American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Wyoming, Other Ranges, The Brown Cliffs, Wind River Range

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1968

The Brown Cliffs, Wind River Range. A new approach to this relatively unknown climbing area was proved feasible the first week of July when Bill Eubank, Chris, his 12 year old son, Jim Petroske, Carl Plassmann and I pushed through knee-deep snow from Island Lake over Indian Pass, across Knifepoint Glacier to the 12,000-foot col between Knifepoint Mountain and the Brown Cliff ridge. Very steep snow slopes lead down to the Alpine Lakes to the south, and we found a good route over these frozen lakes under the western buttresses of the Brown Cliffs through a narrow gap where the outlet from Middle Alpine Lake flows eastward into Snowbridge Lake. An excellent camping site lies right at the base of the Brown Cliffs. From this campsite, on July 8 we climbed the most prominent pinnacle, Bonney Peak 239, by scrambling up a talus slope, then a series of narrow ledges to a low saddle, a knife-edge, on the ridge joining this peak to Peak 240. The summit was reached in about three hours from camp by a series of about eight pitches of roped climbing on excellent rock up the east ridge. No pitons were needed. A short pitch about halfway up required an interesting layback with severe exposure above the smooth vertical north face. Jim’s aneroid read 11,900 feet. After returning to the low point on the ridge in a sudden squall of snow and hail, Jim, Carl and I scrambled up an easy chimney and over a small chockstone and traversed the broken north face of Peak 240 to its 11,700-foot summit, about twenty minutes from the saddle. Next day we crossed the outlet of Middle Alpine Lake and angled across steep scree, snow and ice slopes to another low point on the ridge above Middle Alpine Lake. From this saddle we ascended first to the north over shale-like flakes to the gently sloping rather flat summit of Peak 235 (12,400 feet), then to the south up the broad easy chimneys to the much larger plateau summit of Peak 236 (12,700 feet), which we reached in four hours from camp. No rope was needed.

John A. Woodworth

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