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Topic: Teton Crest Trail this July?, advice needed< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 09 2014, 12:15 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

We are wondering about hiking the TCT this July, from the 7th to the 12th or so. Anyone familiar with current snowpack and what that might mean for the trail a month from now? We are all experienced backpackers and know how to use ice axes, but we aren't looking for anything desperate. Also, if camp site permits are all taken then, are there usually some available at ranger station? We are in two small groups, one of 3, the other of 4. Thanks everyone!
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 09 2014, 10:24 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

That's one big group so unless you call ahead and see about a group campsite plan on camping in two groups.

It looks like Ice Axes will be needed for the duration of your trip. We are however having consistently warm weather with temps generally in the 70s. I would be prepared to camp on snow but perhaps be surprised depending on ultimate site choices.

Since you should do an acclimatization hike anyway you should have a day's flexibility on permits which usually means you can get a good set of sites. There are ways to camp outside park boundaries as well.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 09 2014, 3:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hey, thanks, Double Cabin. Very helpful. As for getting sites, sounds like we can actually call and talk to a human and not have to send faxes and junk like that? Good thing about the snow is that it might keep the bugs down!  :p
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 09 2014, 10:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Things have changed so they may not take a res over the phone now. While walk up permits remain free in Yellowstone they are now $25 for Grand Teton. If I can help you all out at all let me know, I live just south of Jackson and work 4 days a week in Moose.

Oh yeah, try Jenny Lake for permits first. Moose visitor center has alkways seemed a bit less flexible to me.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 10 2014, 9:03 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hi,
I'm going about a week later (July 20th to the 23rd) and I've asked most of my questions (and had them answered) here: Solo Teton Crest. I have a couple more questions though.

I've been looking at the maps and I can't decide where to leave my car. I will (hopefully) be getting a ride to the trail head (I'm starting at Granite Canyon). I called Jenny Lake Lodge and they seemed reluctant to let me use their parking lot. I know there is the Visitor center but I would rather park on the north side of Jenny Lake to save the extra 2-3 mile walk around the lake (we are coming through paintbrush divide). I know about the boat shuttle but how much does it cost?
By parking further north, however, we will be missing Hidden Falls.

Questions:
1) Where is the best/cheapest place to leave my car for the standard String Lake finishing?
2) Is it worth the extra time to see hidden falls when we will all be tired from 4 days of hiking?
3) I don't have any ice ax experience, will one more week be enough time for the snow to melt?
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 10 2014, 10:51 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If you're going over Paintbrush Hidden Falls would be WAY out of the way.

If it's Paintbrush the closest car parking would be the "Leigh Lake" Trailhead not far past the String Lake Trailhead.

Ice Axes are generally for Paintbrush Divide. It could be Rangers have cut steps on Paintbrush by that time but that is some steep exposure so unless you hear otherwise beforehand have your ice axe. We rent them in the store I work at.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 10 2014, 8:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks dc.

Also I've been talking with some other people and I'm a little concerned about the altitude and distances I've set myself up for. Also I didn't reserve any permits ahead of time so I guess I am a little flexible depending on what's available. Here's my current route:

Start at Granite Canyon TH
Night 1: Marion Lake
Night 2: Sunset Lake
Night 3: North Fork just south of Lake Solitude
Finish near String Lake TH

I have some backpacking experience but nothing at anywhere near this type of altitude before. Neither of my companions have any mountain experience either, but we will be in the Yellowstone area for several days before so hopefully we won't have any altitude issues.

Am I underestimating the difficulty of this hike?

Also how cold does it get in the backcountry in late July? Is a 30 degree bag enough?

(I am aware of the snow issue at Paintbrush Divide, I will keep in touch with the Ranger station and have the option of going out over Cascade Canyon if necessary.)
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 10 2014, 10:03 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Granite to Marion will be a long steady uphill haul. But you will be in camp early.
Day two up and out Marion, across the JSW to the shelf then down to the Basin is another easy day. If your not "feelin it" stay at Mirror Lake rather than Sunset. If you leave the Mirror Lake area you will have a short 500' up hill with switchbacks before heading back down to Sunset. If you plan to get up high in the zone in the North Fork (just short of Solitude) try to get to Sunset Lake the day before.

Other than day 2 (once your up out of Marion) all of your hiking will be done going uphill or down.

You can never tell on temps. I've had 80+ degree temps and on others sleet and snow. My bag of choice is 20*

If you decide not to take on Paintbrush (still way too early to tell) stay up high in South Fork Cascade canyon rather than the North Fork. Then head down and out via Cascade Canyon still using String Lake TH.

I know I've said this before but don't worry about permits! Use Jenny Lake. The rangers there know their $h!+.

Oh yeah. Hidden Falls? You go ahead and enjoy the view with 280 other tourons to finish your back country experience. You'll hate yourself.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 10 2014, 11:08 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I greatly prefer Mirror to Sunset.

snow can make portions of the hike slogs but other than Hurricane and Paintbrush I wouldn't be overly concerned uless we have negative updates for you in the coming weeks.

Altitude can be physically taxing but with the right attitude and decent health should be a problem after acclimating tin the region for a while. If hiking is more about miles and speed for you than scenery and reflection then yes, you could certainly have problems. I live here and get out of breath often. What do I do? I rest as often as necessary and let my heart rate drop before drinking LOTS OF WATER. Teh feact you're not taking the Tram up is encouraging as lots of folks use the tram without proper aclimitization and then BONK. Most folks that bonk usually do it the second full day in the region.

I'll update you as best I can. of you message me closer to trip time.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 11 2014, 12:30 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Again thanks for your quick responses.

Dc, I am certainly NOT "more about miles and speed for you than scenery and reflection." I definitely want to be able to go slow and take breaks and enjoy the scenery and wildlife and maybe even take a picture or two. That's exactly what I'm asking about. Is 9-10 miles a day too much of I want to be able to take it easy and enjoy myself?
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 11 2014, 8:23 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

What you have planned is very doable. All long and steady days with not a lot of down time in camp. Sure would be nice if you could add a day. On extended trips I try to keep the mileage under 10. But many times I have been closer to 12+ and those days aren't nearly as enjoyable.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 11 2014, 11:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hey everyone. Original poster of this question here. I called Jenny Lake about the route and permits and such. They were cautious about Paintbrush Divide, as many of you have been, too, but he mentioned a "winter route" there that can be used to avoid the steeps over the Divide. He was unable to elaborate, said to find out more when we get there in July. Any of you guys/gals know anything about this route and whether or not it's worth our considering? If it's doable, I'd love to go that way to avoid the crowds at the falls and to see the upper North Fork. Thanks.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 12 2014, 7:55 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The winter route on the backside of Paintbrush Divide is typically just to the east (from the top looking toward Paintbrush Canyon on your right) of the steep steps leading down into Paintbrush Canyon. It is long steady switchbacks that are carved into the snow leading you from the divide all the way to the Upper Paintbrush Campzone (in your case). This wouldn't detour me from choosing this route. And many will tell you that snow travel can be easier.

Second, if you choose not to exit via Paintbrush you won't need to fight the crowds at the falls in Cascade Canyon. As you're exiting Cascade Canyon there is a trail or a spur off to the left that will take you around Jenny to String Lake where you would avoid most of the foot traffic seen at the falls and inspiration point. I know there is some trail work being done in the area around Jenny again this year, so check at the ranger station once you arrive.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 19 2014, 10:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Not sure if it is possible to make it from Marion to Hurricane Pass in one day but my favorite campsites on TCT are the ones as you are coming down from Hurricane Pass into South Fork of Cascade Canyon.  From Sunset Lake it is not much further and much, much better.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 22 2014, 12:15 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Anyone have any updates on the snow levels? I heard there was some new snow in the region... (New Snow In Northwest Wyoming)

Also I've tried checking the NRCS Snotel on their website here. Which site will give me the best data for hiking?

Thanks again.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 22 2014, 4:30 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The Owen-Spaulding route on he Grand got 20". I looked up Paintbrush up near Colter Bay and it looks pretty polar down to low elevations. But it has been warm again. Still thinking 4th week of July should get rid of ice axe usage necessity BUT CHECK WITH RANGRS.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 25 2014, 4:14 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Until this point I have been planning on hiking from Granite Canyon TH past Marion lake, through the Alaska basin and up and out over Paintbrush Divide. (see Solo Teton Crest) I am realizing now that this may be a little too much daily mileage for the type of trip I am looking for.

So what is the better route, taking the tram to start and going over paintbrush? or starting at Granite Canyon but going out through Cascade Canyon?

(This is all assuming Paintbrush will be passable snow-wise.)
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 26 2014, 11:54 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Cascade Canyon is the most popular hiking trail in Wyoming. Paintbrush is arguably the highlight of the Crest. You might still need that axe, I can rent you one if necessary. That last storm dumped quite a bit in places but we are having mostly warm weather with some 60 plus degree days thrown in at times with rain showers. WEATHER IS GOOD.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 26 2014, 7:59 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I don't think I have enough time to do Granite canyon to paintbrush. Would it be worth taking the tram and skipping Granite canyon to do paintbrush?

Also I've never used an ice ax before and would want proper instruction first, which I don't really see happening.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 27 2014, 2:35 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Reverse your trip. Going up the back of Paintbrush will be easier. You LIKELY won't need an ice ax.  Use your trekking poles with the baskets and you'll be fine.

Stay the first night at either Holly Lake or Upper Paintbrush. The next day head over Paintbrush and down the North Fork (you COULD exit here via Cascade Canyon if you had to). Hang a right at the fork and head into South Fork and camp as high / close as you can to the end of the zone near Schoolroom Glacier just below Hurricane Pass. From here you can either:
A. Hike up to Avalanche Divide and hike down to Snowdrift Lake and camp then head out the next morning.
B. Head over Hurricane Pass and camp down in the Alaska Basin then head out the next day via Static Peak Divide & Death Canyon.
C. Over Hurricane Pass, through the Basin and up to Mt. Meek Pass then camp on the shelf. The next day hike to Fox Creek pass then down into Death Canyon for the hike out.
D. Same as "C." BUT continue past Fox Creek pass and hike to Marion Lake for the night. Then hike out via Open or Granite Canyon.

You pick


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 29 2014, 12:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks for your suggestions...but I feel like I'm missing something. How will doing the trip north to south make it any shorter? I would rather not do more than 8 miles a day if I can manage.

Here is my current plan (assuming I get the permits):
Start at Granite Canyon Trail Head
Day 1: Camp at North Fork/Upper Granite Canyon. 7.1 Miles and around 2000 ft of elevation gain.
Day 2: Camp at Death canyon Shelf. 7.3 miles, around 800-1000 ft of elevation gain.
Day 3: Camp at South Fork Cascade. 8.2 miles 800 ft up and then 800 ft down.
Day 4: Exit through Cascade Canyon to String Lake TH. 8.3 Miles 2000 ft down.
End Near String Lake Trail Head
The whole route is around 32 miles.

I only have 4 days. If I do paintbrush but start at the top of the tram the total mileage would be around 36 miles, close to 9 per day, which is more than I want but could be manageable. Doing the "full" route from Granite Canyon through paintbrush to String Lake is around 40 miles, which is 10 a day and more than I (think that I) want to do.

Again thanks, but, as I said, I'm a little confused, how will your route suggestions help?
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 29 2014, 1:40 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Doing Paintbrush first gives you more exit options. That would allow you to take in ONE of the highlights (Paintbrush Divide) of the crest trail and giving you the options on different exits that would work with the mileage of your liking.

Screw the tram and Granite Canyon. In resent years Granite has been good for wildlife at lower elevations but haven't heard much thus far this year. Death Canyon in much better! If you choose to travel south to north, enter via Death Canyon and camp at the very last site in the zone. The next day gets you across the shelf and down to the basin the next. This keeps you within the mileage you desire.

It's rather simple really. So many options. But one way or another both Hurricane and Paintbrush NEED to fit into your plan.

I'm in my late 40's and 2 years ago we entered at Granite Canyon and hiked all the way to the shelf the first night. Had time for dinner in the daylight too. I wouldn't recommend it, but it allowed us to do what I thought our group would enjoy best as a whole.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 29 2014, 2:52 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Again thanks for the advice.

Death Canyon will be good for wildlife as well? If Granite Canyon still has better wildlife chances I might still want to start there (especially if Paintbrush is still very snowy).

I will spend some more time with the maps and see what routes fit.

Thanks again for all your help.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 29 2014, 3:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Wildlife is always a shot in the dark. Last year on my July trip we entered at Death Canyon. We saw mule deer, marmots, pika and moose in that canyon. In August I entered at Coal Creek with little expectations. We camped at Moose Lake the first night and saw 3 wolves. Totally unexpected.

The past 3 years black bears have been seen on a regular basis in Death Canyon. However, during that time I have only seen one from a distance.

All the canyons are rewarding one way or another. You have to remember you're not in a zoo. There are so many factors that play into what wildlife you may or may not see. Rain/snow, temps, amount of people on the trail, time of day, etc......

Camping in the North Fork/Upper Granite Canyon zone is pretty open and not very scenic. It's not much further to Marion.  

Enter with low expectations and hope for the best.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 29 2014, 6:51 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Seeing wildlife sure is up and down.  We hiked from Yellowstone to Teton Pass and all we saw were a couple deer, marmots, chipmunks and birds..... pretty boring as far as wildlife went....
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 22 2014, 10:40 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hello - in exactly one week today, my wife and I are flying out to Tetons to hike the Teton Crest Trail.  We will hit the trail on the 31st.

Any updates on the snow levels up there?  Rangers mentioned that Paintbrush was still covered, so I'm thinking we will avoid that area.  Any ideas on the rest of the trail?  We have some flexibility with our days, so we will adjust as needed and as the rangers suggest (don't have advance permit), but wanted to see if anyone here had suggestions first.

Thanks!
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 24 2014, 4:35 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(RyanJL @ Jul. 22 2014, 10:40 am)
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Hello - in exactly one week today, my wife and I are flying out to Tetons to hike the Teton Crest Trail.  We will hit the trail on the 31st.

Any updates on the snow levels up there?  Rangers mentioned that Paintbrush was still covered, so I'm thinking we will avoid that area.  Any ideas on the rest of the trail?  We have some flexibility with our days, so we will adjust as needed and as the rangers suggest (don't have advance permit), but wanted to see if anyone here had suggestions first.

Thanks!

You will be good when you start your trip.  People have been going over Paintbrush for a few weeks now.  Snow is around 9500 ft, but it varies.  It is hot up here, and things are melting out fast.  That paintbrush slope, if even snowy, will be slushy and easy.  They were digging out steps I know sometime last week.

Not much help, but here is a video taken a few days ago, Looking down from above leigh canyon.  The backside of Paintbrush divide is visible in the top right, it has quite a bit of snow on the backside.  Just gives you an idea of where the snow levels are

https://www.facebook.com/photo.p....9945677


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 25 2014, 10:45 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hey - THANK you so much for that information.  Great to hear!!  I am really looking forward to this trip.  I will be sure to share photos when I return - my first time in the Rockies!!
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 29 2014, 2:41 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

********ICE AXES STILL NEEDED ON PAINTBRUSH**************

Advisory comes directly from the Jenny Lake Rangers to the shop this morning. Unless you are comfortable going off the snow and scrambling rock it is still quite snowy/icey on the Paintbrush approach and going over. I greatly prefer going up the steeper/icier stuff, trying to go down it was arguably what seriously injured a woman a few weeks ago. I would REALLY think about going over from the Southfork and would certainly take an axe either way at this juncture. We have also had a couple of frosty mornings so if going over very early some might consider crampons. Also back in a bit of a monsoonal flow this week with thunderstorms expected. Get over early whatever gear you choose or choose to not use.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 29 2014, 9:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE


(double cabin @ Jul. 29 2014, 2:41 pm)
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********ICE AXES STILL NEEDED ON PAINTBRUSH**************

Advisory comes directly from the Jenny Lake Rangers to the shop this morning.

LOL, I bet they did send that over to yall.   You guys keep renting out gear to complete morons, and those rangers are tired of having to go help them out of the backcountry.


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