Alpine RockMountaineeringTravelUSA

A Cirque of Towers

By August 30, 2009 2 Comments

From Wild Iris we drove back to Lander and waited for a day while a low pressure system and associated thunderstorms and cold temps passed through the area. Unfortunately it brought snow to quite low levels, and dropped 4 inches (sorry we speak imperial these days) in the Cirque of the Towers – our destination in the Wind River Range. The Wind Rivers are a range of isolated granite peaks, around 3500m high, in central-western Wyoming. They’re kinda like the Bugaboos, but without the glaciation, and quite a bit like the Darrans – except you won’t find any bolts, and it doesn’t rain so much! We walked in to the Cirque the day after the snow fall (fortunately it melted fast!), climbing classic routes the next two days on Wolfs Head and Pingora, before walking out on day 4. Another amazing place I could spend more time at! [hover over photos for captions]

Committing to these roads is a bit scary sometimes ... mile after mile of sage grass, in the middle of nowhere. Coming out from here at night was like a safari drive - with jack rabbits, pronghorns (like antelopes) and other beasts running across the road.
Four inches of snow melted pretty fast! Crossing Jackass Pass enroute to the Cirque. This was our first view of the peaks proper.
Wolfs Head (left behind) and Pingora (right) two of the most sought after peaks in the range.
An idyllic base camp - grassy tent spots, trees for wind shelter and a babbling brook nearby...
The blade-like peak of Wolfs Head (first climbed and named by Fred Beckey in the 60s). We climbed the East Ridge - facing the camera and half in shadow/light
Hana contemplating the line on the east ridge of Wolfs Head. Rated 5.7, we pitched some sections and scrambled others.
Summit of Wolfs Head
We were stoked to meet this guy, Mr Pika, on the convoluted snow-covered descent (6 abseils and some snowy scrambling)
Cool evening in camp...
'Base Camp to Camp IV, do you copy?'
Camp and the Cirque Skyline
Day after Wolfs Head we were up early again for the 11 pitch 5.8 route on the North East ridge of Pingora.
Hana on the North East Ridge of Pingora, pitch after pitch of sweet (but pretty burly old school) 5.7-5.8 cracks.
Summit of Pingora
Warbonnet and Warrior 1

2 Comments

  • Neil Parker says:

    Hi Mark, Hanna

    I know you were at the Winds last year but I am wrapped for you to have gone there. I had 2 weeks there in August 1980 and did some of the routes you did and some others up a nearby valley, both leaving from Big Sandy. The climbing was amazing and the Wildflowers too.
    Had some time in Golden bay including seeing Kristen F and whanau. Hoping for a Wanaka trip in late Feb.
    All the best in Mexico.

    Cheers Neil

    • admin says:

      Cheers Neil. 1980 eh! Showing your age there : )
      We had an awesome time there. Quite the sublime place.
      Hope all’s good with the family and life in Wellington.
      Mark.

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