American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing
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North America, U.S., Wyoming, Wind River Range

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1955

Wind River Range. On July 4, 1954, we made the first ascent on Gannett Peak (13,785 feet) of the northwest ridge, which rises along the continental divide from Koven Col. Except for Harvard freshman Roger Dane and myself, our party consisted of fifteen- to eighteen-year-old school boys. Harold Janeway (3rd rope leader), John Briton, John Kelsey, William Rawls, Dixon Riley, and Philip Weld. To avoid a smooth rock step we took to the ridge about a hundred feet from its end on the Gannett Glacier side. After crossing a bit of ice and an easy bergschrund, we attacked a flaw in the buttress that proved extremely difficult. I led the first 30 feet on very small holds and found no crack that would hold a piton. A projecting rock then offered a point which I used to belay our second rope leader, Dane, who continued another 30 or 40 feet on very exposed rock but with good holds. After the two of us were up, it took another hour and a half before the whole party completed this section. Just above, we reached the true ridge, which we followed to the summit of the northwest buttress. It was easy climbing to the base of the summit pyramid, where we had to surmount a small rock tower before finding ourselves at grips with the final 200 feet. To the right, the cliff fell over 2000 feet nearly perpendicularly. This steep pitch had good holds at first but soon became very smooth. A melting snow patch above caused water to trickle down this section and the verglas forced me to drive a piton that I used for direct aid to negotiate a treacherous spot. We soon stood on the summit of the northwest buttress. From there it was easy walking to the summit along the boulder-strewn ridge.

H. Adams Carter

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