Teewinot’s summit might be the pointiest and smallest in a range full of pointy, small summits. In the Shoshone language, Teewinot means “many pinnacles.”
What Makes It Great
Teewinot is difficult to properly categorize it as a climb or hike. Its first 3,000-some feet are most definitely a hike on a very well-worn trail. Once you get above the Worshipper and Idol though—rock features on the southern edge of the peak’s east face—the trail disappears into scree fields and giant slab-like boulders. I’ve done the peak upwards of a dozen times and still find route finding above here difficult. My percentage of actually reaching the summit hovers only at 40-percent or so. In every instance but one, the reason I did not reach the summit was route finding.
There is an area called "the Narrows" that you must get up and over. When you get to "the Narrows", you think, “This is a difficult rock climbing move with a fair amount of exposure. This can’t be right.” And then you wander off somewhere else that you discover is even more difficult, and probably also loose. Then you either wait for someone who knows the route to pass by and follow them or you head down.
The east face of Teewinot is classified as a Class IV scrambling, but I’d put the moves you need to do at "the Narrows"—it’s only two or three that are moderately dicey—as 5.4. Not difficult by any means, but they make you pause when you’re 4,000 feet above the valley floor without a rope. (In fact, carrying some sort of small rope with you on Teewinot is not a bad idea).
Once past "the Narrows", you need to bear north. Here it looks like there are some nice couloirs above and to the south that will take you where you need to go. They don’t. Cairns are always in short supply in "the Narrows" area. There are some above this area, but don’t rely on them.
The Jenny Lake Rangers and the wonderful book A Climber’s Guide to the Teton Range describe the route in greater detail than there’s room for here, so please avail yourself of both. As your local expert, I’m just here to tell you that, yes, hiking/climbing up Teewinot’s east face is a most worthy day in the mountains.
Who is Going to Love It
If you’re fit enough and comfortable with exposure, you should do it. If you don’t like the idea of exposure, you can hike up to the Worshipper and Idol on the well-worn—but still exceedingly steep—trail and call it a day.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Teewinot might have the easiest directions of any hike/climb in Grand Teton National Park: park on the west side of the Lupine Meadows trailhead parking lot about ½-way down the lot. Look for the trail heading west. Start walking. Keep going for 5,000+ feet and enjoy the views from the sixth highest summit (12,326 feet) in the range.