Symmetry Spire is probably one of the coolest alpine rock climbs in the Tetons. It’s a quicker and easier approach than Irene’s Arête, but also looser. Don’t let the approach fool you, Symmetry is still a serious undertaking. The spire’s Southwest Ridge is the easiest and shortest of its routes.
What Makes It Great
Start at a tree and well-worn ledge at the base. Many options exist but all are about 5.6. Pitch lengths are variable depending upon gear placed. At about 4 pitches up, you’ll hit the Nose Pitch. It's an obvious face feature without cracks, but with a fixed pin. Just to the right in the gulley, there is a 5.7 crack that is less awkward and easy to protect. Easier climbing on the ridge continues. About two-thirds of the way up the route, you’ll have to negotiate a steep, nearly overhanging-but-easy black rock overlap.
Above that, there’s good, golden granite leading to an obvious chimney feature that you can see from several hundred feet below. Climb the left outside of the chimney for super fun moves on airy terrain. Easier 3rd and 4th class scrambling along the crest leads to the true summit. You can rappel from a notch before the summit and down (south) into the descent gully. From the true summit, grassy ledges lead to a small saddle that gains the descent gully that heads south and east to the base. Watch for loose rock and other parties above. Generally staying on ledges on the skier's right of the gully is best.
Who is Going to Love It
If you're looking for a cool climb with a quicker and easier approach than most climbs in the area, this is for you.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Take the boat across Jenny Lake to the lake trail. Hike that north until you reach the horse trail. Hike to the top of the horse trail. You’ll know you’re at the top because it begins to level off. If you hit the main trail up Cascade Canyon, you’ve gone too far. There is an obvious climber's trail going north off the horse trail into the bushes. Sometimes there's a cairn. Follow this climber’s trail up through a generally-easy-to-follow path to the base of a waterfall. Just to the side of the waterfall are some easy ledges that gain the trail leading to the saddle between Ice Point and Symmetry Spire. The route is just to the right of this ridgeline.