Mount Moran - CMC Route (II, 5.5)

Where: Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
When: July 2009
Partners: Andy Mac

Mount Moran

I'd wanted to climb Mount Moran since climbing Grand Teton in 2006. In 2007, my friend Walt and I got permits for the peak's most classic route, the CMC Route. A climbing ranger told me that the CMC Route was the classic route in the Tetons. It's not hard to imagine how stoked I was. Unfortunately, Walt's truck broke down in Idaho and we scrapped Moran for another time. This go-round, Andy Mac was a willing (and enthusiastic) participant.
East Horn on the approach up the Falling Ice Glacier drainage

Renting a canoe, we paddled across String Lake, portaged to Leigh Lake, then paddled across to the bottom of the Falling Ice Glacier drainage. The beta said it was then a 4-6 hour hike to camp. We did it in less than 2 with overnight packs. Camp was delightful, and I didn't at all mind choking down my bland, heat-in-the-bag type mashed potatoes for dinner that night.
West Horn from low on the face

The beta also said that summit day was a 10-14 hour roundtrip from camp. We did it in less than 6 (including an episode with a tangled rope on the rappel from Drizzelpuss, and a snagged rope on the descent from the CMC face). Free-soloing the ascent of the very sweet and solid, 1000-foot 5.4 CMC face was a cruise. What a route!

West Horn, Drizzlepuss and Oensold's Needle (L-to-R) from midway up the CMC face

Soloing the face

High on the CMC face

The short walk to the highpoint

Our friend Walt's name in the register!

The crux of the route, interestingly enough, is a 5.5 pitch on the return, when one must reclimb Drizzlepuss, an aesthetic crag near the base of the CMC face. Once back on top of Drizzlepuss, it was 30 minutes back to camp, then another hour to the canoe (after packing up camp).

It seems most parties do this route in 2 or 3 days. For the fit and capable, this is a reasonable 10-12 hour dayhike from the car.