Teton Crest Trail Permit Issues - Help!

Cburton

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Joined
Sep 3, 2017
Messages
22
I posted here in 2017 for my September Wind River trip, and you guys made some great suggestions. I was especially fond of the East Fork, which several of you highly recommended. This site is an awesome resource, so thank you to all who contribute!

This year's September trip is supposed to be the Teton Crest Trail. I logged in several months ago the moment the permit system opened, but the system seemed to be malfunctioning and permits weren't made available until 25-30 minutes after when they were supposed to be available. Anyways, I had to take care of some stuff at work and when I returned 45 minutes later the permit reservation system was working and almost all permits I wanted were gone. So it goes.

Anyways, I was able to snag a permit for my first night for Death Canyon Shelf, but no other permits were available that would work. I would have loved to have gotten a South Cascade Canyon and Holly Lake or the other zone camping permit around that area, but it wasn't in the dice at that point. So where do I go from here?

I'd like to spend 3-4 nights out there, so 4-5 days. We'll fly in the night of August 30th, so we won't be able to reserve permits a day in advance in person. We can hike up to around 12-15 miles/day in that kind of terrain, but we're happy to have shorter days as well and spend time exploring around camp, hiking off trail without our packs, etc. We plan to start our trip with the aerial tram up to Rendezvous Mountain.

I'm aware that we can spend night two in Alaska Basin, which looks like an awesome area anyways. What is my best option after that? Since I have a permit for just one night, can I get a second, separate permit by walking up to see if anything else is available? Or will that not be possible since it will be two days before the night I would stay in Cascade Canyon or Upper Paintbrush Canyon/Holly Lake?

Any can't miss areas or good alternatives after spending night one on Death Canyon Shelf and night two likely in Alaska Basin? (or South Cascade Canyon if we get the walk up permit?) I'm also looking for transportation recommendations - rental cars, shuttles, etc are all fine with me. I've looked
 

Chuck the Mauler

Formally known as "kcwins"
Joined
Aug 20, 2014
Messages
419
I posted here in 2017 for my September Wind River trip, and you guys made some great suggestions. I was especially fond of the East Fork, which several of you highly recommended. This site is an awesome resource, so thank you to all who contribute!

This year's September trip is supposed to be the Teton Crest Trail. I logged in several months ago the moment the permit system opened, but the system seemed to be malfunctioning and permits weren't made available until 25-30 minutes after when they were supposed to be available. Anyways, I had to take care of some stuff at work and when I returned 45 minutes later the permit reservation system was working and almost all permits I wanted were gone. So it goes.

Anyways, I was able to snag a permit for my first night for Death Canyon Shelf, but no other permits were available that would work. I would have loved to have gotten a South Cascade Canyon and Holly Lake or the other zone camping permit around that area, but it wasn't in the dice at that point. So where do I go from here?

I'd like to spend 3-4 nights out there, so 4-5 days. We'll fly in the night of August 30th, so we won't be able to reserve permits a day in advance in person. We can hike up to around 12-15 miles/day in that kind of terrain, but we're happy to have shorter days as well and spend time exploring around camp, hiking off trail without our packs, etc. We plan to start our trip with the aerial tram up to Rendezvous Mountain.

I'm aware that we can spend night two in Alaska Basin, which looks like an awesome area anyways. What is my best option after that? Since I have a permit for just one night, can I get a second, separate permit by walking up to see if anything else is available? Or will that not be possible since it will be two days before the night I would stay in Cascade Canyon or Upper Paintbrush Canyon/Holly Lake?

Any can't miss areas or good alternatives after spending night one on Death Canyon Shelf and night two likely in Alaska Basin? (or South Cascade Canyon if we get the walk up permit?) I'm also looking for transportation recommendations - rental cars, shuttles, etc are all fine with me. I've looked


How many people in your group?
 

Cburton

Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2017
Messages
22
You know what they say...first help is free, second will cost you a trip report. ;)
Fair enough! Haha. I actually spent a couple hours typing up a trip report with a lot of photos, etc., but then I lost it somehow. It was an awesome trip, so maybe I'll get back on it.
 

Cburton

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Joined
Sep 3, 2017
Messages
22
So I just spent two hours writing up a trip report for my Winds trip. I was about 90% finished, and accidentally clicked the back button to the previous web page. When I went forward to my trip report, it was gone. The draft from my trip report auto saved throughout the whole process. Who knows how to get it back? Am I up a creek?? I was really happy with how it was turning out.
 

Nick

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Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
12,918
So I just spent two hours writing up a trip report for my Winds trip. I was about 90% finished, and accidentally clicked the back button to the previous web page. When I went forward to my trip report, it was gone. The draft from my trip report auto saved throughout the whole process. Who knows how to get it back? Am I up a creek?? I was really happy with how it was turning out.

Just go and create a new trip report in the same forum you started it in and it will be load up in the editor. It saves it for a few days.
 

Cburton

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Joined
Sep 3, 2017
Messages
22

Chuck the Mauler

Formally known as "kcwins"
Joined
Aug 20, 2014
Messages
419
OK, here's what I'd do. Looks like you're set on taking the tram...that's fine, although I prefer Death Canyon to get up to the Crest. Night 2 in the Basin. Those two nights are easy whether you're able to alter your permit via a walk-up or not.

Day 3, lots of great options. Do a day trip up to Static Peak then come back to Mirror Lake in the Basin (where you camped on day 3), pack up and head over to Sunset Lake (also in the Basin). Day 4 over Hurricane Pass the back up to Avalanche Divide and camp down at Snowdrift Lake. The next day hike out Avalanche Canyon.

Or, day 3 you leave the Basin and camp at Snowdrift Lake. Day 4 back down South Fork Cascade Canyon to the fork, then left, up the North Fork. There is 1 site up at Mica Lake, camp there. The next day over Paintbrush and out Paintbrush Canyon.

There are several places the park service allow camping that aren't in "camp zones". You just have to ask. More than likely you'll be able to pull a great walk-up....if not I've given you a couple options.
 

Absarokanaut

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Sep 17, 2014
Messages
602
Chuck's given you absolutely exquisite suggestions, hope you can snag those permits and add them on. A few other options:

When I was at summer Camp when I was 13 we hiked out of the Basin and did Static Peak and hiked down Stewart Draw to the Whitegrass [Death Canyon] trailhead. After a zero day of fun in the Basin that would be a monumental way to end the trip if you can't get those permits. Of course if lightning is a serious threat that morning you would logically bail out Teton Canyon.

The other option after hiking Static would be the following day to just hike out Teton Canyon. I know Chuck's not a big fan of it but it would ultimately be practical.

Chuck could probably weigh in on this possibility better since I haven't done it in quite some time. Head up Hurricane Pass but then go over to table Mt. and then down to Teton Canyon. If he thinks its doable for you just make sure you know your route WELL. Same lightning concerns.

Whatever you do have an awesome hike. Let me know if I can help out on any other info like pre and post trip meals, etc.

Tetons Table 2013.jpg
 

Cburton

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Joined
Sep 3, 2017
Messages
22
OK, here's what I'd do. Looks like you're set on taking the tram...that's fine, although I prefer Death Canyon to get up to the Crest. Night 2 in the Basin. Those two nights are easy whether you're able to alter your permit via a walk-up or not.
Day 3, lots of great options. Do a day trip up to Static Peak then come back to Mirror Lake in the Basin (where you camped on day 3), pack up and head over to Sunset Lake (also in the Basin). Day 4 over Hurricane Pass the back up to Avalanche Divide and camp down at Snowdrift Lake. The next day hike out Avalanche Canyon.
Or, day 3 you leave the Basin and camp at Snowdrift Lake. Day 4 back down South Fork Cascade Canyon to the fork, then left, up the North Fork. There is 1 site up at Mica Lake, camp there. The next day over Paintbrush and out Paintbrush Canyon.
There are several places the park service allow camping that aren't in "camp zones". You just have to ask. More than likely you'll be able to pull a great walk-up....if not I've given you a couple options.

Thanks for the reply!

I'm not completely set on taking the tram. If it works better for sake of the permits I'm happy to hike up Death Valley. But I'll be coming directly from sea level before the trip, so the idea of gaining elevation easily is appealing. But it seems that starting at the tram would also basically necessitate setting up a ride or a taxi of some sort, whereas we could easily hitch from Jenny Lake to the Death Canyon TH I would imagine.

Glad to know I have so many options - I didn't realize the park allowed camping outside of the camping zones and designated campsites. That sounds like it may be our ticket when I try for a walk in permit. I'll just research the options and see which one will work best with the available permits.

I don't see any trails in Avalanche Canyon on the couple maps I've looked at. Are there use trails or fairly easy cross country travel? My 25 year old sister will be with me, and while she's down for most anything I'd want to hike, I don't want to push her too hard or on anything with a lot of exposure.
 

Cburton

Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2017
Messages
22
Chuck's given you absolutely exquisite suggestions, hope you can snag those permits and add them on. A few other options:

When I was at summer Camp when I was 13 we hiked out of the Basin and did Static Peak and hiked down Stewart Draw to the Whitegrass [Death Canyon] trailhead. After a zero day of fun in the Basin that would be a monumental way to end the trip if you can't get those permits. Of course if lightning is a serious threat that morning you would logically bail out Teton Canyon.

The other option after hiking Static would be the following day to just hike out Teton Canyon. I know Chuck's not a big fan of it but it would ultimately be practical.

Chuck could probably weigh in on this possibility better since I haven't done it in quite some time. Head up Hurricane Pass but then go over to table Mt. and then down to Teton Canyon. If he thinks its doable for you just make sure you know your route WELL. Same lightning concerns.

Whatever you do have an awesome hike. Let me know if I can help out on any other info like pre and post trip meals, etc.

View attachment 62943
Thanks for the advice!

Any general thoughts on the beauty of the Tetons approaching from the west via Teton Canyon vs from the east from the different National Park trailheads? We'll fly into Jackson, and so I had just assumed we would approach the Teton Crest from the east, but I'm open to suggestions!
 

Chuck the Mauler

Formally known as "kcwins"
Joined
Aug 20, 2014
Messages
419
There are game trails and old unmaintained hiking trails out (and into) Avalanche Canyon. Great chance to see moose in the lower end of that canyon too.

The idea of flying in to Jackson and then taking a trip up the tram to the top of Rendezvous Mountain (10,449') COULD present an altitude sickness problem. The hike up Death Canyon to the shelf is not only wonderful, but may help with acclimation.

I could give you more info....but I'll wait and reply here.

Have a blast!
 

Absarokanaut

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Sep 17, 2014
Messages
602
I thought my opening indicated Chuck's suggestion would be preferred, my apologies if you didn't see implication.

Chuck's got a lot more eperience in the Tetons than I do, and more recently. I just offered other possibilities.

Just how were you planning to acclimate to the altitude?
 

Cburton

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Joined
Sep 3, 2017
Messages
22
There are game trails and old unmaintained hiking trails out (and into) Avalanche Canyon. Great chance to see moose in the lower end of that canyon too.
The idea of flying in to Jackson and then taking a trip up the tram to the top of Rendezvous Mountain (10,449') COULD present an altitude sickness problem. The hike up Death Canyon to the shelf is not only wonderful, but may help with acclimation.
I could give you more info....but I'll wait and reply here.
Have a blast!

I'd love to see a moose - they've evaded me in the last 8-9 years that I've spent earnestly camping. Most of my camping buddies who camp 1/4 as much as me have seen them on trips with me while off somewhere else. It's time for me to get on the moose sightings board!

My leaning towards the tram is because it would save me 3,000 feet of elevation gain on day 1 when I'm least acclimatized. It would also shorten the day 1 distance from 13 miles or so down to 9.5. I'm much happier doing more moderate miles early on in a trip at high altitude. My Wind River trip we started off at 9,200' and climbed to 10,600 the first day and slept around 10,200. Not ideal, but I didn't have any issues besides heavier breathing and slower elevation gain. If I lived at a higher elevation I'd be more likely just to hike up Death Canyon. I'm not totally opposed, I'm just leaning towards easy street right now.

And I'd love to hear all of your thoughts you'd be willing to share on Avalanche Canyon, Mica Lake, Snowdrift Lake, and any other off trail areas that may be options!

Thanks again for all of the help!
 

Cburton

Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2017
Messages
22
I thought my opening indicated Chuck's suggestion would be preferred, my apologies if you didn't see implication.
Chuck's got a lot more eperience in the Tetons than I do, and more recently. I just offered other possibilities.
Just how were you planning to acclimate to the altitude?
I can see the preference for Chuck's suggestion now that I reread your initial post. Always good to have options though!

Frankly, I'm planning on acclimating over the course of the hike. It's not ideal, but my sister and I have both gone from sea level to around 10K elevation to backpack and have been fine and still enjoyed all non-uphill parts of hiking. I'd love to spend time acclimating before the trip, but not enough to take extra vacation days way from other trips. I'll actually have just been day hiking in Banff with my family and my in laws one week prior, so at least I won't be the lesser acclimated out of my sister and I ;) Gonna be a great summer for my outdoor pursuits!
 
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