Unlike most mountain ranges in the world, the Tetons burst abruptly from a sagebrush covered valley floor to rise nearly 7,000 feet into the sky offering vast options for rock climbing. The craggy and irregular skyline, jutting out in every direction, culminates at 13,770 feet as Wyoming’s most famous peak, the Grand Teton. Casting your gaze across this unforgettable range leaves locals and visitors alike feeling intimidated and simultaneously inspired. Sooner or later all outdoor enthusiasts make the pilgrimage to Jackson Hole in an attempt to get closer to these burly peaks.
The Tetons and the various mountain ranges that sit nearby, hold a rich history of rock climbing and mountaineering across the outdoor community. Regardless of your ability level – Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park have options to suit your every need.
The Via Ferrata at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is the perfect option for families, groups new to the sport of rock climbing, or really anyone looking to get their feet wet on Jackson Hole’s granite walls. This climbing experience is led by knowledgeable guides through high alpine terrain allowing visitors to explore granite slabs, cracks, overhangs, and caves across the 14 different routes.
The Rock Springs Buttress offers a unique climbing experience through a variety of routes and variations. The ample fixed anchors allow for the possibility of linkups and the climbs include sport, trad, and a blend of both. To get there offers its own adventure through two different options. Ride the Aerial Tram at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and descend from the top following the Rock Springs Loop trail looking out towards Cody Peak. Or hike from the base of the resort beginning at McCollister road towards the Union Pass lift.
The Shield in Hoback Canyon holds a fair selection of different routes unlike any other climbing destination in the valley. There are a handful of traditional routes to round out the sportier classics, put up primarily in the early 90s and 2000s. Make sure to hit the Shield in the Spring or Fall, when the cooler temps leaves this south facing wall accessible throughout the day.
It looks like a random pull off from the road in the Snake River Canyon, but the Rodeo Wall offers some of the best moderate sport climbing in the Jackson Hole area. The variation between polished and super sharp limestone results in some surprisingly fun vertical crimping across the 5.9-5.11 routes. Hit up this destination in the early to late afternoon throughout the summer when shade rolls over the wall allowing you to escape the heat.
Between the lower, middle, and upper walls there sits about 20 routes varying from 5.10 to 5.12 to keep you feeling challenged and entertained, with a world class view to boot. Black Tail is some of the more technical and hard sport climbing in the valley, but with a zero commitment approach as you park just slightly north from the main entrance into Grand Teton National Park and follow the stairs or short trail from the parking lot to the butte.
Grand Teton National Park offers climbers a variety of settings, climbing types, and conditions ranging from mellow sunny crag outings to mixed alpine adventures. A local favorite, Baxter’s Pinnacle, offers a short easy hike in for a good half day adventure. This 5.8 trad climb takes you up a beautiful spire overlooking Jenny Lake. The 5.9 moves required to take you up the final pitch keep things exciting while still maintaining the relaxed fun vibe most visitors are looking for.
For a more mountaineering based experience with the help of local experts, explore the upper reaches of the Tetons on a guided trip with Exum Mountain Guides.