Teton Crest Trail - August 2017

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

HomerJ

Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2012
Messages
1,198
Last August some friends and I did our first ever backpacking trip in the Tetons. It was such a fun trip! I had been wanting to do the TCT for many years!

Because of work schedules and vacations days we were only able to do a 3 day trip. We cheated and took the tram at Teton Village and hiked to Fox Creek Pass the first day. There was a lot more up and down than I expected in between the top of the tram and the pass. It was a little over 8 miles to our campsite on the pass. There was still a lot of patches of snow left from the heavy snowfall they got that winter! The wildflowers were spectacular! I'm ready to go back!!!

Leaving the tram
DSC04400.jpg


Descending Rendevous Mountain from the tram. You can see the trail below climbing the ridge in the middle.
DSC04401.jpg


DSC04403.jpg


DSC04404.jpg


DSC04406.jpg


South Fork of Granite Creek
DSC04409-Edit.jpg


DSC04421-Edit.jpg


DSC04423.jpg


DSC04426-Edit.jpg


DSC04429.jpg


Marion Lake
DSC04430.jpg


Marion Lake was beautiful! Would have been great to camp here. We took a small lake and one member of our party took a quick dip in the lake. On the climb out of the lake to Fox Creek Pass I was regretting I didn't jump in too.

Swimming in Marion Lake
DSC04437.jpg


Marion Lake
DSC04438-Edit.jpg


DSC04441.jpg

Marion Lake
DSC04445.jpg


DSC04447.jpg


Most everyone was pretty tired by the time we made it to the top of the pass. The pass is over 1.5 miles across with the only water being on the far side. I was in a hurry to get there and find a campsite and kept having to stop and let everyone catch up.

On Fox Creek Pass
DSC04450.jpg


Fossil Mountain
DSC04452.jpg


Grand Teton from Fox Creek Pass
DSC04454.jpg


After finally getting to the far end of the pass, we dropped our packs and scouted for a campsite. We found quite a few and pick one and quickly had camp setup. We ended up with a campsite with great views just outside of it!

Grand Teton and Death Canyon
DSC04462.jpg


DSC04463-Edit.jpg


Spearhead Peak on Fox Creek Pass
DSC04470.jpg


Death Canyon
DSC04476-Edit.jpg


Day2:
This day we would hike across Death Canyon Shelf! I had been wanting to hike the shelf ever since I learned of the TCT. I must have built it up too much in my head because I didn't think it was spectacular, but the air was more smokey this day from the forest fires in the North West States. It was still great though!

Heading across the Death Canyon Shelf
DSC04486-Pano.jpg


Death Canyon Shelf
DSC04489.jpg


Death Canyon Shelf
DSC04490-Edit.jpg


After the small climb up to Mount Meek Pass we soon got our first glimpse of Alaska Basin.

First views of Alaska Basin - Sheep Steps Section
DSC04497-Edit.jpg


DSC04504.jpg

DSC04505.jpg


DSC04507.jpg


After hitting the trail that goes up to Buck Mountain Pass in Alaska Basin, we hunted around and found a campsite. The place we camped ended up being one of my favorite campsites! It was on a nice flat shelf with a nice stream on one side that had a nice 8' or so waterfall below and a small pond on the other side and good views down Teton Canyon. It could have used a few more trees for shade, but other than that it was great!

After setting up camp it was only around 2pm, so we all headed over to one of the bigger lakes (none are very big) where we found of others jumping off of a large rock into the lake. Some of our group started jumping in too and enjoying the refreshing mountain lake. One person in our party got a small leach on his toe while swimming in the lake and had to remove it. I missed getting a picture of it. There are a lot of these small lakes in Alaska Basin with cascading streams connecting them.

Rock jumping/swimming in Alaska Basin
DSC04522-Edit-2.jpg


DSC04526-Edit.jpg


After everyone was done swimming we continued to explore Alaska Basin. Most everyone dropped down to another of the bigger lakes in the basin, while a friend and I decided to hike up to Buck Mountain Pass.

Alaska Basin - Buck Mountain is the prominent peak near the right side
DSC04546-Pano.jpg


Buck Mountain
DSC04556-Edit-2.jpg


There was a huge snow drift/cornice on the other side of the pass. We wanted to hike over to where we could look down into Death Canyon, but wasn't sure we could get back up the snow cornice as it was quite steep. While we were hanging out at the pass a solo backpacker came up from Death Canyon. We waited in case he needed help getting up the cornice. The backpacker had an ice ax and had to use it to chop steps up the cornice. He slipped at one point and I thought He was going to slide all the way back down, but he caught himself. When he was close enough I had my friend hold onto me and extended my trekking pole out to him and pulled him up the last 5'. After watching him we decided we wouldn't try it. ;)

If you look really close in the photo below, you can see the backpacker coming up the cornice. It was a lot higher and steeper than it looked.

Buck Mountain Pass
DSC04567-Edit.jpg


After getting back to camp the light started to get really nice and I wondered around taking photos!

Beautiful waterfall just below our campsite
DSC04589.jpg


Just above camp
DSC04595.jpg


DSC04599-Edit.jpg


Meadow below camp
DSC04605-Pano.jpg


DSC04607.jpg


Waterfall and our campsite
DSC04619.jpg


Alaska Basin ended up exceeding all my expectations and was by far the highlight of the trip for all of us! I would love to go back and explore it more!

Day3:
The next morning we packed up and head out. The trail down Teton Canyon really drops a lot, especially the first half.

DSC04630.jpg


Waterfall through the trees
DSC04637.jpg


DSC04648.jpg


Eventually we made it to the trailhead and the car that we had left for us the night before we began our hike. When we got there some guy had pulled off to park and had driven off a steep ledge right next to where a small stream crosses the road just as you enter the parking lot. His rear tire was in the air and we all thought he was lucky he didn't roll it. The tall grass and weeds had hid the steep drop from him. Unfortunately I didn't think to take a picture of it. After a big truck pulled him back on we headed off to shower, eat, and then back over to Teton Village to retrieve the other car, and then headed home.
 

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Wanderlust073

Member
.
Joined
Oct 30, 2016
Messages
612
Looks great. That camp site with the waterfalls is sweet.

How long to get rid of those dayhikers at the start? And did this require getting permits? Doesn't read like you were locked into a specific site each night.
 

Chuck the Mauler

Formally known as "kcwins"
Joined
Aug 20, 2014
Messages
395
Based on the 2 campsites, no permit was needed.

There is a trail in Death Canyon, just west of the patrol cabin, that leads up to Static Peak Divide (Stewarts Draw) then around to Buck Mountain Pass. A lot of hikers will "dayhike" this to the top of Static Peak. It's a really steep up from the valley floor to Static Peak Divide. Then an easy up to the summit or around to Buck Mountain Pass. Sounds like fun with all that snow. Here's us going up and over Buck Mountain Pass in July 2011. This was a side trip from the Basin.
1935430_10150510920017822_1697278078_n.jpg


Thanks for sharing your trip!
 

Miya

Because I am able.
.
Joined
Dec 31, 2017
Messages
913
Everything looks so lush and alive. Like a dream of a hike, all the views are beautiful. The waterfalls are gorgeous. Thanks for the share!
 

Ben

Member
.
Joined
Sep 12, 2014
Messages
1,743
Fantastic. i hiked most of the Crest trail out there one time at the very end of June, and i've got to say Death Canyon Shelf and Alaska Basin look way better not covered in snow. you had better weather too, the Grand looks way better not behind a cloud. that campsite in Alaska Basin looks like one of the best.
 

Vegan.Hiker

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2014
Messages
2,090
Amazing! The photography, writeup, everything. I need to get back there and see more. Thanks for putting this together.
 

HomerJ

Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2012
Messages
1,198
And did this require getting permits? Doesn't read like you were locked into a specific site each night.
Like @Chuck the Mauler mentioned, no permits needed for where we camped as they are outside the park boundaries. Only restrictions is no campfires at either place. I didn't miss it as bad as I thought I would.
 

WasatchWill

Ready For More
.
Joined
Jul 23, 2013
Messages
1,426
Beautiful shots. Despite being underwhelmed by that Death Canyon Shelf section, your pictures still make the views look as spectacular as any. One of these years, I'd like to try a similar 3 day trip, only my idea has been to start up Darby Canyon, go up above the caves, then drop down into Fox Canyon for the first night, then tackle Fox Creek Pass, hike the shelf, and settle into Alaska for the 2nd night. From there, the idea would be to traverse the ridge from Hurricane Pass up to Table Mountain, then down the Table Mountain trail, finishing off at the Teton Canyon trailhead there. Whenever I can make it happen with someone else willing to drive another car up, I'd love it if I could find that same site in Alaska Basin too. Excellent find! Thanks for the TR.

Question: How did you store your food and stuff at night? Bear canisters?

Edit: Found your 2nd night campsite! ;) Now it'll be a tough one between that and going a mile further up to settle into one around Sunset Lake.
 
Last edited:

danger02ward

Love the Mountains!
Joined
Mar 1, 2016
Messages
362
Beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing! Love the Tetons! I must get up there one of these days.
 

kwc

Member
.
Joined
Mar 31, 2016
Messages
279
Thanks for sharing your adventure! I need to get out there one of these days ... so many places to go & explore ...
 

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

HomerJ

Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2012
Messages
1,198
Beautiful shots. Despite being underwhelmed by that Death Canyon Shelf section, your pictures still make the views look as spectacular as any. One of these years, I'd like to try a similar 3 day trip, only my idea has been to start up Darby Canyon, go up above the caves, then drop down into Fox Canyon for the first night, then tackle Fox Creek Pass, hike the shelf, and settle into Alaska for the 2nd night. From there, the idea would be to traverse the ridge from Hurricane Pass up to Table Mountain, then down the Table Mountain trail, finishing off at the Teton Canyon trailhead there. Whenever I can make it happen with someone else willing to drive another car up, I'd love it if I could find that same site in Alaska Basin too. Excellent find! Thanks for the TR.

Question: How did you store your food and stuff at night? Bear canisters?

Edit: Found your 2nd night campsite! ;) Now it'll be a tough one between that and going a mile further up to settle into one around Sunset Lake.
Thanks Will. I still thought Death Canyon Shelf was great... Just not what I had built it up in my mind to be was all... I thought the same thing of the Cirque of the Towers in the Winds... LOL!

That route sounds interesting. I looked at going from Hurricane Pass over to Table Rock and then down too. Looking at Google Earth it looked like a scramble so we opted out of that. I later found a report of someone doing that and it didn't sound like it was all that bad. How is the climb up out of Darby and down into Fox Creek. From what I heard, the trail in Fox Creek isn't that good, but coming over from Darby Canyon would put you near Fox Creek Pass so you wouldn't have a long hike up Fox Creek!

We had reserved two bear canisters from the Outdoor Rec Center at USU, but when we went to pick them up they only had one left. It was a Bear Vault 500, so the larger model. We (5 people) were only able to get less than half our food into it the first night. The rest we hung. Good hanging trees are fairly sparse at Fox Creek Pass, but I don't think it would be a problem at Alaska Basin.
 

WasatchWill

Ready For More
.
Joined
Jul 23, 2013
Messages
1,426
Thanks Will. I still thought Death Canyon Shelf was great... Just not what I had built it up in my mind to be was all... I thought the same thing of the Cirque of the Towers in the Winds... LOL!

That route sounds interesting. I looked at going from Hurricane Pass over to Table Rock and then down too. Looking at Google Earth it looked like a scramble so we opted out of that. I later found a report of someone doing that and it didn't sound like it was all that bad. How is the climb up out of Darby and down into Fox Creek. From what I heard, the trail in Fox Creek isn't that good, but coming over from Darby Canyon would put you near Fox Creek Pass so you wouldn't have a long hike up Fox Creek!

We had reserved two bear canisters from the Outdoor Rec Center at USU, but when we went to pick them up they only had one left. It was a Bear Vault 500, so the larger model. We (5 people) were only able to get less than half our food into it the first night. The rest we hung. Good hanging trees are fairly sparse at Fox Creek Pass, but I don't think it would be a problem at Alaska Basin.
This little report gives a sense of what the area above Wind Cave looks like and how you can crest over and down into Fox Canyon. Based on the pics in that report (they didn't go all the way down only because they didn't want to have to come back up) and from looking over maps and stuff, there used to be an old trail or route that did go down a steep little gully off the pass with Darby Canyon to join up with Fox Creek. I believe it has been referred to as simply 10K Pass by some, because of its elevation. Interestingly enough though, that's only thing I can find online that shows off any of that area up there. I figure once down the steepest part, you can go cross country right below the Teton Crest junction...and probably camp in the same vicinity as you would have the first night.

As for Hurricane Pass to Table Mountain, that looks like a typical ridge scramble. Even Caltopo shows a route for it based on someone's track they uploaded and made available via OpenStreetMap.
 

yoseman

Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2019
Messages
9
Last August some friends and I did our first ever backpacking trip in the Tetons. It was such a fun trip! I had been wanting to do the TCT for many years!

Because of work schedules and vacations days we were only able to do a 3 day trip. We cheated and took the tram at Teton Village and hiked to Fox Creek Pass the first day. There was a lot more up and down than I expected in between the top of the tram and the pass. It was a little over 8 miles to our campsite on the pass. There was still a lot of patches of snow left from the heavy snowfall they got that winter! The wildflowers were spectacular! I'm ready to go back!!!

Leaving the tram
View attachment 62568

Descending Rendevous Mountain from the tram. You can see the trail below climbing the ridge in the middle.
View attachment 62569

View attachment 62570

View attachment 62571

View attachment 62572

South Fork of Granite Creek
View attachment 62573

View attachment 62574

View attachment 62575

View attachment 62576

View attachment 62577

Marion Lake
View attachment 62578

Marion Lake was beautiful! Would have been great to camp here. We took a small lake and one member of our party took a quick dip in the lake. On the climb out of the lake to Fox Creek Pass I was regretting I didn't jump in too.

Swimming in Marion Lake
View attachment 62579

Marion Lake
View attachment 62580

View attachment 62581
Marion Lake
View attachment 62582

View attachment 62583

Most everyone was pretty tired by the time we made it to the top of the pass. The pass is over 1.5 miles across with the only water being on the far side. I was in a hurry to get there and find a campsite and kept having to stop and let everyone catch up.

On Fox Creek Pass
View attachment 62584

Fossil Mountain
View attachment 62585

Grand Teton from Fox Creek Pass
View attachment 62586

After finally getting to the far end of the pass, we dropped our packs and scouted for a campsite. We found quite a few and pick one and quickly had camp setup. We ended up with a campsite with great views just outside of it!

Grand Teton and Death Canyon
View attachment 62587

View attachment 62588

Spearhead Peak on Fox Creek Pass
View attachment 62589

Death Canyon
View attachment 62590

Day2:
This day we would hike across Death Canyon Shelf! I had been wanting to hike the shelf ever since I learned of the TCT. I must have built it up too much in my head because I didn't think it was spectacular, but the air was more smokey this day from the forest fires in the North West States. It was still great though!

Heading across the Death Canyon Shelf
View attachment 62591

Death Canyon Shelf
View attachment 62592

Death Canyon Shelf
View attachment 62593

After the small climb up to Mount Meek Pass we soon got our first glimpse of Alaska Basin.

First views of Alaska Basin - Sheep Steps Section
View attachment 62594

View attachment 62595
View attachment 62596

View attachment 62597

After hitting the trail that goes up to Buck Mountain Pass in Alaska Basin, we hunted around and found a campsite. The place we camped ended up being one of my favorite campsites! It was on a nice flat shelf with a nice stream on one side that had a nice 8' or so waterfall below and a small pond on the other side and good views down Teton Canyon. It could have used a few more trees for shade, but other than that it was great!

After setting up camp it was only around 2pm, so we all headed over to one of the bigger lakes (none are very big) where we found of others jumping off of a large rock into the lake. Some of our group started jumping in too and enjoying the refreshing mountain lake. One person in our party got a small leach on his toe while swimming in the lake and had to remove it. I missed getting a picture of it. There are a lot of these small lakes in Alaska Basin with cascading streams connecting them.

Rock jumping/swimming in Alaska Basin
View attachment 62598

View attachment 62599

After everyone was done swimming we continued to explore Alaska Basin. Most everyone dropped down to another of the bigger lakes in the basin, while a friend and I decided to hike up to Buck Mountain Pass.

Alaska Basin - Buck Mountain is the prominent peak near the right side
View attachment 62600

Buck Mountain
View attachment 62601

There was a huge snow drift/cornice on the other side of the pass. We wanted to hike over to where we could look down into Death Canyon, but wasn't sure we could get back up the snow cornice as it was quite steep. While we were hanging out at the pass a solo backpacker came up from Death Canyon. We waited in case he needed help getting up the cornice. The backpacker had an ice ax and had to use it to chop steps up the cornice. He slipped at one point and I thought He was going to slide all the way back down, but he caught himself. When he was close enough I had my friend hold onto me and extended my trekking pole out to him and pulled him up the last 5'. After watching him we decided we wouldn't try it. ;)

If you look really close in the photo below, you can see the backpacker coming up the cornice. It was a lot higher and steeper than it looked.

Buck Mountain Pass
View attachment 62602

After getting back to camp the light started to get really nice and I wondered around taking photos!

Beautiful waterfall just below our campsite
View attachment 62603

Just above camp
View attachment 62604

View attachment 62605

Meadow below camp
View attachment 62606

View attachment 62607

Waterfall and our campsite
View attachment 62608

Alaska Basin ended up exceeding all my expectations and was by far the highlight of the trip for all of us! I would love to go back and explore it more!

Day3:
The next morning we packed up and head out. The trail down Teton Canyon really drops a lot, especially the first half.

View attachment 62609

Waterfall through the trees
View attachment 62610

View attachment 62611

Eventually we made it to the trailhead and the car that we had left for us the night before we began our hike. When we got there some guy had pulled off to park and had driven off a steep ledge right next to where a small stream crosses the road just as you enter the parking lot. His rear tire was in the air and we all thought he was lucky he didn't roll it. The tall grass and weeds had hid the steep drop from him. Unfortunately I didn't think to take a picture of it. After a big truck pulled him back on we headed off to shower, eat, and then back over to Teton Village to retrieve the other car, and then headed home.
great TR thanks!....can't wait to get there this coming Aug.
 

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Similar threads

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Top