American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing
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North America, United States, Wyoming—Tetons, Thor Peak, Northwest Face

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

Thor Peak, Northwest Face. After studying aerial photographs all winter, Leigh Ortenburger was convinced that Thor Peak had a 1200-foot northwest face which should at least be investigated during the summer. An additional attraction to this route was the problem of approach ; it appeared that no one had ever penetrated the side canyon of Moran Canyon that separates Mount Moran from Peak 10,950 + . After much talking he was able to convince three others, Leon Sinclair, Raymond Jacquot, and his wife, Irene, that this unknown face harbored a worthy new route. A day of hard work was necessary in order to establish a bivouac in the above-mentioned side canyon at about 9400 feet near a stream west of Peak 11,117. Early on the morning of August 13 the bottom of the face was reached by first climbing to the saddle between Thor and Peak 11,117 and then descending into the cirque on the northwest side of Thor. Here, an apparent glacier was discovered; it possessed various characteristics of a glacier such as bergschrund, crevasses, moraines, but we were not able to examine the stream draining the snowfield in order to determine whether or not it was milky. The face above, which proved to be unnecessarily rotten, was attacked from the top of the moraine slightly to the left of the center of the face. The difficulty was not severe, and except for one pitch, all of the pitons were placed because of the instability of the rock. The route ended on the northeast ridge about 150 feet below the summit, which was easily reached by scrambling. Descent was made via the southwest couloir to the saddle previously mentioned, and thence down the gully to Leigh Canyon. Repetition of this route can scarcely be recommended; the rock is not good!

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