Baxter’s is the best and closest Teton half-day climb. Understandably it’s very popular. Which means you should go early in the day. This is not only to avoid crowds, but also because the spire is hard to find in the light in the middle of the day. Early in the day, due to the sun's position to the east creating a nice contrast separating the feature from the surrounding terrain, it can be easily seen from the boat across Jenny Lake.
What Makes It Great
Hike the lakeside trail north until the horse trail sign. Take a left and head up that trail. Walk about 20 minutes up the horse trail, keeping an eye out through the trees for the pinnacle you spotted from the boat. The trail levels off near a huge log with a clear view uphill of Baxter's. There is a well-beaten-in climber's trail from the horse trail, through the brush, and onto a talus slope. Beware of parties above and also of rock fall. In early season, melting snow can send giant rock fall down the descent gully.
As you get close the base of the climb, there are some small, flat spots below a large tree. These are a good staging point to rack up and hang packs and extra stuff from the trees’ branches. If you don’t hang your stuff, it’s entirely likely a marmot or such will get into it. With your stuff safely stashed, finish the walk to the base.
A loose gully heading out of the obvious descent gully just to the south of the pinnacle takes you to a big ledge and the start of the climb. The rock is generally good, although some rubble exists on ledges. The route is mostly mid-5th class, although harder variations exist just left of the arête. The main route goes up the arête or just to the right side of it. Hand cracks, stem corners, and face climbing with ample protection and easy belays are typical. After 4 pitches, a big ledge is gained at the base of the last 40-foot steep pitch. This is the crux. This pitch can be avoided with an easy 3rd class down climb just looker's left of the face onto an exposed ledge the traverses into the descent gully.
The final pitch is protected by fixed pins and easy cam placements. The first moves off the ledge go straight right and then up into a shallow corner. This is honest 5.9 for a couple of moves and then eases to 5.7. Follow a fixed pin or two diagonally back left and up an awkward lie back. Then it’s straight up to the summit pull over. Extend the anchor from the tree and belay from the edge. Watch the rope cutting over the edge if your partner falls and swings. Rappel from the tree into the gully and then down climb easy ledges through the gully, always watching for loose rock. Avoid the temptation to rappel the gully as the rock fall can be significant. Move quickly and carefully back to your packs and lunch.
Who is Going to Love It
Those who like getting up and at 'em! Not only is this a popular climb, but the spire can be difficult to find in the afternoon due to the sunlight.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
According to Mountain Project, "Baxter's is a little difficult to find... It's low on the south side of Symmetry Spire's east ridge, but it's hard to see from the east shore of Jenny Lake. It's about a 1/2 hr. approach if you take the boat across Jenny lake. From the trail jct. just west of the Jenny Lake Boat Landing, take the "horse trail" up Cascade Canyon. After about 1/2 mile, you can see the pinnacle on the slope to the north. Continue up trail to talus from the pinnacle and find footpath that leads to the base of the south ridge of the pinnacle."