Ascent of Middle Teton on 2010-09-17

Climber: Lane Erickson

Date:Friday, September 17, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Middle Teton
    Elevation:12804 ft / 3902 m

Ascent Trip Report

Just returned from climbing the Middle Teton which is the peak just to the south of the Grand Teton. What an awesome adventure! We backpacked into the Meadows campground in Garnett Canyon on Thursday and camped there that night. Camp sites at the Meadows are well marked and spacious bear boxes are in place for all campers to use. Garnett Canyon is ruggedly beautiful.

We got up the next morning and began our climb to the saddle between the South Teton and the Middle Teton which took us 2.5 to 3 hours. At the saddle we crossed a snow field about 300 meters long along the ridge line towards the summit. I was a little nervous as I didn't have an ice axe but plenty of foot holds had been made in the snow which were easy to step into and climb.

We climbed up the South Couloir, which is protected on both sides with rock faces and cliffs. We made the summit by noon and stayed on top for about 30 minutes. While we were there 2 other climbers summited from the north side having climbed through snow and ice the entire way. They looked pretty cool with all their climbing gear on.

The descent was a little dicier in that some of the snow had warmed up and became slippery. We stuck to the right side of the Couloir on the solid rock and made it down with only a few slips. All in all it was an awesome adventure that I'd gladly do again.

As for gear, dress in layers. We were constantly taking off and putting on layers to keep warm or cool off depending on the wind and what we were doing. Leather gloves are nice while scrambling up the Couloir to the summit. An ice axe would have been nice but wasn't vital. Most other climbers were wearing climbing pants, helmets and serious climbing boots. We wore hiking pants with zip off legs, low-top hiking shoes (trail runners) and baseball hats or scull caps. A helmet isn't a bad idea since some of the rock in the final ascent is loose.

This is a challenging hike. You'll spend about 2 hours rock-hopping up, through and around large boulders and rocks as you leave the Meadows Campground in Garnett Canyon and begin your ascent towards the saddle between the South Teton and the Middle Teton. Make sure your legs are in good shape for the beating they will take both on the way up and the way back down. The final ascent it about 800 or so feet and is very steep but doesn't require any ropes or specialized equipment if it is mostly clear of snow.

You do have to get a permit if you are going to be camping overnight in the Meadows. The Ranger Station is near Jenny Lake and the permits are free and will be provided if the Meadows campground is not already full.

You will hike 4.7 miles from the trailhead up to the Meadows. The summit is another 2.5-3 miles. It could be done in a day but why would you want to blow past all that beauty in such a hurry. Take your time and enjoy the area because it is truly mind-blowingly beautiful.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Snow on Ground, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Tent Camp

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