American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Wyoming, Wind River Range, Lost Temple

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1962

Lost Temple. Almost invisible against the north face of East Temple as you look at it from Big Sandy Lake is the 1000-foot monolith, Lost Temple. Its inside detachment from the main face is about 300 feet high, but our studies showed no reasonable direct route there because of virtually impossible slabs and overhanging caves in the chimneys leading to the inside notch. Cracks and flakes on the north corner seemed to offer a one- day route. On August 27, from the ridge crest where the north corner juts upward, John Hudson led a diagonal crack on a giant slab, which tended to put one off balance when jamming with the left hand and foot. The next two leads were mine. Using slabs and cracks just on the west side of the ridge, the route led to a prominent notch on the corner. Vertical flakes, two awkward slab sections and an off-balance jam-crack were the key moves. A long lead up a right-angling chimney took us to a horizontal dike at the beginning of the steepest section of the corner. We traversed to a platform on the corner itself to tackle the next problem— a 125-foot lead to a flakish "scoop." The first 100 feet ascended a slightly overhanging parallel crack system just east of the corner. Hudson led, placing pitons for aid. The next lead looked ominous from beneath, since it appeared to be a series of multiple flakes, each overhanging at its tip. However, piton protection was good, and by working right to a new crack, I could use jam-holds and laybacks to avoid the overhanging flake tips. We climbed a leaning slab wall and then chimneyed up an overhanging corner behind a great detached flake. This took us to the last difficult lead. First came a long chimney that narrowed to a jam-crack. By wedging through to a ceiling at its top, I could place a 3-inch Chouinard aluminum piton beneath the roof, then reverse my direction and work out left on the opposite corner of the roof for about five feet, using pitons and stirrups. I worked up again and from a high piton found a sharp edge to use as a hand layback to pull away from the direct aid. After another 30 feet of crack climbing, the corner rounded to a slope of great boulders for a romp to the summit. We had had an exciting and strenuous climb, using 53 pitons in all, perhaps half for aid on two pitches. The final problem was getting off ; the last three rappels were done in the dark.

Fred Beckey

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