Trip: Cirque of the Towers - Wind River Range, WY - Pingora & Wolf's Head
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8/3: Hiked from the Big Sandy Trailhead to Cirque of the Towers
8/4: South Buttress of Pingora II 5.8 - approach took about an hour from our camp. well worn trail up the slabby buttress. the first two pitches are 5.6 up a white corner. the third pitch is the "K" Cracks. we did the left side of the K, which is much more popular. The 5.8 climbing was a thin crack/flake just before the ledge. super fun! from the top of this pitch, unrope and scramble to the summit. Descent is best with two ropes.
8/5: Rest day. We used this day to scope out the approaches, we were concerned about the amount of snow, but it was fine.
8/6: East Face, Left Cracks - Pingora IV 5.7 - the first pitches are clean and splitter. some cracks are full of grass, choose wisely. the middle section is blocky, simul through this part up to where the route crosses the East Ledges route. A couple more pitches takes you to a large ledge where you can walk over to the rap station for the S. Buttress. This route gets some traffic, but it could be cleaner (lots of grass) and be careful for loose blocks.
8/7: Northeast Face of Pingora IV 5.8 - this is the classic. The worst part of this route was simply getting to the start! A full rope length of mostly unprotected slab moves brings you to the base of the large corner. The final section of this was super super heady for me. (we maybe chose a steeper section, I saw another party go across slabs lower down) The corner is steep 5.7, then some fun climbing. I did get off route by the crux pitch. the description calls out an "ugly flared crack". (why would you go that way, I thought) I was sucked in by a splitter to the right of the right facing 5.9 layback dihedral- I came back down to the ledge, so I'm not sure how hard that crack is, but we did see a bail biner higher up, so its probably hard.
8/8: East Ridge of Wolf's Head III 5.6 - a unique opportunity to do two 50 Classics back to back. This climb is so wild!! Very memorable sections with maximum exposure. Highly recommended! Low difficulty, High adventure. The descent is long and takes you over the Col between Wolf's Head and Overhanging Tower. At this Col, you are standing on the Continental Divide.
8/9: Rest day. Ate lots of food and hung out in the mosquito free tent. We ran into someone from Seattle!
8/10: Attempt on the Northeast Face of Warrior 1 IV 5.9 - We bailed after the first two pitches. This route does not get much traffic. Maybe the rock gets better higher up, but the first pitches were pretty scary due to rotten and brittle rock. I broke a large foothold, I've never doubted my gear (due to rock integrity) like I did on this route. My partner wasn't feel'n it and we went down when the wall got steep.
8/11: Hike out to the parking lot and start the 1000 mile drive home.
... the wildflowers are amazing. the scenery stunning. the mosquitoes are horrible.
Double ropes. Double rack. (Doubles up the #3, and a single #4) Single set of nuts. Long pitches. Used a lot of big gear. Bring a rap kit if you plan to do any routes that are not super popular. Headnet required for camp.
Jackass Pass may be "infamous", but its really a hump that is only briefly steep. I thought the worst part of the hike into the cirque was the elevation gained and lost around North Lake. Keep your eyes open for the climber's path that goes around the west side of Arrowhead Lake. Do Not take the hiker's trail over the pass. The climber's path takes you directly to the campsites in the meadows. It took us 8 hours with the heavy packs.