. If you're comfortable camping in a place that can go from beautiful to inhospitable in a minute then you'll be fine. It's mountain weather. It'll be nice and sunny then all of a sudden you can't see your partner anymore. Having the experience just camping and hiking in the mountains to know how to deal with that kind of weather will probably play a more significant role in your safety in the mountains than the technical climbing stuff you learn. I can count the number of times technical climbing stuff saved my ass on one hand. Good camping and gear systems and habits are a different story. It's a lot harder to place gear when you have hypothermia, frostbite, sunstroke, whatever.

In terms of climbing strength you're fine. there are a lot of easier technical ascents on the Grand. Exum and OS are great examples. I found Exum to have great exposure, it was fairly easy to protect, and there was more scrambling than actual climbing. It's long though, we did both the upper and lower ridges and simul-climbed all but the Black Face and it still took us four hours. If you're not simul-climbing it will take forever. I rappelled the OS and it didn't seem too bad but a lot more hiking with less climbing. What you want to do more of will determine which route you climb. Getting a guidebook will provide you with a large variety of routes to pick from but it's always nice to do the classics when you're at a place for the first time.

It sounds like you're aiming for rock routes so what you really need to learn is how to place gear, how to build good anchors, and good rope management. I said don't bring two singles. If you bring doubles it takes practice to get used to using them. Keep in mind that you only need one rope to get off from the summit. If you bring one rope I'd suggest bringing a bigger rack in case you have to bail and vice versa for bringing two ropes. The only bolted anchor I ever saw was one on the rappels so you definately need to learn how to build gear anchors as well as recognize what good and bad rock are to build anchors in. You can learn that from big-walling friends but what you won't learn is how to do it fast, or how to do it in the dark, or how to do it while you're shaking because you're gripped, tired, or cold. Any snow stuff would be wasted because if you go in the nicest part of the season (late summer) then you won't need any snow gear. There's some running water and seeps that might freeze overnight but crampons and an ice axe would be overkill except for a really big dump that sticks around all summer. You can check the conditions on the park's climbing blog. You can also get a conditions report and lots of good beta when you get a backcountry permit. Those are required, but they're free.

You can learn all you need to in a year but if you go with someone with as much or less experience than you I can only imagine it being very intimidating and scary. Just because you learn it in a year doesn't mean you're efficient or capable. Don't pigeonhole yourself into a particular timeframe to do it or you might end up getting dissapointed. Same for when you're on the mountain. Give yourself a little time to acclimate and enjoy yourself.

If you hire a guide you'll have a significantly easier time. You won't need to carry nearly as much gear, they'll do all the safety management, and you can probably learn from them if you ask for it. Both Exum and Jackson Hole are great companies, Exum is a bit closer with their basecamp as far as I could tell. Those guys have that place extremely dialed so that's the most carefree way to do it but I can understand wanting to do it on your own.

You can read about my trip, or as much as I've written so far, in the blog in my signature. If you have any questions just PM me.


paulraphael


Oct 17, 2009, 9:10 PM
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Re: [jmeizis] HELP: Want to climb Grand Teton [In reply to]
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jmeizis wrote:
It sounds like you're aiming for rock routes so what you really need to learn is how to place gear, how to build good anchors, and good rope management....

That's the short version of it. You need to get experience climbing multipitch trad, by yourself, not with a guide.

Sounds like you know how to climb, and you're comfortable in the mountains. Those are important. Now you need to get to the point where moving from pitch to pitch is second nature to you. You need to be fast, otherwise mountains like the grand will be too dangerous.

I'll add that the upper exum is a much nicer route than the the OS. Beautiful, fun climbing, and a fair amount of the route will be in the sun. OS is dark, often damp, more choss than good climbing, and there's more risk of everyone's debris coming down on your head all day.


keith_b00ne


Jul 26, 2013, 10:39 AM
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Re: [keith_b00ne] HELP: Want to climb Grand Teton [In reply to]
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I appreciated all the feed back when I was first considering this trip. As such I wanted to post one last follow up. In 2011 I purchased a full rack and starting climbing avidly in Red Rocks, NV. I worked myself up to 5.7 multipitch right before the Grand Trip. We went in July 2011 and tried the OS route on an overnight trip. We had to bail right before the Cat Walk due to heavy thunderstorms moving in. The entire 11 hour drive home I was disappointed by knew I would try again. 2 weeks later I returned to perfectly clear skies. We had a team of 3 people and I took the lead the entire way. We didn't have permits so we went car to car. We were slow and it took about 18 hours total. The trip was totally epic and I was immedately hooked on mountaineering. Now I am trad climbing regularly and hitting every big mountain I can. Thanks for everyones feedback on this trip!


dr_feelgood


Jul 26, 2013, 11:52 AM
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Re: [keith_b00ne] HELP: Want to climb Grand Teton [In reply to]
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keith_b00ne wrote:
I appreciated all the feed back when I was first considering this trip. As such I wanted to post one last follow up. In 2011 I purchased a full rack and starting climbing avidly in Red Rocks, NV. I worked myself up to 5.7 multipitch right before the Grand Trip. We went in July 2011 and tried the OS route on an overnight trip. We had to bail right before the Cat Walk due to heavy thunderstorms moving in. The entire 11 hour drive home I was disappointed by knew I would try again. 2 weeks later I returned to perfectly clear skies. We had a team of 3 people and I took the lead the entire way. We didn't have permits so we went car to car. We were slow and it took about 18 hours total. The trip was totally epic and I was immedately hooked on mountaineering. Now I am trad climbing regularly and hitting every big mountain I can. Thanks for everyones feedback on this trip!

Holy Shit! A rockclimbing.com success story!

And he didn't even die!


rocknice2


Jul 26, 2013, 12:57 PM
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Re: [dr_feelgood] HELP: Want to climb Grand Teton [In reply to]
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He did say it was 'total epic'. I think he meant awsome though. Thanks for the trip report.


keith_b00ne


Jul 26, 2013, 1:10 PM
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Re: [rocknice2] HELP: Want to climb Grand Teton [In reply to]
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rocknice2 wrote:
He did say it was 'total epic'. I think he meant awsome though. Thanks for the trip report.

Yeh, I use 'epic' interchangably. In this case, it was awesome! Smile I have the other kind of 'epics' and they make for good stories as long as you can walk away to talk about it.

I found the OS route pretty straight forward. I ran the gear out because the climbing never was difficult and the placements were bomber. I even did the harder Owen Chimney variation instead of the Catwalk.

The crowds were the only factor that made things difficult. Parties were passing one another and more than once did I barely escape rock fall. I saw one girl hit by a rock the size of a softball, but she wasn't hurt. Everyone gave the guy above a good cussing. There were also some parties that were less experience than us and asked us to pull ropes for them, but I don't think they ever summited.

Overall it was a very classic climb. Next time I will try the Exum Ridge.


(This post was edited by keith_b00ne on Jul 26, 2013, 1:11 PM)

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