Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 21, 2013 - 12:48pm PT
I'll be in the Tetons in early June and will be attempting the Cathedral Traverse north-to-south sometime June 7 to 9 (dates are already set due to other circumstances). What can I expect for conditions on Teewinot, Owen, and the Grand? Specifically, I'd love to know:
What does the snowpack look like? Is it isothermal at that point or are there avy risks?
How much snow? Kicking steps in the approach shoes or bring boots, ice axe, pickets, etc?
How likely is ice, and how much? Bring crampons, a technical ice tool (or 2), ice screws, etc.?
Will on-route conditions be rock or mixed climbing at that point? (That may answer some of the above questions.) Bring climbing shoes or can the North Ridge of the Grand be done reasonably in approach shoes?
The water content in the snowpack is a little less than normal and the depth in the Tetons is currently about 85 % of average
Early in June, I would want boots rather than approach shoes, an ice axe, ice tools. You will encounter a lot of steep snow and wet slabs ...possibly icy conditions on the North Ridge of the Grand.
Weather can be pretty unsettled in early June. If the weather has been good, the east ridge of Mt Owen should offer dry rock climbing but I believe you will run into snow on much of the Cathedral Traverse.
The North Ridge is certainly climbable in good approach shoes, but myself, I'd want climbing boots unless conditions are exceptionally warm and dry.
Perhaps Mr Donini, Brian in SLC or one of the guides or rangers will post here.
Best wishes for your trip. I would prefer doing the Traverse after mid July... but a June circuit should be great adventure if the weather is reasonable.
Jennie, thanks for the reply. That's precisely the kind of beta I'm after. From what I'm gathering, it's looking like snow and wetness will be a substantial part of the experience, boots, crampons, and tools are a good idea.
I wouldn't mind going a bit later and bit lighter to be honest, but we're willing to take our time, so to speak, and plan for bivying as required. My friend is taking an alpine guiding course a couple days later and he's never been to the Tetons, so really, adverse conditions, snow, mixed climbing, etc. are somewhat desirable so he can get a good feel for the climbing prior to the course. Thanks.
I'd also love to hear what guides, rangers, donini, etc. have to say.
Early June can be snowy, but avy danger should not be a factor. For that time of year i would:
Climb with the lightest pr. of alpine boots you can get
Bring lt. wt. flexible aluminum crampons
A single lt. wt. ice ax
No ice screws or pickets.....rock protection will be abundant
Cola, berg heil! Jennie is right about the conditions being more dry and consistent resulting in a lighter faster trip later in summer. However The Tetons turn into a hot dusty rubble heap as summer goes by with more and more folks in the mts. I actually moved here as a result of several May/June trips. The alpine climbing is fantastic. Winter snowpack dependant somewhat but really good nonetheless. Mixed. Alpine. At that time neve is neve ice is ice and the rock is good. It's also the most beautiful time of year in Jackson. Snow white peaks, verdant green valley, flowers about and not too crowded. In 35 May/June climbing seasons here it is my favorite time of year in the Tetons. Go for it, have fun.
In early June you might want to look at something more like the Root Canal, Grand North Couloir, Tower Two Chute, Minor Sixth Couloir, Three Shots in the Dizzy Wind, Run Don't Walk Couloir, The Pencile, Otterbody Chimneys... These are all rarely climbed routes at may be "in" that time of year. Steve's right the alpine climbing in June can be great.