American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Wyoming—Tetons, Traverse of the Peaks at the Head of Open Canyon

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1961

Traverse of the peaks at the head of Open Canyon. On July 12, Dave Dornan, Mark Melton, Mona Monahan, and Leigh Ortenburger climbed all five peaks at the head of Open Canyon and found two that apparently had not been previously ascended (at least by humans). After ascending Prospector’s Peak by the southwest ridge, the party climbed Peak 10,979 by the easy ridge connecting with Prospector’s. Since no evidence of previous ascent was found on the summit, a cairn was built and the name Tukuarika Peak was given. Continuing westward, the cliff-ringed Peak 10,874 was climbed from the west up what was apparently the only easy route. At the extreme south edge of the large flat summit a cairn containing a nail, but no record, was found. Since this was presumably built by a surveying party under T. F. Murphy in the mid ’30’s, the name Murphy Peak was given. Its twin, Peak 10,882, equally well guarded by sedimentary cliffs and flat-topped, was next climbed by a crumbly route up steep and rotten dolomite on the, northwest side. The route of descent, the southeast ridge leading toward Mount Hunt, is the one easy route and had apparently been used a few hours earlier by the two elk which we had seen on the summit, while we were on the summit of Tukuarika Peak. In honor of these adventurous elk, we named the peak Two Elk Peak, since, other than their hoof marks, there was no evidence of previous ascent. The traverse was completed by ascending Mount Hunt via its west ridge and descending its east ridge to the Open Canyon-Granite Canyon trail.

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