American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Wyoming, Wind River Range, Pingora, North Face

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

Pingora, North Face. Accompanied by Aaron Schneider, on August 14 Ed Speth and I returned to the north face of Pingora (11,884 feet), a climb we had been forced off in 1963 by bad weather. From Lonesome Lake we hiked up the talus and tumbling creek to the sloping friction ledges that lead to the foot of the north face. Roped climbing began just east of a small buttress where the ledges ended. The first pitch went quickly, up and right around the buttress, over a slight overhang and up a wide grass-filled crack to a large belay ledge. The second pitch ascended on friction to the base of a broken area, at the top of which a small roof caused us to hand-traverse into an overhanging corner. Above the overhang we followed a crack up and left to another roof where again we traversed right — this time to a belay ledge. The next pitch led up to the base of an open book, then proceeded right on very small holds to a short overhanging layback, above which easier climbing ended on a good belay ledge. The fourth pitch rose 100 feet directly to a very small and shallow alcove where a bolt had been placed for a rappel anchor during our retreat on very difficult footholds (no handholds) around a blind corner to a narrow ledge, which widened after passing a gap and became a commodious belay station. A difficult 8-foot vertical wall and a short traverse right led to a large flake, which we ascended directly, and a long traverse right took us to another of the wonderfully large and secure belay positions found on the route. This marked the end of strenuous climbing. Four easy pitches led to the base of a huge rotten recess carved out of the north-face summit. After 300 feet of third-class scrambling in semi-darkness we were on the summit. We rappelled down the familiar south ridge just as the moon dropped behind the Cirque of Towers. The majority of the twelve pitches were long — 150-foot ropes were a necessity. Approximately 21 pitons were placed for protection. (NCCS III, F7.)

Don Lauria, Sierra Club

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