American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Wyoming, Wind River Range, Haystack Mountain

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1965

Haystack Mountain. On September 10 Mike Ermarth and I completed the first three leads in the obvious crack which goes vertically up the center of the huge west face of Haystack Mountain, all fourth class; we left one fixed rope. The crack, which was like a dike, was about four feet wide and five to ten feet deep, the bottom being largely high-angle, down-sloping slabs of dark rock which was slightly loose in places. The next morning Rick Reese, Mike and I ascended the third-class slabs to the fixed rope and soon reached our highest point of the previous day. Rick led up the next pitch, which required strenuous stemming over two slightly overhanging bulges in the base of the crack. The crack narrowed somewhat for the following pitch, which was easier. The sixth pitch of the climb consisted of a strenuous stem over some steep down-sloping slabs in the crack, and an awkward move out of the crack where it became an open book facing right for a short distance. The next pitch was a strenuous stem on small holds, quite difficult because the crack was narrowing. I finally worked out of the crack to the left to a ledge providing a good belay spot. Rick led the next pitch, the hardest of the climb. He worked back across the crack, which ended a few feet above in an overhang, and then traversed ten feet to the right to a layback crack. The crack had fairly good handholds, but smooth rock for footholds which sloped away from the handholds enough to make the layback quite difficult. The last pitch consisted of two chockstone overhangs, one of which could be passed beneath and tunneled up, and the other, which could be stemmed to the beginning of the summit slabs. The summit ridge was reached at 1:30 p.m. after over six hours of climbing. Descent was made via a shallow, third-class couloir which diagonals down the north side of the peak to the west. (NCCS II, F6).

Edward Vaill, University of Chicago Mountaineering Club

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