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Content Contributions made by the Jenny Lake Rangers


Looking toward Teewinot and the East Prong from the Cathedral Traverse on 8.22.19

Although the weather in the Tetons this past week has been sunny and dry, a short stint of snow flurries on the summit of the Grand yesterday served as a reminder that changing conditions are on their way. Currently, much of the snow along the Grand Traverse has melted away, and north-facing objectives are drying out. Until new storms arrive, climbers are going to the summit of the Grand without an ice axe or crampons, however, an ice axe is still warranted for the approach to the SW Couloir of the Middle Teton. Be mindful of any recent storms and low temperatures, which can create icy conditions. Get an early start, and be prepared for increasingly colder temperatures during the evening and overnight.


Snowdrift Lake Avalanche Canyon 7.25.19

With continued warm weather up high, the trails and passes throughout the park are primarily snow free, and the mountains are filled with hikers and climbers. As of right now, the Teton Crest Trail is essentially dry and most hikers will find little use for an ice axe along the entirety of the trail, including Paintbrush Divide. With that being said, expect to cross some snow and steep, loose, wet rock along the Divide, which may be difficult to navigate. In short, it still remains an area of caution. On the Grand Teton, popular routes like the Owen-Spalding and Upper Exum are now dry, and an ice axe is not needed at this point. Be mindful of changing conditions throughout the season. The range has seen regular and significant rain showers and thunderstorms. These storms coupled with low temperatures in the upper elevations can create icy conditions on many of the high peaks.  While these icy or verglass conditions often improve quickly keep an eye on the sky and get an early start to avoid being caught out during afternoon storms. 


The peregrine falcons at Baxter's have successfully fledged their chicks and the area is now open to travel and climbing.  


Paintbrush Divide on July 16, 2019
Snow is rapidly melting in the high country as large pieces of the Teton Crest Trail begin to emerge. However, steep snow fields remain on certain trails, peaks and passes of Grand Teton, requiring an ice axe and the proper knowledge of its use. Paintbrush Divide remains an area of high consequence for those without the proper equipment. Be safe and know your limits!

On the Grand, rapid transition from snow and ice to dry rock continues to take place daily. Some climbers may be questioning whether they truly need to bring an ice axe and crampons on their trip, and the answer is: it depends. It depends on too many factors to give a generic answer to. As of right now, given the lingering snow near the summit and potential for changing weather on any given day, an ice axe and possibly crampons are still recommended for the Grand, especially on shadier aspects like the Owen-Spalding which may get icy in the morning. On the approach to the Lower Saddle, the summer route past the Caves is recommended and the fixed line is out. Only a few steep snow patches remain below the Moraine. Stay tuned for more updates, and remember, it's better to have the equipment and not use it than wish you had brought it.