Ascent of Middle Teton on 2011-09-10

Climber: Anthony Wilkinson

Date:Saturday, September 10, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Middle Teton
    Elevation:12804 ft / 3902 m

Ascent Trip Report

Incredible. First peak climbed (it's a scramble w/ some snow slopes) in the Tetons, it was fairly long with lots of elevation gain (over 6000'), and boulder hopping constituted a good portion of the route, which did wear the legs down.

We needed to make the trip quickly so we did it in one long day. We left Cache Valley, UT at 2:00am, started hiking at 6:30am or so, got back to the car at about 8:30pm, and back to northern Utah by 1:45am the next morning. Made for a long, but magnificent 24 hours.

Route-finding through the boulder fields was pretty straight forward, some cairns are visible, but not always. We just worked our way up the route as various descriptions recommend.

Snow in the South Fork of Garnet Canyon was still extensive at the very end of summer. We had left crampons on the rangers recommendation and made it fine, but a few sections of snow on the ascent would have been quicker and safer with them. This was a very snowy year so I imagine this is not always the case. Ice axes were quite valuable on the consolidated snow, both on ascent as well as during the glissade down, as well as were trekking poles.

The scrambling sections weren't too tough, but one would want to conserve enough energy on the ascent for them. There is some loose rock so helmets would for sure be a good idea. Never did I feel really exposed, and it ended up being much easier than it appears from the saddle above Icefloe Lake.

The view at the summit was as one would expect from the top of the Middle Teton: truly breathtaking. The Grand looms nearly 1000' higher to the the north (you get a great view of the route from the Lower to Upper Saddle on the Grand), and the expanse of air below the summit in all directions made me cautious. It's not too bad if you take care and keep yourself from the edge, however.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:6058 ft / 1846 m
    Round-Trip Distance:14 mi / 22.5 km
    Route:SW Couloir
    Trailhead:Lupine Meadows Parking  6746 ft / 2056 m
    Grade/Class:Class 3/4
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Very clear even into late afternoon, warm fall day

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