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Topic: Solo Teton Crest< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 10 2014, 8:47 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Howdy, newcomer here -

Hope this hasn't been covered before (tried a search and didn't find anything related), but I'm planning a solo TCT hike in July. The original plan was 4 days/3 nights (hike up to Marion Lake, then Alaska Basin, then North Fork and out), but now I've got an extra day to use. The purist in me wants to start at Hwy 22 (either Coal Creek or Phillips TH) and add the southern part of the "complete" trail ... a few more miles, gladly taken to enjoy, but my only real concern is "b'ar".

I'm a moderately experienced backpacker, but mostly Northeast where it usually isn't a factor. I'm aware of, and will gladly use the normal precautions - bear canister, hang food, cook away from campsite, leave the Salmon Spring after shave at home - but don't want to tempt fate more than necessary. Assuming there's no unusual activity during my time frame (permits are from 7/22-24), what are my risks of becoming a meal on the hoof for Yogi and pals?

Thanks in advance -

Steve
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 10 2014, 10:30 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Your plan is good, but you are leaving yourself a long day to get all the way out if you are going over Paintbrush.  If you had not planned to go over it, I would spend your extra day doing that and not starting at Hwy 22.

If you had planned on going over Paintbrush my suggestion would be to spend a day exploring the upper part of NF of Cascade Canyon.  Still one of my favorites places in the Rockies.

Also spending a night on Death Canyon Shelf is pretty sweet.
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 10 2014, 11:14 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Doable, maybe a longer day.  Did the entire Highline from Yellowstone NP to Phillips TH.  At that end we came in from Green Lks on the Targhee dropped down by Solitude Lk and camped at Hurricane Pass, Alaska Basin, Fox Creek Pass, at the fork in trail to Moose Lks/Marion Lks out to Phillips TH.  I thought the hike out to Phillips was nice.
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 11 2014, 10:42 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have had a troublesome bear at Phillips Pass but that was 8 years ago. I've heard that recently they haven't been as much of a problem in the basin.

I deal with Grizzly bears big time in the South Absaroka. The only problems I've ever heard of on the Crest were less than "clean" camps and involved Blackies. Cook and wash a good distance from your tent, don't sleep in clothes you cook in, etc. We argue tents vs. hammocks and cowboy camping here a lot. I simply have come to the conclusion being in a tent is the sane choice but you'll get argument from others. HYOH

Don't worry about bears, just exercise ALL of the simple protocols and have an awesome time. KC likes Coal Creek, I like the wildlife of going down to Phillips. Most people sugggest going South to North. Go whatever way you get your permits. If you need a shuttle I might be able to help you. Whatever you do have an awesome time.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 11 2014, 3:58 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You can't go wrong starting at either Coal Creek or Phillips.  I would however stay your first night at Moose Lake rather than Marion. Just as pretty and last year we were fortunate enough to hear wolves howling in the night. The next morning we saw 3 of them trotting along.
Day 2 get to Mirror Lake in the basin.
Day 3, side trip up to Static Peak. WORTH THE EFFORT! then come back and break down camp and get to either Sunset or if you have the energy over Hurricane Pass and camp in the upper end of South Fork Cascade Canyon.
Day 4 hike to the North Fork Cascade Canyon and camp as high in the zone as you can.....Just before the tree line at Lake Solitude.
Day 5 over Paintbrush and out.  

Bears? always see them. Of my 2 trips there last year we only encountered them on 3 different occasions. North Fork, Lake Solitude and Holly Lake. Moose? same story. Death Canyon, near Marion Lake and in Paintbrush Canyon. Wolves, mule deer, marmot's, pika's, golden eagles, osprey, etc.........Wildlife is one of the reasons I return every year.

Keep an eye on the snow levels. Depending on when you go in July you may have plenty of snow to deal with BUT the wildflowers SHOULD still be gorgeous.
My first trip there this year will be July 16 through the 24th and I plan to have my ice axe and crampons in tow.

DC, you need to buy me a beer this year. I'm pretty sure it's your turn. We are going to try to get a shuttle to somewhere near Lizard Creek IF we can bribe someone to take us across the lake so we can start our hike near Webb or Moran Canyon. You know anyone with a boat?


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 11 2014, 7:54 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Many thanks to all for your advice and insight ...

All the options for itinerary sound great, but I'm stuck with what was available for permits when I made the reservations (Marion/Alaska/North Fork); at this point, everything else is filled, or won't work with my travel dates.

If I start at Hwy 22, I planned on making my first night at Moose Lake, then on to Marion and so on; it looks like a pair of relatively short days, but I may wind up appreciating it as a way to ease into the trek and altitude (I've hiked at altitude before and know what to expect, but am still coming in from sea level).

Snow was right behind bears in my concerns; I don't own, or know how to use an ice axe or crampons, and understand it can linger at Paintbrush well into summer. I have two rules when hiking: have a good time, and don't be stupid. No desire to wind up as a story on the 6:00 news as another dumb rescue or worse ... if the snow sounds too treacherous, I'm fine with heading back down via Cascade. This likely won't be my only time out there, I'll learn from my mistakes and return ... sounds like I won't even be scratching the surface here.

Again, thanks to all for your responses - any additional advice or input is certainly welcome and appreciated ...
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 12 2014, 9:06 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(stevett @ Apr. 11 2014, 7:54 pm)
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All the options for itinerary sound great, but I'm stuck with what was available for permits when I made the reservations (Marion/Alaska/North Fork);

Not so fast. I have never left the state of MI with a permit. You can change your itinerary when you arrive. Just talk with the rangers at Jenny Lake. IMO they are much more knowledgeable and helpful than those at the Moose visitor center.

Side note. There are places including the Alaska Basin where you don't need a permit to camp. See bbobb's post. None of which were technically within the park. I believe he did that to avoid hauling around a bear canister.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 12 2014, 9:19 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks kc - nice to know there are still options out there.

Your itinerary sounds more balanced than mine in terms of mileage and sights-to-be-seen, I'll use it as a template ... BTW, my reservation says to pick up the permit at Colter Bay; am I required to get it there, or can I get it at Jenny when I change my plans?

Thanks again -
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 12 2014, 5:14 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yep KC........no permit needed the way we did it.  May not fit with everyone tho.  Was a excellent trip as well.
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 13 2014, 7:37 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If you need a $5.00 shower or a souvenir, go to Colter Bay. Otherwise no need to head way up there. Jenny Lake can take care of you and all your permit questions. They will issue a new altered one (permit) as well as give you a bear canister to borrow. Don't be tempted and go to the Moose visitor center.

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 13 2014, 9:19 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Don't be tempted and go to the Moose visitor center?

Unless you want all the stamps for your National Park Passport Book.
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 13 2014, 12:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(bumknees @ Apr. 13 2014, 9:19 am)
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Don't be tempted and go to the Moose visitor center?

Unless you want all the stamps for your National Park Passport Book.

Thought I was clear. Don't go to the Moose Visitor Center FOR YOUR PERMIT. They (park ranger there) seem annoyed and uninterested in really helping you. And in my personal experience not nearly as knowledgeable as the rangers at Jenny.

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 13 2014, 1:14 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The museum at Colter Bay is pretty f'n awesome.

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 13 2014, 2:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(kcwins @ Apr. 13 2014, 7:37 am)
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If you need a $5.00 shower or a souvenir, go to Colter Bay. Otherwise no need to head way up there. Jenny Lake can take care of you and all your permit questions. They will issue a new altered one (permit) as well as give you a bear canister to borrow. Don't be tempted and go to the Moose visitor center.

Not easily tempted, I'll go with Jenny -

Again, thanks for the input; looks like our schedules will overlap, we may run into each other. I'll be the limping, befuddled looking guy toting a 1980s blue Kelty Tioga (I've got newer stuff, but I just can't let go of the old girl; hasn't failed me yet) ...

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 13 2014, 3:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You can buy a shower at the Grand Teton Climbers Ranch just south of Jenny Lake. Also the Rec. Center in Jackson and the Hostel in Teton Village. Not sure the Anvil Motel sells them anymore.

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 13 2014, 4:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(double cabin @ Apr. 13 2014, 3:25 pm)
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You can buy a shower at the Grand Teton Climbers Ranch just south of Jenny Lake. Also the Rec. Center in Jackson and the Hostel in Teton Village. Not sure the Anvil Motel sells them anymore.

Thanks, but not necessary; I've got lodging already taken care of, both before and after the hike. I don't mind roughing it, but it's nice to have something to look forward to ...

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 14 2014, 1:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm planning on going July 20-24, will ice axes really still be necessary at that point?
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 14 2014, 1:42 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It's mid April, we have no idea if it will be historic like in 2011 or not. Odds are you will be OK without an axe but again, it's mid April.

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 14 2014, 5:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Also I will probably only have four days/three nights, and I wasn't able to reserve any permits ahead of time, so I would like to stay in Alaska Basin one night (no permit required) but I'm not really sure how the route should go...

I'm planning on doing it south to north but I'm not really seeing a how to fit in a night outside the park boundaries (assuming I am starting at the top of the tram). Any ideas?
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 14 2014, 7:42 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Moose lake basin, Fox Creek pass, Alaska Basin, Hurricane pass.....all out of Park, no permit needed.  Lots of info here on this......search is your friend.
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 23 2014, 12:10 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

So after spending lots of time looking at the topos I think I can ask much more intelligent questions. As I said, I will probably only have 4 days and I have no permits reserved, so how does this route sound?

Day One: Start at Granite Canyon TH and camp at Marion Lake if we get the permit, if not push another 1.5 miles and camp just past the park boundary.
Day Two: Over Death Canyon Shelf and sleep somewhere in the Alaska Basin (no permit required), probably Sunset Lake.
Day Three: Assuming we can get the permit, stay in the North Fork area just south of Lake Solitude.
Day Four: Over Paintbrush Divide and out to Jenny Lake Lodge for the night.

So my questions are:
(A) I really wanna see wildlife, is Granite Canyon the way to go?
(B) Insert cliche tram or no tram question here
© Where is this Mirror Lake everyone keeps talking about? I tried searching online and I've scoured the topo but I can't find anything?
(D) If I have an extra day somewhere, where would it be best used? I've heard static peak is a great side trip...any other suggestions?
(E) If we can't get the permit at North Fork for night three, is it too much to stay at the South Fork and get all the way over paintbrush and back to Jenny Lodge in one day?
(F) We want to leave our car at Jenny Lodge and then we would need a ride to the trailhead, anyone want a little extra cash to give us a ride? (three guys, date will probably be July 20th)

Thanks so much for your help.
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 23 2014, 2:36 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I don't have a map here today but what I've always called Mirror is the little lake with an island and very small dam sometimes with some fish clearly visible behind it, right at the Jct. for Static Peak Divide. Awesome view of Buck Mt.

If I can help you with a shuttle I will, EARLY morning probably not a problem any day. Grand Teton Climbers Ranch might be a good way to go, in the past they've put cards up on their message board ahead of time for members of this forum that subsequently got rides. Hitching in the Park is pretty darn easy. I took KCWins and one of his buddies  over to Teton Canyon once. I really liked going to the Basin that way, good wildlife, but KC wasn't impressed on his trip. I work near the base of the trambut could possibly shuttle from Jenny to Teton Village. The tram is nwhat it is and grreat for some things, it's just not any part of the crest in my crotchedy old bastage opinion.

Static Peak is indeed great, camping at Mirror would make it a half day hike you could stretch out for leaisure alpine splendor.

In terms of wildlife the Southern end of the Range from the Shelf to 22 has had the most variety for me but blackies seem to like the Basin. Moose frequent Death Canyon, Granite Canyon, and the Northfork. I saw just about the biggest Shiras bull I ever have about 6 miles up Granite in 1977. If you have any other time in the area I would be happy to direct you to good places to see wildlife. I like Granite but ascending Death might be best for you and get you to the Shelf quicker.

Enjoy your plannning,

John


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 23 2014, 3:54 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

(A) I really wanna see wildlife, is Granite Canyon the way to go?
Yes....Usually. For wildlife I have had the best luck in Death Canyon and Granite. However this past year on my second trip we came in at Coal Creek TH and stayed at Moose Lake where we heard wolves howling during the night and saw them the next day. Hope to see moose, mule deer, marmot, pika, etc...via both death and granite canyons.

(B) Insert cliche tram or no tram question here.
If you take the tram, push past Marion Lake and camp on the shelf the first night.

© Where is this Mirror Lake everyone keeps talking about? I tried searching online and I've scoured the topo but I can't find anything?
Once you leave the shelf and Mount Meek Pass you will soon enter the "Sheep Steps". You can clearly see the Alaska Basin from here. The trail becomes faint but you will run right in to Mirror Lake. This is the one DC is talking about. There is another lake behind it where there is a sign posted "Mirror Lake". Not sure on the details here. It could be that both lakes look exactly the same or that they are crystal clear. Both are in the basin and the first one you come to is the better place to camp with awesome views of Buck Mountain...Can't miss it.

(D) If I have an extra day somewhere, where would it be best used? I've heard static peak is a great side trip...any other suggestions?
Static Peak would be my first choice however a trip up to Avalanche Divide and down to snowdrift and kit lakes is pretty cool. Or in the North Fork hike up to Mica Lake. The easiest way is to go to Lake Solitude then follow the loose talus up to the lake rather than trying to follow the drainage from North Fork.

(E) If we can't get the permit at North Fork for night three, is it too much to stay at the South Fork and get all the way over paintbrush and back to Jenny Lodge in one day?
It would be a big day but doable. You won't have an issue with permits in the North Fork. Depending the the spring melt Paintbrush could be pretty challenging. They have a boat load of snow this year.

(F) We want to leave our car at Jenny Lodge and then we would need a ride to the trailhead, anyone want a little extra cash to give us a ride? (three guys, date will probably be July 20th)
Would love to help but I will be in the north end of the park at that time.

Side note: If you can't get a permit for Marion Lake and decide to push past and camp in the Jedediah Smith Wilderness area TAKE WATER FROM MARION LAKE. You'll be hard pressed to find a water source from Marion to the shelf.
DC is right about my experience entering from the Idaho side at Teton Canyon TH. The canyon was closed in and heavily wooded as I recall. We got a late start and yet still decided to tackle the "Devils Stairs". This part I thoroughly enjoyed but it kicked our @$$. It was cold and snowed so perhaps that was part of why the wildlife was scarce and views sucked.  

DC: Do you know anyone with a boat who would be willing to shuttle us across Jackson Lake to Webb or Colter Canyon?


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 23 2014, 4:41 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks so much for the help.

As kc mentioned, there was a lot of snow this year, so worst case scenario that Hurricane pass and Paintbrush divide are both unpassable without ice axes (a no-go for me), what would be my best options?

I would rather not day hike...but I really wanna to something in the Tetons area. Should just I throw out GTNP and go to Rocky Mountain NP (further south so less snow)? Or should I try to do something in the Gros Ventre Wilderness at lower altitudes?
(I'm driving from the Midwest so I'm pretty flexible in terms of location)

DC: Thanks for the offer, we would be wanting to leave in the morning so hopefully we can work something out. We will talk more as the date approaches.
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 23 2014, 4:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

In some cases snow travel can be easier. Paintbrush would be my only concern. Hurricane is doable even if there is snow.  But it's far too early to know for sure. Stick with the plan and keep an eye on the snow levels. DC will know better than most here. He can also be a wealth of knowledge in the GV.

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 23 2014, 7:27 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Right now I'm not sure on the boat, one lady I know is, well, never mind.

I'm pretty sure I could get a canoe for it, if day were right dawn departure before Wind kicks in.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 26 2014, 7:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hey, I just wanted to chime [butt] in and say thanks to all you folks who've offered info & advice to this guy.  I'm doing the TCT a few days after him (I had another thread on here a couple months ago) and the data have been very helpful to me too.  

You guys rock.
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