The Grand Teton in Five Tens or Rock Shoes?

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MtnMoma

Trad climber
Liechtenstein now Vermont
Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 17, 2013 - 12:12pm PT
This is my 'big' trip out West this year. Going to climb the grand - yehaa!
Any advise on what shoes to use? I am thinking it would be possible to climb it in Five Tens. I am shooting for the Exum Ridge.

Coming from low altitude (VT) it's all about saving weight on the approach for me. I'll be huffing and puffing. If you have advise on how to manage high altitude, gear, route finding etc. - I am all ears!

Thanks!
Isa
hagerty

Social climber
A Sandy Area South of a Salty Lake
Jul 17, 2013 - 12:19pm PT
I think maybe she meant the Five Tennie approach shoes.
MtnMoma

Trad climber
Liechtenstein now Vermont
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 17, 2013 - 12:20pm PT
Ok - needs clarification:


Referring to Five Tens approach shoes...

Protect your feet while you get superior traction in any situation with the women's Guide Tennie Canvas from Five Ten that aids your scramble to the top with extremely grippy Stealth C4 tread soles.


The goal is to avoid having to bring climbing shoes in addition to hiking shoes
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Jul 17, 2013 - 12:24pm PT
I assume you mean guide-tennies, or sticky rubber approach shoes. First take them out climbing on shorter, more technical climbs than the one you will be doing in the Tetons to see what their limits are, if the route is 5.8 & you have no problem climbing 5.9 in them then you will probably be fine. If you find yourself struggling in them though maybe it'll be worth the extra 1/2 pound in the bag for some rock shoes.


Oh, & bring a rope.

http://www.supertopo.com/tr/Grand-Teton-Unroped/t12030n.html
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Jul 17, 2013 - 12:43pm PT
You'll be fine in approach shoes
John Mac

Trad climber
Littleton, CO
Jul 17, 2013 - 12:55pm PT
They don't offer a lot of support under the feet, so unless you have strong feet I would put some good quality insoles for the walk up and down, otherwise you will have really sore feet the next day.

That's what happened to me!
Delhi Dog

climber
Good Question...
Jul 17, 2013 - 12:56pm PT
Exum...you'll be fine in approach shoes as the Jayman says.
have fun
Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Jul 17, 2013 - 12:56pm PT
For the Owen-Spalding or Upper Exum, approach shoes are plenty. (I say this knowing that you climb 5.11 or harder from Nick's photos, might be a different story for a 5.6 guy).

Biggest advice for the Exum: Get up early. Very popular, and can be filled up with slow n00bs. Go way early or be ready to pass multiple parties.
MtnMoma

Trad climber
Liechtenstein now Vermont
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 17, 2013 - 01:00pm PT
Ha ha - I see - no hiding in this crowd ;-)
MtnMoma

Trad climber
Liechtenstein now Vermont
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 17, 2013 - 01:06pm PT
Hoping to see fewer crowds. Have a permit for Sept. 8 and 9, weather depending and planning on a 4am start.
Jennie

Trad climber
Elk Creek, Idaho
Jul 17, 2013 - 01:46pm PT

Yes, September can be cold...occasionally the first winter storm will dump snow early in September. But in recent years conditions have been fairly moderate.

A camp on the moraine will have less wind...although a camp on the saddle has a nicer view. Rockfall from the Stettner Couloir has been bad the last few years but it's on the wane. Camping on the eastern part of the moraine will lessen the rockfall danger.
The upper Exum will go with approach shoes, climbing shoes or mountaineering boots. So will the the lower Exum.

Prepare for the cold, of course. Many climbers attempt the Grand without adequate insulation and wind gear. I've attempted one day ascents with nothing more a sweater and been forced to retreat.

The Exum gets significantly less traffic in September which is a plus.

Moisture laden clouds blowing across the peak can leave an icy glaze on the rock in late season. But the sun burns off ice on the Exum fairly quickly. (usually)...Have fun...climb safely.
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Jul 17, 2013 - 02:12pm PT
The Exum guides recommend for an ascent of the Grand, "Approach shoes...These “sticky rubber approach shoes” are worn throughout the approach, summit climb and descent."

Glenn Exum wore whatever passed for tennis shoes in 1931 when he made the first ascent of the (upper) Exum Ridge. You can also wear hiking boots to the beginning of Wall street, comfortable rock shoes (with socks) on the route, and pick up your hiking boots on the way down.

If you have the bucks and intend to do a bunch of alpine rock climbs, especially if some will be much harder than the upper Exum, I think the Sportiva Ganda http://www.sportiva.com/products/footwear/climbingapproach/ganda is the way to go. Properly fitted, it seems to me to be the ultimate Teton shoe.

If there is snow to be crossed early in the morning (probably not an issue after June), Katoola Microspikes http://www.kahtoola.com/microspikes.php or perhaps their KTS crampons http://www.kahtoola.com/kts_crampons_details.php#KTS_Alum_Info will make a difference in security for little added weight. These items could conceivably also help if the Owen-Spaulding descent is iced.
steveA

Trad climber
bedford,massachusetts
Jul 17, 2013 - 02:37pm PT
Last August, I climbed the Upper Exum with 2 other guys, sans rope. We took a rope and harnesses for the rappel.

I was glad that I brought my TC Pros, as I thought the "friction pitch" was pretty slippery.
I would make sure that your comfortable climbing in the shoes you take along.

I had a small pack, since I was going car to car, and wore running shoes, changing into the TC Pro's at the end of Wall Street.

Edit: Isa, after realizing who you are from your TR's, I suggest you do it in a long day. I did it the day after leaving Boston, and really felt fine.
It was great leaving all the weight behind and going light. (I met 2 guys at the lower saddle, half my age, who I joined up with). We took a rope, but never used it, except for the rappel.
I hiked from the climbers ranch, leaving at 5AM, and was back by around 6 PM.

Obviously, if your planning on doing the complete Exum Ridge, using gear,
the equation changes dramatically. At least it would for me.
katiebird

climber
yosemite
Jul 17, 2013 - 02:53pm PT
Are you by chance doing this with Karen?
Jennie

Trad climber
Elk Creek, Idaho
Jul 17, 2013 - 03:24pm PT
The guiding concessioners likely recommend approach shoes on the Grand because the Owen Spalding descent has an abundance of sand and fine gravel.

Beginning climbers wearing smooth soles often slip on rock with a fine layer of sand while lug soles give them better purchase on dirty, sandy rock. More experienced climbers in smooth soles adapt their footwork to avoid slipping on dirty rock.

The friction pitch can seem intimidating especially in high winds. The puff n' grunt crack is a fair alternative...or the friction pitch bypass which isn't more than class 4 if snow-free...and there are other alternatives to the west.

But approach shoes like Guide Tennie and Ganda will work well on the F.P.
jopay

climber
so.il
Jul 17, 2013 - 03:26pm PT
Good time to ask about Evolv Cruzer's, anybody climbed or approached in these?
MtnMoma

Trad climber
Liechtenstein now Vermont
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 17, 2013 - 03:32pm PT
Thanks Jennie, rgold and steveA for your informative advice!

Steve - it sounds like you did the lower Ridge (where did you rappel - Wall Street?)?

I definitely will try to reach the summit - kind of a summit gal :-) - which means probably an overnight. How did you prepare for the altitude?

steveA

Trad climber
Wolfeboro, NH
Jul 17, 2013 - 04:15pm PT
Hi Lisa,

I've only climbed the Grand two other times.
Once with my son-The Owen Spaulding- car to car and The West Face via the Black Ice C. ( when there was ice,) back in 1971.

I always kind of get confused up there, since I forget details.

When I went up last summer, I told my wife that I was just going to go for a long hike. I privately hoped that I would get to the top, but was realistic, since a few years earlier, I tried to solo it, and was nearly being blown over with 70 MPH winds at the lower saddle.

Anyway, I met these 2 guys at the Lower Saddle, and they convinced me to join them in soloing the Upper Exum. They had already done it and were familiar with the route.

I just followed the younger guys, and had a blast. The technical stuff started where Wall St. ends. It was kind of fun passing other groups,
who were very friendly.

I couldn't believe how many people were on top, and the weather was perfect.
I must admit, I've got to hand it to Glen Exum soloing that route in the crappy shoes they had back then). Exum didn't have the advantage of chalk which I pulled out on the friction pitch.

As to your last question:

I made an effort to keep in hiking shape by hiking up either Mt. Washington or other similar hike, once a week, starting in the Spring.










Alpamayo

Trad climber
Chapel Hill, NC
Jul 17, 2013 - 04:18pm PT
For MY climbing ability...I would be ok with the Upper Exum in approach shoes. I would not feel comfortable on the Lower Exum in approach shoes. I was happy to have real climbing shoes on the Lower.
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Jul 17, 2013 - 04:39pm PT
The rappel Steve is referring to is the standard rappel on the Owen-Spaulding route, from the Catwalk to the Upper Saddle.

I did the upper Exum unroped, continuing up from climbing the lower Exum. I was climbing in Robbins shoes at the time, which might be viewed as an early (and pre-sticky rubber) precursor of the Sportiva Ganda. I think any sticky rubber approach shoe would be fine for the friction pitch.

As for altitude, I think you want to do as much aerobic training as you can, involving as much in the way of hills as possible, at home. Given that, you still need a few days at altitude in order to adjust; the more days the better. If you can get to the Tetons early enough to do at the very least one long hike with good altitude gain, I think you'll be much more comfortable on the Grand. I like the North Fork of Cascade Canyon up to Lake Solitude. The hike up to Ampitheater Lake is good, a little shorter, and would familiarize you with the first part of the hike to the Lower Saddle from Lupine Meadows. Finally, the (unmaintained but pretty easy to follow) trail up Hanging Canyon to Lake of the Crags is shorter than the others but steep and with beautiful scenery.
Jennie

Trad climber
Elk Creek, Idaho
Jul 17, 2013 - 04:51pm PT
...perhaps it would be beneficial to reiterate that "approach shoes" are a broad classification of footwear. Guide Tennies and Gandas were fashioned with serious rock climbing in mind. Some "approach" footwear are not.

I love "Camp 4" shoes for rugged approaches but they aren't really good for precise rock climbing.

Rgold is correct about the Gandas...they're superb on rock... as are the veritable five-tennies and a few other shoes designed with edging, smearing and precise foot placement in mind.
jopay

climber
so.il
Jul 17, 2013 - 07:40pm PT
I'll try again Evolv Cruzer?
GhoulweJ

Trad climber
El Dorado Hills, CA
Jul 17, 2013 - 07:48pm PT
LaSportiva Ganda

Free solo 5.8 with 'em
Climbed 5.10 in 'em

Best climbable approach shoe ever!
http://www.mountaingear.com/webstore/Footwear/Shoes/La-Sportiva/Ganda-Approach-Shoe-Men-s/_/R-214137.htm
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
Jul 17, 2013 - 09:02pm PT
Exum Ridge will go in approach shoes. I did it in light mountain boots many years ago with climbing slippers in my pack. And they stayed there. It's very much like moderate Tuolumne/Sierra climbing. Think "high altitude SE Cathedral peak" with 4th class approach.; including possibly crowded even in early Sept.
The boots were very handy for the snow. Which will be minimal by September.

From personal experience, I strongly recommend you don't downclimb the Owen-Spalding. Take a light 60 meter rope. You can rapp down the regular chimney if you go to the left side (facing down). There's a rap station 1/2 way down. The two rope rapp is from the right (north) side of the chimney.
Exum Ridge is a terrific route to solo. Be ready for awesome exposure in a couple of places.

Go early, go quickly, be wary of the weather. It can change VERY suddenly and violently as I'm sure you know. I summited in a T-shirt with just a few clouds in sight and by the time I got back to the Lower Saddle it was starting to thunder and lightning. Full on lightning/rain/hail storm before I got down to the Caves area. Take your weather cues from the guided parties. It gets cold up there Real Fast in bad weather. And very icy.
MtnMoma

Trad climber
Liechtenstein now Vermont
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 18, 2013 - 08:51am PT
Great advise all around folks!

Listening to you all, I feel pretty good in attempting the complete Exum ridge in approach shoes. Thanks!

Keep the info regarding the Grand coming, not being familiar with the range, I appreciate all your advise about rappels, detours, alternate routes, camping, bivi, good food, ogers etc.


I'll be continuing to jog in humid thick air that you can cut with a knife in the hopes it will simulate 'lower oxygen', and climb in the company of black flies and mosquitoes chasing me up sweaty rocks (they do actualy sweat in the East in July ha ha)..
Isa
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Jul 18, 2013 - 08:57am PT
Another vote for Gandas. I do stuff like this in them exclusively! Even soloing routes at Devils tower in them.
Alpamayo

Trad climber
Chapel Hill, NC
Jul 18, 2013 - 11:27am PT
If you don't do it in a day, and you camp in the saddle, don't bring a tent. If you go past all the tent sites and over the saddle over to the Idaho-ward side of the saddle, there are several nice bivy caves. Much better than a tent.

I still think that lower Exum would be "spicy" in approach shoes! Hell, if you're climbing hard enough to do the lower Exum in approach shoes, another option would be to do the Gold Face (10a) instead. It's just as awesome (and right next to) as Exum, but a little harder.
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
Jul 18, 2013 - 12:42pm PT
I know your plan is to do the climb car to car. Certainly doable.
However consider acclimatization and the beauty of the mountains.
Consider a lightweight camp or bivvy at the Moraines or Caves or even Lower Saddle. Spend a fine night in the open at altitude. You'll be at the base of either route long before you could make it from the car. Note that the Exum guides leave their Lower Saddle camp for the summit about 4 AM.
That area really is a spectacular place to spend the evening and early morning.
Of course you should get a free overnight permit from the Jenny Lake Ranger station and there could be an evening or overnight thunderstorm.

MtnMoma
A clarification. I did the original Exum Ridge solo, not the complete.
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Jul 18, 2013 - 02:36pm PT
A second vote for not doing the route from Lupine Meadows in a day. Bivvy on the Lower Saddle and get on the rock at first light. This distributes the slogging over two days, is safer (the thunderstorms typically show up in the afternoon) and you get various esthetic mountain experiences, sunset on the Lower Saddle with the peak shadows extending over Jackson Hole, a night under the stars, and sunrise on the route. You can chill a bit on the summit and on the Lower Saddle on the way down because you're not racing darkness. Everything about it is better, unless you want to prove your fitness (and carry a bit less gear).
bobinc

Trad climber
Portland, Or
Jul 18, 2013 - 02:59pm PT
We really enjoyed our climb of the Petzoldt/Upper Exum with a base at the Moraines camp; this helped with the altitude issue and made a very early start no big deal on climb day. It's true, too, that electrical storms roll in a lot of days so starting very early from a high base is a good insurance plan.
md307

climber
jackson, wy
Jul 18, 2013 - 04:23pm PT
Fivetennies or equivalents are fine for most Teton routes 5.6 and easier, imho, at 5.7 you start to move into more technical and exposed terrain.
Evolv cruzers are awesome shoes but like everything else, they have pros and cons. Using the Tetons as a reference, I WOULD carry the cruzers up The Snaz for either the walk down decent or the rappels, I WOULD NOT approach/climb the Grand in them. They are surprisingly light, compact, comfortable and they climb well. However, they offer very little lateral support, they are cut low so tend to fill up with sand and such and they are not super durable. My first pair lasted through 4 days of adventure climbing in redrocks. I wore them for all of my approaches and descents and the stitching blew out. To be fair, Evolve replaced them for free and my current ones seem to be holding up better, but I immediately sealed all of the seams with shoe goo and I won’t use them for long approaches.
md307

climber
jackson, wy
Jul 18, 2013 - 04:41pm PT
If you want the most ridiculously detailed, blow by blow account of the Owen Spalding or Upper Exum you can go here,
http://www.wyomingwhiskey.net and/or www.wyomingwhiskey.org
If you just want current route conditions you can go here,
http://tetonclimbinggrand.blogspot.com/

MtnMoma

Trad climber
Liechtenstein now Vermont
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 19, 2013 - 12:23pm PT
I am definitely into the full mountain experience with an overnight - not shooting for a car to car effort. So I learned I have three options: either camp at the Meadows, the lower saddle (windy?) or bivi around the corner of the saddle.

Are there other good classics one can reach from any of these bases?


MtnMoma

Trad climber
Liechtenstein now Vermont
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 19, 2013 - 12:26pm PT
For the sake of enjoying nature and getting acclimatized, is there camping at the Amphitheater Lake? I think rgold mentioned that it was on the way to Lupine Meadows?

Would it make sense to hike to the lake and stay overnight and continue to Lupine the next day?
Alpamayo

Trad climber
Chapel Hill, NC
Jul 19, 2013 - 12:35pm PT
Irene's arete is near the Caves bivy which is on the trail up to the saddle. I had an awesome weekend hiking up to the saddle, bivy in a nice cave on the saddle. Climb the grand, and then go back down to the caves site. Went up the next day and climbed Irene's arete.
Jennie

Trad climber
Elk Creek, Idaho
Jul 19, 2013 - 12:40pm PT
Hi MtnMoma,

The parking area is on SW corner of Lupine Meadows. Perhaps you mean Garnet Canyon Meadows which has campsites for Grand ascents.

There are three campsites on the east side of Suprise Lake which is near Ampitheater Lake. (This is a different venue than most take thru Garnet Canyon and on to the Lower Saddle and Grand)

However, these camps (at Suprise-Ampitheater Lakes) are actually higher than the camps in Garnet Canyon and would require backtracking to the trails junction to proceed into Garnet Canyon.

(The Grand may be accessed from Suprise Lake by way of the "Dike Route" to the Lower Saddle, though)
TWP

Trad climber
Mancos, CO
Jul 19, 2013 - 01:26pm PT
Do it in Cowboy Boots - just like Glen Exum did on the first ascent of Exum Ridge.
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Jul 19, 2013 - 01:50pm PT
For the sake of enjoying nature and getting acclimatized, is there camping at the Amphitheater Lake? I think rgold mentioned that it was on the way to Lupine Meadows?

No, no, Lupine Meadows is where you park. I mentioned hiking to Ampitheater Lake as a conditioning hike. The beginning of that hike shares the the Garnet Canyon trail, but the two trails diverge after three miles, see http://www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/upload/Lupine_Meadows_topo.pdf

You could camp in Garnet Canyon Meadows and do the Grand from there, although I think a higher bivvy would be better for the Grand. The advantage of the Garnet Canyon meadows would be the availability of other climbs, e.g. the South Ridge of Nez Perce, the North Face of Cloudveil Dome, The Buckingham Ridge on Middle Teton, and the various crag climbs on Disappointment Peak, most notably Irene's Arete.

You could also use a Garnet Canyon Meadows camp as the base for a conditioning hike, namely South Teton, which is a third-class scramble.
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
Jul 19, 2013 - 02:04pm PT
It sounds as if you're unfamiliar with the terrain. Even though the range is small it is very complicated. My first time up there I hiked right past the Caves campsite without even knowing it.

I highly recommend this book:
http://shop.grandtetonpark.org/A_Climber_s_Guide_To_The_Teton_Range_p/10067.htm
It would be in any good mountain shop and many REIs.
AND a topo map. The terrain is complex. Cross country travel off trail can be difficult.
The USGS topos you want are Grand Teton and Mt Moran. Possibly Mount Bannon and Granite Basin if you want to do extended hiking.
You can download them for free from here:
http://store.usgs.gov/b2c_usgs/usgs/maplocator/(ctype=areaDetails&xcm=r3standardpitrex_prd&carea=%24ROOT&layout=6_1_61_48&uiarea=2)/.do

As was said, Amphitheatre/Sunrise lakes are nowhere near the main Teton routes.
However, the climb of Disappointment Peak from Lupine Mdws trailhead and Amphitheatre Lake is 3d class, a great acclimatizing day trip and gives you SPECTACULAR views all around.

I'm leaving for the Tetons on Monday. Can't wait to get there.
nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
Jul 22, 2013 - 04:53am PT
Grand Teton in Five Tens or Rock Shoes?
That all depends on you.
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Jan 11, 2014 - 02:29pm PT
i soloed Irene's arete and lower Exum back in the early '60s wearing Kronhofers...not particularly comfortable, not very durable, and not very good on snow and ice

now wearing guide tennies for many areas, but prefer La Sportiva Trangos for most routes in the Tetons

later used to use Robbins or Chouinards, but Trangos are the best shoe i've found for rock climbing that can still hold a crampon
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