A Seven Pitch Jenny Lake Link-Up – Seizure Disorder, Direct South Ridge (Baxter’s Pinnacle, 5.10) and No Perches Necessary (5.9R) – Grand Teton Nat. Park (10.20.22)

Seizure Disorder is a single pitch 5.10- variation to the original South Ridge (5.9, II, 5 pitches) route on Baxter’s Pinnacle. No Perches Necessary is a short but worthy two pitch affair at the mouth of Cascade Canyon, featuring a stellar and sustained 5.9 fist crack, and a bold 5.8R runout slab pitch. On October 20th, 2022 Jordan Creech and I linked the two routes for one seven pitch day of excellent lowland climbing in the Tetons.

Seizure Disorder, South Ridge, Baxter’s Pinnacle (5.10, II)

Winter was just around the corner, but sunny forecasts for two more days kept work obligations at bay and climbing stoke high. After tossing around several Symmetry Spire and Death Canyon ideas, we settled on minimum approaches and maximum climbing – a link-up of two classic multi-pitch climbs on the west shore of Jenny Lake. I had climbed Baxter’s via the traditional South Ridge four times, so naturally I wanted to up the ante. Seizure Disorder is a short 5.10- variation to the traditional 5.7 first pitch, ascending a thin orange slab with a mix of traditional gear and two modern bolts. Modern topos list this unpopular variation by the vague stamp of 5.10, so naturally I was left wondering – is it 5.10a, 10b, “c” or “d”… or maybe even a classic Teton sandbag, 5.11 anyone? From the base there seemed to be some holds, and so long as I could clip the high first bolt, maybe 20 feet off the ground, why not give it a shot?

The first, and final, two bolts of Seizure Disorder on Baxter’s Pinnacle

In theory Siezure Disorder is a simple affair – a two bolt highball boulder problem in the alpine. In practice, the start is deceptively overhanging and the first bolt quite high, requiring bold climbing protected by a single horizontal #0.75 Camalot six feet off the belay. Approaching the first clip I entered definitive ground fall territory, but once the carabiner snapped shut I was able to focus on the task at hand. Sustained 5.10 edging and crimping, quite pumpy for 10:00AM, led past the second bolt and through a delicate high crux to a stimulating mantle on poor feet. Given the height and climbing style, Seizure Disorder is perhaps better graded V1+/V2 – a stimulating and unique way to augment the easier pitches low on Baxters.

Creech making Seizure Disorder look casual

For the rest of the Baxter’s romp, Creech sent pitch two and I sought a new path on the northwestern side of the South Ridge on pitch three. As opposed to the traditional (and excellent) chimney pitch north of the ridge crest, our less-popular variation, also 5.7, features really interesting and exposed climbing on steep rock, followed by less savory stone off the crest – my new preferred ascent. A quick fourth class scramble and Creech was racked for the money pitch, leading his first traditional 5.9 in stellar style. We stood on the summit of Baxter’s, five pitches later, by 1:00PM.

The stellar (5.7) third pitch South Ridge variation of Baxter’s Pinnacle
Creech leading up the final 5.9 pitch of Baxter’s Pinnacle

No Perches Necessary (5.9R, I)

From the top of Baxter’s we made three 30M rappels to and through the descent gully, snatched packs and hustled to the base of No Perches by 3:00PM. Instead of retreating to the Cascade Canyon Trail, we bushwhacked south along the cliff’s edge for about 1/4 mile – tough on the ankles but relatively efficient. The first pitch splitter crack is unmistakeable, and frankly quite intimidating. From a distance the 3-4 inch crack looks vertical, but as we drew closer the angle eased off and promising face holds emerged. We began climbing by 3:30 beneath beautiful bluebird October skies.

No Perches Necessary, with the obvious first pitch wide crack

After scrambling up easy slabs to the base of the wide crack, a wedged chockstone beneath a subtle roof provided the first and only real crux of the climb. I plugged a Red Metolius Supercam and proceeded to dink around for a good ten minutes, eventually mantling into the splitter and sinking my fists into locker jams reminiscent of the fourth pitch wide-crack of The Snaz. The crack ran nearly parallel, at least by Teton standards, for forty some feet. I reached the belay bumping a pair of large Supercams some twenty feet each, my first time deploying this classic Indian Creek “always on a top-rope” or “too broke for more wide gear” technique. Despite a few bail out face crimps, this crack was probably the most difficult true splitter I’ve ever climbed, but felt fairly casual given the impeccable and predictable protection.

Pitch two holds the eye-raising stamp of “R” – especially sketchy in the Tetons, land of ego fueled hard-men and cynical sandbagging. Departing from the bolted belay I was cautious, but a bomber micro-brass-offset placement (PM for exact piece 😉) in a left leaning flake supplied just enough confidence to pull the only 5.8 move in town and reach the very high, and very old, 1/4 inch first bolt. Right when I clipped the rusted SMC hanger and realized this suspect hardware was probably installed a half century earlier, I flipped into no fall mode. A 70 foot runout on 5.7 edges and friction dishes ensued, with only one suitable gear placement a single body-length beneath the chains. I wasted valuable time in several incipient cracks and anemic horizontals, fussing around with worthless TCU’s and half sunk offset stoppers to no avail. Though I ultimately found this pitch rewarding and soft for the grade, and look forward to leading it again, a fall from anywhere on the upper slab would certainly result in very serious injury (and that’s only if the notoriously questionable bolts hold!!). Solid 5.9 climbers seeking adventurous old-school Yosemite-style bolted climbing will enjoy this pitch, but others may prefer to retreat from the pitch one chains. A pair of 30M rappels landed us back on terra firma by 5:00PM.

Jordan Creech enjoying the upper slabs of No Perches Necessary

Route Summary and Recommended Rack/Resources

Linking Baxter’s Pinnacle and No Perches Necessary is a logical and timeless day of climbing on two of Grand Teton National Park’s finest lowland routes. Think of Seizure Disorder as the red pepper flake to Baxter’s cheese pizza – a no-brainer way to add an extra pinch of difficulty to a moderate classic, recommended to any climber confident enough to clip the first bolt. No Perches stands as stated above, an interesting yet short climb on stellar rock, with a consequential second pitch demanding of clarity and mental discipline. We wrapped up the whole enchilada in a leisurely nine hours, but a fast party could easily clock under seven. The best guidebook for topos and route descriptions of Baxter’s and No Perches is Aaron Gams’s Teton Rock climbs.

For protection, a casual single rack of cams to two inches and a plump set of nuts will suit most Baxter’s Pinnacle climbers. For No Perches Necessary, most climbers will appreciate the same rack bolstered with a few larger cams. We carried the two biggest sizes of Metolius Supercams and one #8 Master Cam, roughly equivalent to a #4, #3.5 and #3 BD Camalot, and the protection was sufficient. A selection of HB brass offsets or micro-nuts should be considered mandatory to protect the sustained 5.8 climbing below the first bolt. All rappels on both routes can be completed with a single 60M rope, and all the belay/rappel stations on No Perches Necessary are bolted with rappel chains.

Ten Thousand Too Far is generously supported by Icelantic Skis from Golden Colorado, Barrels & Bins Natural Market in Driggs Idaho, Range Meal Bars from Bozeman Montana and Black Diamond Equipment. Give these guys some business – who doesn’t need great skis, gear and wholesome food?

Errors? Typos? Leave a comment below or send an email to bwanthal@gmail.com

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Ski mountaineering, rock climbing, ice climbing and all other forms of mountain recreation are inherently dangerous. Should you decide to attempt anything you read about in this article, you are doing so at your own risk! This article is written to the best possible level of accuracy and detail, but I am only human – information could be presented wrong. Furthermore, conditions in the mountains are subject to change at any time. Ten Thousand Too Far and Brandon Wanthal are not liable for any actions or repercussions acted upon or suffered from the result of this article’s reading.

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