North America, United States, Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park, Grand Teton, The Golden Pillar, and Other New Teton Free Climbs

Publication Year: 2004.

Grand Teton, The Golden Pillar and other new Teton free climbs. On July 11 Hans Johnstone and I opened a classic, flashable, hard crack line (V 5.12-) on the golden pillar of overhanging rock west of the normal North Face route on the Grand Teton. The purity of the line, combined with the quality rock and hard climbing, should make this route a Teton classic. Armed for alpine free climbing, Hans and I spiked up the glacier, jumped the 'schrund, chimneyed the remnant snow block, and sprinted under the barrage of stonefall out onto the Grandstand. We 3rd classed to the base of the Golden Pillar and readied ourselves for sustained jamming. After a short 5.7 pitch, we cranked the steep, gold finger-and-hand crack (48m, 5.11b) that still had chalk on it from our 2002 attempt. The crack continues at 5.10b. A step left brings you to the crux: an overhanging corner and fist crack through a roof. Unload the big cams and pump and scum to the lip (45m, 5.12a). The roof pitch deposits you on the first ledge. We followed the normal route to the third ledge. Forty meters east of the Pendulum Pitch we climbed the Rugged Prima Donna Pitch in a shallow left-facing corner. Use your pitons here as you boulder, stem, and lieback to a nice ledge (31m, 5.1laR/X). The last pitch is a classic problem, with bouldering on small crimps into perfect fingerlocks followed by steep stemming and jamming (5.12a). From here it’s a wee scramble of 150m to the summit.

On Cathedral Rock in Death Canyon, Evan Howe, Doug Workman, and I established The Fountainhead (IV 5.12a) in September. This 200m route climbs the steep, clean left side of the wall right of Lots Slot. Much ground-up work created a worthy seven-pitch free climb. Also of note is the maturity of Rock Springs Buttress, south of the ski area. It’s accessed by aerial tram and is 170m tall, at an altitude of over 9,000'. Rock Springs Buttress could be one of the best new summer crags in the country. Important new routes here include Raspberry Arete (5.12a), Sole Super Power (5.13b), and Zion Storm Trooper (5.12d). A free topo can be found at the Teton Rock Gym in Jackson.

Greg Collins