North America, United States, Wyoming, Wind River Range, Cirque of the Towers Traverse

Publication Year: 1965.

Cirque of the Towers Traverse. When our party of six arrived in the Cirque of the Towers, Dick McCracken and Charlie Raymond and I were immediately struck by two fine challenges: the unclimbed south face of the Watchtower and a traverse of the Cirque from Pingo to Warbonnet. On July 16 we traversed from Pingora to Pylon Peak and bivouacked at Wisconsin Pass. We finished the climb after 2½ hours of trudging on the second day. The trip went smoothly except for a harried rappel from the Shark’s Nose ridge when lightning threatened. The most enjoyable sections were the east ridge of Wolf’s Head and the standard route on Shark’s Nose. These routes offer the most in mountain adventure for the least in danger and technical difficulty. (NCCS IV, F7.) Route Description: From the southwest corner of Pingora, climb down west face 200 feet and traverse to southwest buttress. Rappel from large horn. Rappel again from small horn to notch between Tiger Tower and Pingora. From Wolf’s Head, rappel and climb down west face several hundred feet and traverse into couloir. Climb out of couloir and return to arête. From Overhanging Tower: climb down southwesterly and rappel from piton. From Shark’s Nose: move south and rappel from a block without a sling, then make a second rappel from a block with a sling. From Block Tower: climb down south to broad, sloping ledge. Rappel from piton to enormous, sloping ledge, and continue same rappel to angular ledge on the right 40 feet lower. Second rappel goes to notch. From notch, ascend Watchtower by climbing a steep gully on left for 50 feet and then ascending diagonally back R and up to ridge. The above description includes only those areas of the traverse not obvious or not covered in Bonney’s guide.

Royal Robbins