The Classic Grand Teton

The Classic Grand Teton The Classic Grand Teton The Classic Grand Teton The Classic Grand Teton The Classic Grand Teton

Join the thousands of Exum climbers that have reached the summit of North America's most iconic peak.

Towering above Jackson Hole at 13,775 feet, the Grand Teton is one of North America’s most famous and coveted summits. A climb on this iconic peak is never easy, and a successful ascent is a memorable achievement.

The Classic Grand Teton climb is a 4-day program – and it’s what sets Exum apart from all other guide services. In 2 days of group instruction, our climbers are taught all of the skills necessary to fully participate during their 2-day Grand Teton climb. These skills include: bouldering, multi-pitch climbing techniques, rappelling, knots, rope management, and most significantly, belaying. Our classic Grand Teton climb is more than a guide leading you to the top. Rather, each participant is an integral part of the climbing team, resulting in a heightened sense of accomplishment and an unforgettable bond with your fellow climbers and guides.

Day 1
You will meet your guide for the day and head to one of our climbing areas. You will learn introductory skills and spend the day practicing what you learn on low angle multi-pitch climbs and rappels. Most groups are back to the office by 4:30 or 5:00.

Day 2
Your second day of instruction is another all-day class at one of our climbing areas. You will use the skills you learned in day 1, to climb steeper and more difficult climbs. The day will also include an overhanging rappel.

Day 3
You will meet your guide for the day at our office at 9:45. After introductions and information sharing, the guide will do a gear check and your group will begin the hike to the lower saddle. The hike is strenous and typically takes 5-7 hours. You will gain 5,000 ft. of elevation in approximately 7 miles. The day will include rest stops along the way, and lunch in a beautiful alpine meadow. In the late afternoon or early evening you will reach our hut at the lower saddle which serves as our basecamp. After an early dinner, the guides will share information about the next day’s summit attempt, and then its early to bed so you get plenty of rest.

Day 4
The alarm goes off at 3:00 am. After a quick breakfast, the climbing groups will be formed and your summit attempt will begin. The day includes approximately 2,500 ft. of hiking, scrambling and technical climbing to the summit. Most groups top out around 8:00 and spend some time enjoying the summit view. Groups are typically back to the hut for lunch and a short rest before heading down to the trail head. This is typically a 12-15 hour day and groups return to the office tired and happy!

EARLY SEASON: (typically programs beginning before July 12th) A day of snow school must be added to this itinerary as Day 3, making the climb a 5-day program. An additional fee applies for this day of instruction, which includes necessary skills for snow travel.

NOTE: This is a typical itineray, and it varies depending on group abilities and conditions on the mountain. Most groups will attempt to reach the true summit and our guides have a very high success rate. With weaker groups though, the west summit (also known as the Enclosure) will be the goal. This isn’t common, however if you are concerned that your summit attempt could be impacted by other climbers’ abilities, you should consider a private climb.

Regardless of whether you choose to climb the Grand Teton in a group or with your private party, it will be an unforgettable experience. Exum has successfully guided both classic and private climbs for nearly 90 years. Below are considerations to help you choose the best option for your party.

Classic Considerations

  • The classic climb is less expensive.
  • In classic climbs, climbers will belay other climbers and must accept belays from other climbers.
  • Classic groups will in many cases, combine with other groups and work together on the climb. Groupings and guides can change for summit day.
  • As long as an acceptable pace is being maintained, the hiking and climbing pace will be based on the weakest member of the group.
  • If any member of the group cannot continue to the summit for any reason, the entire group will descend.
  • Classic climbers will climb with multiple guides throughout the 4-day program.
  • While most classic groups will attempt to reach the true summit, the west summit will be the objective with weaker groups.
  • The minimum age for classic climbs is 14.
  • Guide requests cannot be honored for classic climbs.
  • Classic climbs must be completed in 4 consecutive days.

Private Considerations

  • Private climbs are more expensive.
  • Private parties have more choice in the level of participation and instruction. The guide can belay all or most climbers (at least one participant will learn to belay the guide).
  • In most cases, private parties will hike to the lower saddle and climb to the summit with the same guide.
  • Private parties will climb at their own pace as long as everyone is maintaining an acceptable pace.
  • The route to be climbed will be determined by your party only (except in threatening weather conditions).
  • Private parties are encouraged to complete the instruction and climb in consecutive days but exceptions can be made.
  • The minimum age for private climbs is 12 (with a parent).
  • Specific guides can be requested and assigned in advance to private programs.

Check out the private climb page for more information. If you are not sure whether to choose classic or private, we can help you decide when you call to discuss your reservation. Once your reservation is made it is typically not possible to change your choice.

Most of our climbers have never climbed prior to their first day of instruction, and by the end of the second day, most are comfortable with all of the skills necessary to attempt the Grand Teton climb. All Grand Teton climbers must successfully complete the classes, and demonstrate an appropriate level of fitness prior to the climb.

The Grand Teton climb will likely be the hardest thing you have ever done. If you arrive fit, and ready for the adventure, our guides can teach you what you need to know to attempt the climb. Your preparation and training is by far the most important thing you can do to ensure an enjoyable and successful climb. Please see our Grand Teton training page for information and suggestions to help you prepare.

Exum has guided thousands of climbers to the summit of the Grand Teton since we became a park concession in 1930. We have a remarkable success rate! We are committed to providing all climbers with an enjoyable experience and the summit is always our goal. It is important to realize though, that weather and other factors can occasionally prevent groups from reaching the top. All climbers must accept this as a given in mountaineering.

Please call the office if you have any questions regarding your preparation for the climb. Exum guides will not approve anyone to join a climb who is not capable of performing the skills necessary, or who is not fit enough to make the attempt. There are no refunds in this situation.

There are inherent risks in all climbing. All climbers must acknowledge these risks by reading and signing our Acknowledgement of Risk Form. The Acknowledgement of Risk form is a legal document and it is important that you read the entire form, and carefully consider the risks before you sign the document. 

We use SmartWaiver to allow participants to read and sign the Acknowledgement of Risk form electronically. We will send you an email with a link to the form at least a week before your first activity.

If you would like to read the Acknowledgement of Risk form now, a link is below.

Acknowledgement of Risk


The 4-day Classic Grand Teton climb is offered every week during our summer season. Please call our office to check availability.


The 4-day Classic Climb – $1,425 per person
(includes Multi-Pitch I & Multi-Pitch II climbing schools, and the 2-day climb)

IMPORTANT: We typically require at least 3 climbers to schedule a classic climb. Occasionally, a cancellation leaves a single climber with no group to join. When this occurs we will combine the 2 days of instruction into one day and allow the single climber to climb with a guide. The rate in this situation is $1,620.

In early season a day of snow climbing instruction is required making the program 5 days – An additional $285 fee applies.


If you have questions or if you are ready to reserve your climb, please call our office at 307-733-2297 to talk with one of our knowledgeable office staff members. We have all enjoyed climbing the Grand Teton multiple times, and we can describe the climb for you far better than we can write about it here.

Please review our Equipment List and Rental Gear and be sure to bring everything on the list.

Climbing the Grand Teton is an unforgettable and often life-changing experience!

Mountain activities involve risk

All activities in and around the mountains involve risks which cannot be eliminated. All participants will be required to sign an electronic version of the Acknowledgement of Risk form prior to participation. Please review this form so you are aware of the risks associated with this activity.

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