Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • olyclimber

      WELCOME TO THE CASCADECLIMBERS.COM FORUMS   02/03/18

      We have upgraded to new forum software as of late last year, and it makes everything here so much better!  It is now much easier to do pretty much anything, including write Trip Reports, sell gear, schedule climbing related events, and more. There is a new reputation system that allows for positive contributors to be recognized,  it is possible to tag content with identifiers, drag and drop in images, and it is much easier to embed multimedia content from Youtube, Vimeo, and more.  In all, the site is much more user friendly, bug free, and feature rich!   Whether you're a new user or a grizzled cascadeclimbers.com veteran, we think you'll love the new forums. Enjoy!
Sign in to follow this  
davidk

[TR] Wind River Range - Cirque of the Towers - Pingora, Shark's Nose, Wolf's Head 9/9/2009

Recommended Posts

Trip: Wind River Range - Cirque of the Towers - Pingora, Shark's Nose, Wolf's Head

 

Date: 9/9/2009

 

Trip Report:

Wind River Range, Wyoming

"Cirque of the Towers"

 

After a whole summer of "we should do some weeklong trip in September" conversations with Kevin, a trip finally materialized. And for me, this adventure came right on the heels of my trip with Steph to the Valhallas, so I was extra stoked to round out my summer with some time in the Winds.

(photos by David Kiehl and Kevin Oberholser)

 

Itinerary:

9/4 - drive from Ellensburg to Big Sandy Trailhead

9/5 - hike in to Cirque, climb South Buttress of Pingora (III, 5.8, 3p)

9/6-9/7 - climb Southwest Face of Shark's Nose + epic descent (our variation: III, 5.9, 10p)

9/7 - rest day

9/8 - climb East Ridge of Wolf's Head (III, 5.6)

9/9 - hike out, drive back to Ellensburg

 

The Approach:

takes you through some of America's finest land

DSCN3897.jpg

The dirt road to Big Sandy Trailhead is well signed (with one exception... I suggest a left turn here)

DSCN0779.jpg

The trail is pretty painless too

DSCN3560.jpg

 

The Scenery:

DSCN3581.jpg

DSCN3802.jpg

DSCN3778.jpg

DSCN3812.jpg

DSCN3806.jpg

DSCN0682.jpg

 

The Wildlife:

Really people? I don't think a ledge at 11,000' on a windy afternoon is a responsible place to leave your dog while you take a couple hours to go up and down a climb. And yes, it was quite wild!

DSCN0655.jpg

One of many pikas we saw, which is encouraging considering most of their habitat is getting the axe from global warming.

DSCN3810.jpg

This young moose paid a visit to our camp, unannounced, in the middle of dinnertime, and made a scene about it. Rude!

DSCN3774.jpg

 

The Climbing:

Kevin on Pingora

DSCN3605.jpg

West side of Shark's Nose (second from left). This turned into quite the adventure for us. After screwing up the approach, getting off route right off the bat, climbing a difficult but fun super-stretch face traverse (my 77 inch wingspan sure helped on the lead) to cruiser handcrack dihedral pitch, and then traversing ledges back to the left, we regained the route.

DSCN3661.jpg

David following the "parallel cracks" pitch, back on the published route.

DSCN0701.jpg

Kevin following up the crack system.

DSCN3681.jpg

David straddling the Continental Divide on the summit ridge of Shark's Nose.

DSCN0707.jpg

Kevin beginning the raps from the summit at dusk. Impending doom on the horizon.

DSCN3694.jpg

Back on the ground, we proceeded to try to do the correct descent back to the Cirque, in the dark. This involves traversing some ledges on Overhanging Tower to get back to Overhanging-Tower - Wolf's Head col. We failed to start up the correct ramp/ledge system, and ended up scrambling up and down 3rd/4th class terrain on Overhanging Tower's west side. Eventually we were too cliffed-out and tired to proceed, and decided to get some rest.

Moon over Shark's Nose.

DSCN3699.jpg

After a couple hours of sleep and shivering, we decided to get moving again. That is, after performing the obligatory "damn it's cold!" dance on the ledge.

Kevin all tucked in to our "alpine double bed" at our bivy. Shown with optional hard-plastic pillows.

DSCN3696.jpg

On to Wolf's Head. The classic East Ridge...

DSCN3827.jpg

Sweet belay ledges on the whole route.

DSCN07651.jpg

Airy hand traverse around the towers is the name of the game.

DSCN3862.jpg

DSCN3864.jpg

 

 

A great trip, and hopefully just a preview for future trips back to the Cirque. It truly is a classic destination, with so many stellar moderate routes. Put it on the list!

 

Special thanks to my sponsor, Redmond Park Operations Dept., for providing me with a steady paycheck and fulfilling my copious leave requests during the past month.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Killer. How was the s. butt of pingora? I'm going in there on Wednesday to do that and Wolf's head. Might head up north and get Gannett. Winds are just beyond quality.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How was the s. butt of pingora?

 

Stellar, and it goes pretty quick. On the approach, head up the trail as if going towards the East Ridge of Wolf's Head until you look back to your right and see an obvious diagonal black dike/ramp. Take that to get onto the slabs below the buttress. And if you have a little more time, word has it the East Face Left route is fantastic as well. Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
More pikas there than in the Cascades?

 

I would guess that there are more, and the high-elevation Continental Divide ranges will probably be some of their last hold-out habitats. There are many thousands of acres of talus at the optimal high-elevation for them to live in, whereas in the Cascades, most of the talus is too low to maintain the <85 degrees F temperature threshold (I think that's the right temp) in the coming decades so that the pikas can survive.

 

They were certainly more visible than in the Cascades!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On to Wolf's Head. The classic East Ridge...

DSCN3827.jpg

Airy hand traverse around the towers is the name of the game.

DSCN3862.jpg

these are my faves, awesome shots. It's nice to see stuff like this in the lower 48

 

So there were other parties there while you were there? Notice the other climber in the background of one of the shots.

 

so the dog was just tied up in the middle of no where? Well he probably would rather be waiting 2 hrs there than waiting a week back at home :grin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So there were other parties there while you were there?

 

so the dog was just tied up in the middle of no where?

 

Just a couple other parties. Our first two days were Labor Day weekend, so there were half a dozen parties camped in the cirque, but that's when we headed to Shark's Nose. Almost everyone cleared out on Monday though. Pretty quiet really.

 

The dog wasn't tied up. It was free to jump on us, run over our gear while we racked up, and free to jump off the ledge (which it almost did).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×