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Topic: Help with TCT and Yellowstone NP itinerary, Backpacking novice could use some help< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 01 2013, 1:02 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Three buddies and I, all males, reasonably good shape in our mid 30's, have a trip to Grand Teton and Yellowstone planned for the first week of July.  We are backpacking and national park novices, and this is all of our first times to this part of the country.  As such, although we have an itinerary at this point, it is still changeable as needed, and I would really appreciate the more experienced members who are familiar with the area's input on it.  

Sat, 6/29 - all arrive at JAC airport, stay in Jackson (or should we stay in Teton Village?)
Sun, 6/30 - do self-arrest course with Jackson Hole Mountain Guides, stay in Jackson vs. Teton Village
Mon 7/1 - Thurs 7/4 - TCT from Aerial tram->Death Canyon Shelf->South Fork Cascade->Upper Paintbrush->Jenny Lake
Thurs 7/4 evening - fireworks in Jackson, drive, night at Canyon Lodge in Yellowstone
Fri 7/5 - day hike/trip in Yellowstone (suggestion?), night at either West Yellowstone or Gardiner hotel -- cannot decide which one - ??
Sat 7/6 - day hike/trip in Yellowstone (suggestion?), night at Grant Village
Sun 7/7 morning - fly out of JAC

Moving around to a different hotel every night is not ideal, but there is no availability at one place for all 3 nights.  And I guess the positive is that we'll be near 3 different areas of the large Yellowstone.

I would really appreciate y'all's input on the above.  Thanks a lot!
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 01 2013, 3:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Rather than staying at a motel, since you have camping equipment - at least I assume you do since you're backpacing - why not just camp in one of the park's regular campgrounds. Way cheaper.  Just make sure you get there early in the morning before all the sites are taken.  Just a suggestion.  I've traveled to Yellowstone a bajillion times and have yet to stay in a hotel./motel.  Campgrounds are fine for me.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 01 2013, 4:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I did the teton crest trail years ago and loved it.  You are doing right by taking the tram, we did the same.  It is nice to gain elevation the easy way and then gradually lose elevation to until you get to the road.

We had bear problems our first day in the Tetons.  While pumping water, a bear and two cubs ransacked our campsite including ripping open our tent and my sleeping bag.  We used bear canisters (which were outside of the tent) so she didn't get anything but just a story to encourage you to use best bear practices.  

Only potential glitch I see is you are planning on camping in Yellowstone and then getting up and flying out of Jackson Hole in the same day.  That section of road can be really slow in the summer.  Give yourself plenty of time to make your flight.







Have a great trip!
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 01 2013, 5:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Assuming you havent been to Jackson before, you should stay there your first night, yall would probably enjoy it.

Why are you taking the self arrest class?  And are you planning to spend the whole day doing that?

Its a long drive from jackson to yellowstone, atleast an hour to the yellowstone border, and you still have a ways to go to any touristy stops.  Keep that in mind too for your trip back to the airport.

I too would just camp if your already doing that, way easier than bouncing around hotels each night.  Your gonna spend a lot of time in the car.  Although yellowstone is usually explored easier with a car, especially if its your first time there.  

And I wouldnt plan on watching fireworks in Jackson, then trying to drive to canyon village, thats about a 2.5/3 hour drive, even at night, park speed limit is 45 at most.  Just stay in Jackson, drive up in the morning


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 01 2013, 5:49 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

As for dayhiking suggestions for yellowstone, I would say dont dayhike.  Assuming you've never been to yellowstone before, spend your time there driving around the park, and stopping everytime you see something cool.  You wont run out of things to do in your few days.  You will see a lot more doing it this way.  Its not like your going to be missing some great view or wildlife by not dayhiking.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 01 2013, 8:30 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Just a suggestion for a short hike.  Sounds like you might be kind of rushed.  If you're looking for a short but very nice day hike in Yellowstone, I would suggest the one mile hike down to the suspension bridge over the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone. Pretty spectacular view of the canyon with great picnic spots on either side of the bridge.  Easy hike down and up that you can fit into a few hours.  Big payback for a little effort.  The trailhead is along the northern road at the Hellroading trail head.  Just a suggestion.

Have a great time.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 02 2013, 11:40 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

As early as you are going you need that self arrest course if you are going to go across Paintbrush Divide. Usually that requires an Ice axe until the 10th of July if not later, but its shaping up to be another early Spring. In 2011 you would have had trouble negotiating Hurricane let alone Paintbrush. You might consider skipping Paintbrush, going down Avalanche or Cascade Canyon and give yourself another dayhiking/ sightseeing day.

If you do stay in hotels as someone that works for two hotels and a property management/booking company here in Jackson BOOK EARLY. Rates can vary dramatically.

The Grand Teton Climbers Ranch is an awesome place, a hostel with plywood bunks in a dozen cabins. Although only 15 minutes or so from the Airport it is INCREDIBLE. There is no guarantee you could get your own cabin/room for your group, but if you call earlier in June they just might try and accommodate you. Much cheaper than hotels, about 22 bucks a night for non-AAC members, and instead of being right off the pavement in town you're right at the base of the Grand with jaw dropping/neck wrenching views with every step. A walk in the evening often has you sharing the trail with Balckies, moose, etc. Some of the finest dayhiking and backpacking in the world starts right at your cabin door.

I think everyone that dismisses the TCT on the south end makes a huge mistake. I think the south end is by far the best wildlife part of the "Complete" Crest Trail. Nonetheless if your time is limited taking the tram up can be an asset, but do not think of it being a means of dealing with elevation/acclimation. In fact taking the tram up will handicap certain hikers.

I agree that driving to Canyon at night is a big mistake. I'd get back to the Climbers Ranch or message me for dispersed vehicle camping opportunities most people fly on by. The problem is, you've picked one of the most popular times, so have options.

If you go to Yellowstone I'd get up Oh dark thirty, hit Old Faithfull at Sunrise, then head for Canyon on the inner loop. IMO the waterfalls are Yellowstone's greatest glories, not the thermal features, but that's just me. I think the best dayhike in the park is Avalanche Peak, and if you saved Old Faithfull for another time you could still see many thermal features, the Canyon/Falls, and dayhike one of the greatest views in all of the Rockies and beyond.


If you want to do Yellowstone any semblance of justice SAVE it for another time. Stay at the Climbers Ranch, dayhike Ampitheatre and Surprise right out your door, have an awesome final dinner at Dornan's or Signal Mt. Lodge and head for Oxbow bend at Dusk. Two Grizzly families were still frequenting the Oxbow in that time frame in 2012.

There's so much to do, but the best thing to do is to not try and do too much for those of us willing to get some distance from the Asphalt and gravel find the greatest treasures in not hurrying across the countryside. If I can help yuo don't hesitate to message me. Otherwise thanks for spending your vacation dollars in Wyoming and have a great time.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 04 2013, 10:15 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Rather than taking the tram, start your hike out heading up Death Canyon.  My father and I did that back in 2011 at the end of August and still could have used Ice Axes at Paintbrush, but it was a record snow year, so who knows what it'll be like for you.
Campsites were Death Canyon Shelf, Sunset Lake (which we managed to have to ourselves), North Fork Cascade at the end of the camping zone, and then out over Paintbrush and walking by Holly Lake.

For Yellowstone, like others have stated, making it from Jackson to Canyon after fireworks could be a very late night, plus the danger of all the wildlife on the roads during the night.  One thing I would suggest you do while in yellowstone, is the cookout ride at Roosevelt Lodge, book it ASAP.  You'll have the choice of either a two hour horseback ride, one hour ride or taking the wagons to the cookout where you'll have an all you can eat steak dinner in beautiful Paradise Valley.

Aside from that, driving the roads and seeing the sights is a good idea, your short time in the park will make it tough to do much else.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 04 2013, 1:44 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(hikerjer @ Mar. 01 2013, 3:25 pm)
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Rather than staying at a motel, since you have camping equipment - at least I assume you do since you're backpacking.

It's a good idea for sure, but given the city slickers that they are, the only way I could cajole them into "roughing it" in tents for the TCT is b/c we really have no other option out there.  If there are other options they tend to gravitate toward the path of least resistance, i.e. hotel/motel.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 04 2013, 1:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(botanist @ Mar. 01 2013, 4:17 pm)
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We had bear problems our first day in the Tetons.  While pumping water, just a story to encourage you to use best bear practices.  

Only potential glitch I see is you are planning on camping in Yellowstone and then getting up and flying out of Jackson Hole in the same day.  That section of road can be really slow in the summer.  Give yourself plenty of time to make your flight.

Great info x 2.  Bear awareness and plenty of margin for the day we fly out.  Thank you!
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 04 2013, 1:52 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(RobinHood @ Mar. 01 2013, 5:25 pm)
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Why are you taking the self arrest class?  And are you planning to spend the whole day doing that?

Although yellowstone is usually explored easier with a car, especially if its your first time there.  

And I wouldnt plan on watching fireworks in Jackson, then trying to drive to canyon village, thats about a 2.5/3 hour drive, even at night, park speed limit is 45 at most.  Just stay in Jackson, drive up in the morning

Yes I was told by the ranger with whom I booked the permits that she strongly recommends that for the time of year we are going if we don't already possess those skills (we don't).  And yes the JHMC guy I spoke to said it's a whole day thing.

Very good input.  If that's the case then maybe we should just book 3 consecutive nights at a still available out-of-the-park hotel/motel?  If so which city would y'all recommend for that -- West Yellowstone, Gardiner, or something further south nearer to Jackson?  If you had to pick one out-of-park hub for a daily hub-and-spoke driving around Yellowstone plan?

Brilliant.  We would be tired just having finished the TCT so that makes sense.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 04 2013, 2:03 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(hikerjer @ Mar. 01 2013, 8:30 pm)
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If you're looking for a short but very nice day hike in Yellowstone, I would suggest the one mile hike down to the suspension bridge over the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone. Pretty spectacular view of the canyon with great picnic spots on either side of the bridge.  Easy hike down and up that you can fit into a few hours.  Big payback for a little effort.

High yield hiking -- great!  It's on our calendar, thanks!
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 04 2013, 2:12 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(double cabin @ Mar. 02 2013, 11:40 am)
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If you do stay in hotels as someone that works for two hotels and a property management/booking company here in Jackson BOOK EARLY. Rates can vary dramatically.

The Grand Teton Climbers Ranch is an awesome place

Nonetheless if your time is limited taking the tram up can be an asset, but do not think of it being a means of dealing with elevation/acclimation. In fact taking the tram up will handicap certain hikers.

I think the best dayhike in the park is Avalanche Peak

If you want to do Yellowstone any semblance of justice SAVE it for another time.

You've got mail, could certainly use your help.

GTCR looks great to me, but may not to my city slicker buds.

Any advice on acclimatizing beforehand?  (Other than getting there days earlier)

Avalanche Peak added :).

You are right that is what everyone is advising, but I don't know if I will be able to rally up my buds to go to the same part of the country again any time soon, so I guess getting a "taste" of yellowstone with them is better than nothing.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 04 2013, 2:19 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Eagle48 @ Mar. 04 2013, 10:15 am)
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For Yellowstone, like others have stated, making it from Jackson to Canyon after fireworks could be a very late night, plus the danger of all the wildlife on the roads during the night.  

One thing I would suggest you do while in yellowstone, is the cookout ride at Roosevelt Lodge, book it ASAP.

Solid point about wildlife on roads, yes based on y'all's input we'll stay 7/4 night in Jackson.

The cookout ride at Roosevelt Lodge looks awesome, thanks!
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 04 2013, 2:54 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

For 7/4-7/7, what about staying at a Moran, WY hotel/motel?  It is near Jackson so driving there on 7/4 evening should be ok.  And it is <1 hour from Yellowstone's south entrance, so it seems like it could serve a decent hub for day trips to Yellowstone on 7/5 and 7/6.  Thoughts?

Or would Gardiner or West Yellowstone be better for this purpose?
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 04 2013, 9:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(apachemd @ Mar. 04 2013, 2:54 pm)
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For 7/4-7/7, what about staying at a Moran, WY hotel/motel?  It is near Jackson so driving there on 7/4 evening should be ok.  And it is <1 hour from Yellowstone's south entrance, so it seems like it could serve a decent hub for day trips to Yellowstone on 7/5 and 7/6.  Thoughts?

Or would Gardiner or West Yellowstone be better for this purpose?

Have you looked into staying at Flagg Ranch, Inbetween the 2 parks?  That would be a good option for you.

I dont think you want to stay anywhere down near jackson while visiting yellowstone each day, you'll understand this more when your there.  Since your not camping, you might be better served staying at different lodges/hotels each night.  Just make sure your last nights stay is back down south, so you can get to your flight. And if you can get rooms at lodges in the park, stay there over out of the park locations.  If your going to spend a night out of the park, shoot for up near cooke city/silver gate.  The NE part of yellowstone is beautiful.  You could spend one evening in lamar valley watching wildlife, stay in cooke city, then drive back down south the next day.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 04 2013, 10:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(apachemd @ Mar. 04 2013, 1:52 pm)
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Yes I was told by the ranger with whom I booked the permits that she strongly recommends that for the time of year we are going if we don't already possess those skills (we don't).  And yes the JHMC guy I spoke to said it's a whole day thing.

Thats cool your going to take the class.  Should be a fun experience, something everyone who hikes in these mountains should know how to do.

Ask about paintbrush right before you come out here.  If i see it I'll post a pic of what its looking like.  If not, nps.gov tetons usually has a pic posted on their current trail conditions


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 04 2013, 10:55 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I also second the avalanche peak hike suggestion for yellowstone.  Its a leg burner, but not too long, and great views of yellowstone lake, the absorkas, and event the tetons.  Great hike

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 02 2013, 1:14 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

We have "Backpacker's pantry" food for breakfast and dinner, but what do overnight backpackers eat for lunch?


(For the TCT, do we need to bring bear canisters?  Or are they provided when we pick up our permit?  Or can we hang our food?) -- Found out answer to this, they provide bear canisters when we pick up our permit.
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(apachemd @ Apr. 02 2013, 1:14 pm)
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We have "Backpacker's pantry" food for breakfast and dinner, but what do overnight backpackers eat for lunch?


(For the TCT, do we need to bring bear canisters?  Or are they provided when we pick up our permit?  Or can we hang our food?) -- Found out answer to this, they provide bear canisters when we pick up our permit.

That varies vastly from person to person.  Because you'll be in the tetons, and have to use a canister, you'll have to be careful with all your food choices to make sure they fit inside the canister.

Most people im used to hiking with don't really bring "lunch" as much as snacks.  Protein Bars, Granola bars, Dried fruits and nuts, trail mix, beef jerky are some great options.  Most like quick foods.

A tip for using the bear canister.  rather than using ziplock bags, just dump everything into the canister.  For example, rather than carry granola cereal in a ziplock back inside the canister, I just dump it into the canister on top of everything else in there.  It fills up the empty spaces, and makes for more room


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 26 2013, 2:51 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Update:

Lots of snow on the Teton Crest Trail!  

Apparently all the high passes have 12-14 feet of snowpack, almost the entire TCT has snow along it's course, and pretty much all high campgrounds are snow covered.  The Ranger I spoke to on 6/25/13 said if we are to do it, we absolutely need crampons, ice axes, and hiking poles.  

Our itinerary as of now is:
Day 1 - Tram up, hike to Death Canyon Shelf, 11 miles
Day 2 - Death Canyon Shelf to South Fork Cascade, 12 miles
Day 3 - South Fork Cascade to Upper Paintbrush, 9 miles
Day 4 - Upper Paintbrush to Jenny Lake, 9 miles

We are relative backpacking novices, and we have never hiked or camped in alpine environments.  Honestly I don't know if we are up to this.  The two problems I see are 1. Negotiating high passes (dangerous), 2. Having to hike almost the entire time in crampons in the snow (as I  understand this is much more difficult and tiring than regular dry ground & hiking boots hiking).

Should we try it?  Should we alter our route?  If so any other 4 day/3 night Grand Teton routes y'all would recommend?  Or should we scrap Grand Teton altogether and instead shoot for a Yellowstone backpacking trip during this time, and again, if so, suggestions?

Help please - ?
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 26 2013, 4:12 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

apachemed,

Click the link, and go to post #7. RobinHood posted a link to his Facebook page with recent pictures of the TCT.

http://forums.backpacker.com/cgi-bin....1164737


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 26 2013, 4:28 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I don't have much time to answer this and your post in the other tread right now, but tonight I will give you some answers when I get done with work.

Here is a link though to what conditions on the crest trail were like about a week ago when I was up there.  You can see quite a bit of snow, but its melting:

https://www.facebook.com/media....b996560

Also, I know i uploaded a few videos from the crest trail and shelf that are on my facebook and open to public viewing.  Check them out, I would imagine things are melting out pretty fast.  

Ive been down in Utah this last week, so see what Double Cabin says about what the weather has been like lately there.


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(liv4mtns @ Jun. 26 2013, 4:12 pm)
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apachemed,

Click the link, and go to post #7. RobinHood posted a link to his Facebook page with recent pictures of the TCT.

http://forums.backpacker.com/cgi-bin....1164737

Thanks a lot, that was very helpful info.

"Waist deep" snow sounds pretty darn hairy.
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(liv4mtns @ Jun. 26 2013, 4:12 pm)
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apachemed,

Click the link, and go to post #7. RobinHood posted a link to his Facebook page with recent pictures of the TCT.

http://forums.backpacker.com/cgi-bin....1164737

Sorry, I didnt see you post this until after I posted my reply.  Didnt think that other post was getting any views


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 26 2013, 5:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(RobinHood @ Jun. 26 2013, 4:34 pm)
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Thanks a lot RobinHood, your pics and vids are awesome -- and extremely helpful.  We need to alter our itinerary, is there a lower elevation Teton itinerary you could suggest?
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 26 2013, 6:58 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

There are some AWESOME high routes opened up in the Absaroka. Austin Peak required just a half mile of snow travel on Sunday. I know its not a famous place, but it might be the most underrated mountain section of the Divide there is.



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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 26 2013, 7:06 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

So Double Cabin, do you know how the TCT looks right now?  Any better/easier than when Robin Hood was there?

Absaroka looks amazing!  Any other 4day/3night lower elevation itineraries you recommend, in Grand Teton or Yellowstone?
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 27 2013, 12:08 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I just got back from an evening Sierra Club hike that went just a couple of miles South of the Teton Pass Summit on Hwy 22. There's still a good deal of snow in the trees once you get 3 or 400 vertical feet above the pass.

It has been warm and it is supposed to flirt with the 90s in the coming days. There's still a significant amount of snow in upper Paintbrush we saw driving back to Jackson from Brooks Lake. Did you ask about Mt. Hunt Divide? This pic from Austin shows there is indeed signifcant snow lingering in the Tetons.



If you have to be in the Parks bugs are going to get a bit bad in places the coming days at lower elevations. Skeeters popped out at us at the very end of our hike on Sunday. Right now I'd be thinking an overnighter, Mt. Hunt Divide and two glorious south aspect dayhikes

Although our lower eleavtion environs can be absolutely amazing I say get out of the Box for this trip and consider an overnighter and two absolutely awesome dayhikes. Although the Granite Hi-Line Trail in the Gros Ventre looked pretty good to go from the Snake River Range's Northern Crest tonight. Friends are hiking Cache to Granite this weekend. I had NO snow at all on the first 5 miles of the southern crest of that more and more forgotten trail two weeks ago.



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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 27 2013, 2:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Great pics.  Still snowy indeed.  

We've decided to play it by ear and decide the morning of at the Ranger Station what to do, more than likely we'll try our originally scheduled itinerary, and turn back or take an alternate trail to lower elevations if things get too hairy.

I will be sure to post updated TCT pics and snow report just as soon as I get back to civilization.
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