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 Post subject: Wyoming!
PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 5:11 pm 
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Duchess of Bearington
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Joined: Sat Aug 29, 2009 7:44 am
Posts: 199
Location: closer to josh, kris, and mel than craig
Josh and I just finished a five-ish day trip in Wyoming. We met up in Lander about a week ago a hatched an ambitious plan to climb at the Cirque of Towers and then head to the Tetons. Per usual, we didn't climb all objectives, but we certainly had a good time trying. Here is brief report of our successes and attempts:

Last Thursday (?) we backpacked into the Cirque of the Towers - for those unfamiliar with the Cirque of Towers, as you could guess it's a giant cirque of incredibly clean, vertical granite. It's about an 8 mile hike in, though the first 5 are very easy flat miles. The last 3 take you up into what we started to call "alpine glory."

Example of "alpine glory:"
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Our first objective was to climb the South Buttress on Pingora. After a wandering scramble, we arrived at the base of the climb only to find two other NOLS instructors about to hop on the same route. After watching them thoroughly enjoy the climb, Josh led the first 5.6 pitch and I led the second 5.6 pitch.

Josh leading the first pitch:
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While we both found the crack and corners enjoyable, it was the last pitch that truly makes this climb a classic. The final pitch (5.8 ) follows a "K" shaped crack system, aptly called the "K" cracks. Psyched to get his hands in some cracks, Josh led the left side in good style and I happily followed. The last portion of the climb is a 4th class scramble that lead to some amazing views of the rest of the cirque.

"K" crack:
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View from top Pingora:
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Probably our best summit shot to date (note the awesome mustache):
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The following day we decided to do another classic, the East Ridge of Wolf's Head. This climb was significantly different from Pingora, and mildly terrifying for me, but still fun. We had another morning of wandering scrambling on various ledges that eventually brought us to the base of the 5th class climbing. I led the first pitch, which gained the ridge - at this point it had been drizzling on and off, but we knew that we could bail off the ridge of we needed to. Fortunately, once we gained the ridge it was clear that the clouds were passing through and we would have clear skies for a large portion of the day. Once on top of the ridge, we decided to simul-climb the remainder of the pitches. The route follows up a foot wide catwalk for about 50 meters when the ridge widens and steepens with a crack running through the middle. The remainder of the climb is spent traversing and negotiating the Wolf Head's many towers.

One of the Wolf Head's more impressive towers:
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A particularly airy section on Wolf's Head:
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One of the very cool, yet very terrifying things about this climb is the constant exposure - it makes for great views and rapid heartbeats.

Once at the top, we relaxed for a bit, but knew we should descend quickly as the weather at that point had become completely unpredictable. The descent is a little tricky, as it descends the complete opposite side of the mountain and then traverses back to the base of the ambiguous start. We luckily had very few route finding issues and made it back to camp in the late afternoon.

Base camp with Wolf's Head jagged ridge on the left and Pingora on the right:
Image

We had discussed attempting the NE Face of Pingora (5.8, IV), but because of its committing nature and the unpredictable weather, we opted to hike out the next morning and booked it to Pinedale, WY where we ate some delicious pizza and stayed at hands down the best motel, Rivera Lodge (breakfast is included and it is delicious).

The following morning we headed out to Jackson, WY to attempt the the complete Exum Ridge on Grand Teton. We were quite optimistic about the whole ordeal due to a fantastic 3-day weather forecast. Apparently a lot of other people were optimistic about the weather too, as we were accompanied by a slew of climbers on the 7-mile, 4,000ft hike into the Moraine Camp (10,700ft). However, during the night we were awoken by some light rain and by 5am when we had gained the Lower Saddle (11,600ft) to the base of the Exum it was clear that dark clouds were rolling in. All parties, us included, turned back. After a nap and some food, we packed up and headed out.

Despite not getting a summit in, it was great to see the Exum up close and I will certainly be back there in the near future to hopefully tag the top. I did get some great pictures of the ridge, but can't get them on the computer yet -- I'll post them the next time I get a chance.

We are now off to take CA to continue getting our send on!


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 Post subject: Re: Wyoming!
PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 7:53 am 
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Alpine Slogger
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Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:01 am
Posts: 826
Location: Too far from a summit
Sweet summit shot glory!


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 Post subject: Re: Wyoming!
PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:23 am 
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UW Climber

Joined: Thu Oct 02, 2008 7:34 am
Posts: 324
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
*drool* That's amazing! Great job, also love the summit shot. :D The Wind Rivers are so beautiful! Did you run into any sheep+shepherd named Lou?


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 Post subject: Re: Wyoming!
PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:48 am 
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The Shepherd
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Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 12:37 pm
Posts: 787
Location: Ravenna
Awesome! Can't wait to see you guys in a couple of days!


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 Post subject: Re: Wyoming!
PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 9:16 am 
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Mountain Rhombus
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Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 11:32 am
Posts: 584
Location: Near the taco truck
When are you coming back!? Oh yeah...looks like fun

_________________
climbing!


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 Post subject: Re: Wyoming!
PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 11:50 am 
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Tenacious Lee
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Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2008 9:33 am
Posts: 229
Location: Seattle
Awesome, the Cirque of Towers has been on my list for some time.


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 Post subject: Re: Wyoming!
PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 2:04 pm 
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receiving spoon
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Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 10:29 am
Posts: 327
I personally think that's an Alot head, not a wolf's head. Looks pretty awesome!


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