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Baxter's Pinnacle (5.7), South Ridge

Grand Teton National Park

June 29, 2009


Baxter's Pinnacle came up in conversation Friday night around some tasty chicken tostadas and fresh mojitos at the home of our friends, Jeff and Tracy Witt. Peter and I had flown into Jackson with our sights set on doing 'The Grand' (elev. 13,770) later in our stay, and were looking at some smaller climbs to do as a warm up before.

We'd originally thought of doing something on Saturday with Jeff, but he had developed a very sore throat earlier in the week with a painfully raspy voice and was on antibiotics, just days away from his wedding to Tracy. We wanted to spend some time with them, as well as our friends Matt, Ari and their beautiful 8 month old baby girl Emma so Saturday and Sunday were spent instead on some easy hikes. "You could always do Baxter's," Jeff tossed out at dinner Friday night. "Oh yeah, that's a nice one," Tracy added. They mentioned an easy approach, a great view, and fun multipitch climbing. What else could you want in a short climb? (Well actually, I could have done without the scramble down that steep, chossy gully but we'll get to that later.) We found a route description and drawing in Ortenburger's 'Climber's Guide to The Teton Range' and read up. Sounded good, so we decided to go for it Monday. Peter and I had gotten the inside scoop from Jeff about the boat trip across Jenny Lake having a special climber's boat that left at 7 am, an hour earlier than the 'first boat' at 8 am and was also a few dollars cheaper. But, unfamiliar with the length of time needed to drive into the park via the Wilson Moose road, we just missed the 7 am boat. We put our packs down on the dewy dock, gazed down into the clear water, and took in the morning's glow. Once across the lake, we turned right then left to gain the horse trail, followed this up to the talus field, and made our way upward to the obvious yellow pinnacle.