American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Wyoming—Wind River Range, New Ascents in Central Wind River Range

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

New Ascents in Central Wind River Range. In July, Bill Dougall, Mark Haun, Monte Haun, Bob Bell, Jon Hisey and I spent eight days in the Island Lake—Titcomb Lakes area and completed eleven ascents between electrical storms. Of major interest to future parties is the camp established about 1¼ miles north of the upper Titcomb Lake and directly below the west face of Mount Helen. A tremendous boulder sits there on a meadow bench with a 12 × 15-foot overhang on its north side, which we partially walled in and found more than suitable for sheltering six.

From Island Lake we climbed Knife Point Mountain (13,007 feet) and then continued another half mile east along the ridge to a 12,800-foot peak overlooking Alpine Lakes. No record of prior ascents was found on the latter, which we called Nebraska Point. A second day from Island Lake took us on a traverse around the south side of Cairn Peak to the Cairn Peak-Ellingwood saddle. From here a quarter-mile traverse east and a 700- foot scramble brought us to a large smooth saddle on Ellingwood’s south ridge from where we climbed to the main peak (13,000 feet) apparently by a new route. Immediately south of the saddle is a 300-foot tower (12,500 feet) with two very interesting and exposed class 4 leads. We made its first ascent via a rib just left of the central chute and named it Faler Tower. It can be seen from the Island Lake campsite poking ominously above Cairn Peak’s south ridge. Our return to camp was via an ascent of Cairn Peak’s east ridge. Also climbed from Island Lake were Fremont (13,730 feet) and Jackson (13,400 feet).

One day was spent moving gear six miles to the Mount Helen Boulder camp. Gannett Peak (13,785 feet) was climbed via Bonney Pass and two new routes were made in ascending Mount Helen (13,600 feet). Two long and steep snow fingers angle up and left to crease Helen’s northwest face and the party was split to get them both. The longer west gulley gave us a beautiful standing glissade on the descent with a 2000-foot drop. Also climbed were Miriam Peak (13,110 feet) and a second ascent of the south face couloir on Woodrow Wilson (13,500 feet).

Kenn Carpenter

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