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North America, United States, Wyoming - Tetons, Grand Teton, Northeast Buttress Variation

Grand Teton, Northeast Buttress variation. On the north flank of the east ridge of the Grand Teton, the substantial expanse of rock lying between the northeast couloir and the north face is divided into two separate buttresses by a nearly vertical gash or couloir. On August 24-25 Paul Myhre and Dale Sommers made a new variation, climbing the left (eastern) buttress from the Teton Glacier to the point where this buttress intersects the northeast couloir route; on the second day of climbing this route was then used to reach the summit. The buttress was approached from the glacier, the rock being reached by crossing an ice bridge below the northeast couloir. A wide ledge system was climbed diagonally out to the right until it ended about 30 feet short of the right couloir, where a large F7 flake system led in 75 feet up to a narrow ledge. The next pitch up and right (F8, A2) led to a small ramp leading diagonally right up to a good belay ledge. The five- to eight-foot ceiling above was passed by some very difficult nailing (A4) in poor cracks which diagonalled right through the ceiling in poor quality rock. The party continued on aid above the ceiling to the right on broken, vertical blocks to a wide high angle ramp that goes free (F8) through a small overhang to the bottom of the prominent chimney visible from the glacier. At this point a bivouac was made and the remainder of the climb was done the second day. The chimney was readily climbed in two pitches to a very slick wall. This was avoided by scrambling right into the right couloir and then back left (F8) and up a short wall to return to the buttress face. One F6 pitch then led to the top of the buttress where the northeast couloir route was joined. This climb was rated as IV, F8, A4, making it one of the more severe routes on the peak. An adequate selection of hardware seems advisable with two- to three-inch bongs being useful for the nailing of the ceiling.

Leigh N. Ortenburger