Middle and/or South Teton - Memorial Day Weekend

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jwin17
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Middle and/or South Teton - Memorial Day Weekend

Post by jwin17 » Sat Apr 24, 2021 12:26 pm

Planning on making a trip up to the Tetons for the extended Memorial day weekend at the end of May. Considering an attempt at summiting the Middle and/or South Teton based on conditions and if I can find one or two people to team up with.
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Scott P
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Re: Middle and/or South Teton - Memorial Day Weekend

Post by Scott P » Sat Apr 24, 2021 5:20 pm

Your profile indicates that your max skill level is only class 3. Is this true? Those peaks wouldn't be friendly to a class 3 climber in May conditions.

Not trying to be a part pooper, just asking.
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Re: Middle and/or South Teton - Memorial Day Weekend

Post by jwin17 » Sat Apr 24, 2021 5:38 pm

That is true, and I appreciate the feedback and am welcome to any more information you can give. You're not being a party pooper at all, it's important to obviously be realistic. I kind of figured end of May was still pushing it, but I haven't done too much research into typical conditions during that time of year yet. I had planned on making some calls up there when the time got closer. From my understanding so far I know the route is mostly class 2, with some class 3 mixed in, which is obviously a different game based on snow levels and quality.
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Re: Middle and/or South Teton - Memorial Day Weekend

Post by Scott P » Sat Apr 24, 2021 7:35 pm

Even in dry years, those mountains will be buried in deep snow. They are pretty serious climbs then. In most years, at least an iceaxe will be required before late July. I'd suggest waiting until late summer without experience in those conditions. That said though Middle Teton is the easiest of "the big ones" in the Tetons. Still, it isn't to be underestimated, especially in the snow season.

Good luck whatever you decide to do.
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Re: Middle and/or South Teton - Memorial Day Weekend

Post by jwin17 » Sat Apr 24, 2021 8:12 pm

I do own an ice axe, and am confident in my ability to use it. Again, appreciate all the feedback. Any local routes you would recommend to practice on beforehand to test my comfort level to prepare for the Middle Teton?
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Re: Middle and/or South Teton - Memorial Day Weekend

Post by markf » Sat Apr 24, 2021 8:40 pm

If you're confident with an ice axe and crampons the SW Couloir of Middle shouldn't be a problem. I recall the NW Couloir of South Teton being a little easier than the SW Couloir of Middle Teton. If you're bivying in Garnet Canyon then doing Middle and South together would be the sensible thing to do. If you're going car to car then doing both peaks in a day would be impressive.

I suppose I should add that my ascent of those two peaks was in late May/early June 1989, but I don't think my memory has deteriorated too much since then.
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Re: Middle and/or South Teton - Memorial Day Weekend

Post by Scott P » Sat Apr 24, 2021 9:03 pm

jwin17 wrote:
Sat Apr 24, 2021 8:12 pm
I do own an ice axe, and am confident in my ability to use it. Again, appreciate all the feedback. Any local routes you would recommend to practice on beforehand to test my comfort level to prepare for the Middle Teton?
Good to know. If you are confident with an ice axe those peaks might be OK. I wasn't sure based on your profile.

I have been to the Tetons in May and it always looks closer to winter than summer then. As long as you go prepared and are proficient with an ice axe, you can have a good trip.

That time of year, a one day trip would be hard. Even back when I was in good shape 20 years ago, I failed on my one day attempt on South Teton in snowy conditions.

Maybe try something like the North Couloir of Castle followed by Conundrum since the one on Castle one is much easier and provides good practice for the latter.
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Re: Middle and/or South Teton - Memorial Day Weekend

Post by jfm3 » Sat Apr 24, 2021 9:56 pm

I climbed South & Middle in August last year (I wrote a trip report, if you want to read it). It was a long, tall day, and that was with 95% of the route being dry. A few recent reports from the Tetons still show full winter snow conditions. You should also check to see if the Lupine Meadows parking lot is open in May. If it's still closed I think you'll have to start from somewhere around Taggart Lake, south of Garnet Canyon, which will add mileage.
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Re: Middle and/or South Teton - Memorial Day Weekend

Post by ScottLovesRMNP » Sat Apr 24, 2021 10:18 pm

After several notable, successful snow climbs in the Pacific Northwest, I attempted Middle Teton in late June two years ago and we didn't make it. My partner slipped in crampons in the steep snow and had to do a split-second self arrest with his ice axe to avert a bad outcome. The snow is crazy steep on the upper mountain, which goes on for much longer than it appears it will from below. I will attempt Middle again, but next time in August!
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Re: Middle and/or South Teton - Memorial Day Weekend

Post by jscully205 » Sun Apr 25, 2021 6:53 am

I think South Teton is the easiest of the 2. Easiest route up the Middle is going to be the SW Couloir, It's decently steep snow climb and class 3 when it's dry. It's still full on winter conditions in the Tetons in late May FYI. I'd wait until August if you are looking for ideal dry conditions.
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Re: Middle and/or South Teton - Memorial Day Weekend

Post by jwin17 » Sun Apr 25, 2021 10:18 am

A lot of great information I’ll take into consideration. Thank you guys!
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