"The Grand", as Jackson, WY locals call the towering rock spire northwest of town, has perhaps the most compelling profile of any mountain in America. The summit block seems impossibly tilted, adding a surreal cap to the already impressive jagged skyline of the Teton Range.
Many people are surprised to learn that the Grand Teton is not the highest mountain in Wyoming. Gannett Peak, 65 miles away in the Wind River Range, beats it out by 34 feet, and, although it is not as famous, Gannett is still a spectacular peak. Of course, there are tons of peaks in Colorado higher than the Grand, including all of the "fourteeners". Overall, it ranks about 115th in height among peaks in the 48 contiguous United States. But in the hearts and minds of anyone who sees the majestic "cathedral group" rising above the valley, its rank is far higher.
Climbing "the Grand" is not as hard as it looks. The Owen-Spalding route, which corkscrews around a bit, following the easiest ledges, is rated Class 4--non-technical but very exposed. The Exum Ridge--either the direct or partial--are classic lines and are easy Class 5. The Exum Guide service, one of America's premier mountaineering outfitters, guides people up the Exum Ridge routes. Even climbing neophytes in good condition who pass their 2-day climbing school can then climb the Grand Teton with the guides.
Most routes start at the Lupine Meadows trailhead in Grand Teton National
Park and climb up a hiking trail to the Lower Saddle at 11,640', just south of the
Grand. The Exum Guides maintain a hut here, where climbs then go up towards
the Exum Ridge or Owen-Spalding routes. The difficult North Ridge can also be accessed from the Saddle.