The closure protecting nesting peregrine falcons is lifted effective today, August 16, 2014. A trail closure on the horse trail leading into Cascade Canyon remains in effect for maintenance and climber's are asked to please respect posted closures restricting access in the middle section of the trail. As a reminder, Symmetry Couloir can only be accessed from the "top side" of the horse trail. Please call the Jenny Lake Ranger Station for more information.
Yesterday afternoon a flash flood occurred in Paintbrush Canyon affecting four different sections of trail in the vicinity of the switch backs leading out of the Lower Paintbrush camping zone. Be prepared for walking on uneven surfaces, multiple creek crossings and debris that may have not yet stabilized. Extremely heavy rain preceded the event. Considering the large amount of heavy rain the Tetons have recently received, there is increased risk of rock fall everywhere and the chance of additional flash flooding if these conditions persist. As is commonly said in the avalanche world, uncommon conditions create uncommon events. In the event of heavy rain, head to high ground and avoid creek bottoms.
The monsoonal flow has crept back up to the Tetons from the Southwest bringing with it lightning, thunder and heavy rains. Unlike the classic afternoon mountain thunderstorms that you can set your watch to, these storms can occur anytime of day. Keep your eye to the sky and choose your climbing objectives accordingly. This past week a few storms brought graupel and snowflakes to the higher elevations. This precip didn't stick around but if temperatures start dropping, verglas conditions may develop.
Many popular Teton routes are finally snow free but a few stubborn patches still linger and ice axes are recommended for approaches like Garnet's South Fork. (Crampons depending on the temps and time of day.)
The time is ripe for climbing alpine routes before the first real snowstorm hits. Weekends have been particularly busy on popular routes. Perfect time to check out some of the Teton's lesser traveled routes! There are hundreds to choose from and so many good ones.
With crowding in mind, please do what you can to minimize the number of vehicles at trail heads. Parking is tight this time of year.
The high country in the Teton Range remains pockmarked by snow that is still troublesome in a few areas such as the south fork of Garnet Canyon or Buck Mtn Divide. Despite the painfully slow retreat in some areas, much of the trailed high country is becoming snow-free. Additionally, the fixed lines are out on the approach to the Lower Saddle, which can be safely negotiated without an ice axe or crampons at this time. Have a safe August!