Ask Liz / Are the thunderstorm dangers on the Teton Crest Trail?

THE SIMPLE ANSWER: IN HIGH ELEVATION, YOU SHOULD ALWAYS BE PREPARED FOR UNEXPECTED WEATHER.

We weren't hit with thunderstorms on this trip, but we were expecting highs of 50s and lows of 30s for our trip in September. It ended up being 32 degrees at the start of our hike, with light snow all day, and dropping into the single digits our first night. High altitude backcountry weather is unpredictable. Do your research and be prepared.

We weren't hit with thunderstorms on this trip, but we were expecting highs of 50s and lows of 30s for our trip in September. It ended up being 32 degrees at the start of our hike, with light snow all day, and dropping into the single digits our first night. High altitude backcountry weather is unpredictable. Do your research and be prepared.

Here's the full question: "I am planning on a trek on the Teton crest trail and was wondering if thunderstorms in July and August in the high elevations are a problem in the Tetons. I have backpacked in August in the Colorado rockies and it was definitely a hazard there."

More specifically, here's what Grant Teton National Park (GTNP) Ranger Bobbie Tumolo had to say: "It is quite common for a passing afternoon thunderstorm to come through on any given day. They are usually quick though." She also threw in a bit of extra advice, "Also know that higher in elevation there, it is also quite possible for there to be a need for ice axes and crampons until mid-July. Not always, but also not uncommon. It's an incredible place!!"

If you ever have questions about weather, calling a ranger is one of the best ways to get the most accurate up-to-date info. I wrote about the Teton Crest Trail, where I included the GTNP contact information. Here it is for your convenience:

Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center
307-739-3399
8am-5pm MST

I highly recommend calling them as you get closer to your start date. Rangers are awesome and can be so helpful!