American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, California—Sierra Nevada, Rixon's Pinnacle, Direct South Face

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1964

Rixon’s Pinnacle, Direct South Face: Seeking a significant first ascent under winter conditions, Gary Colliyer and I chose the direct south face of Rixon’s Pinnacle. At dawn one day we waded through heavy drifts to the wall, although it was difficult to see the route because of the snowstorm. I climbed 150 feet up direct aid cracks arching to the right, placing four bolts in blank sections. Icy streams of water numbed our hands into uselessness. As heavy gloves or mitts were impractical because of the necessary delicate manipulation of hardware, we were forced to descend. A week later we returned in clear weather. Gary made a difficult tension traverse right and nailed up a long groove to the only stance on the climb; a belay ledge on the west face route. A 30-foot tension traverse right brought us to the steep 200-foot crack which ascends the south face directly to the summit. At this point, a windy snow storm again produced miserable conditions, but we succeeded in struggling to the top. A descent in the dark by the regular route finally ended this difficult and gratifying venture. In warm weather this would be an enjoyable direct aid climb up a clean, smooth, steep 450-foot wall.

Glen Denny

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