American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Wyoming, Ambush Peak, Northeast Face, Wolverine Peak, East Face, Prairie Falcon Peak, Northeast Face, Wind River Range

  • Climbs And Expeditions
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  • Publication Year: 1972

“Ambush Peak”, Northeast Face, Wolverine Peak, East Face, “Prairie Falcon Peak”, Northeast Face, Wind River Range. From a camp at Pyramid Lake, Larry Young and I climbed this impressive 2000-foot face of “Ambush Peak” (12,173 feet) from July 12 to 14. It rises from a low-angle apron which gradually steepens to near vertical at the top. When viewing the face from across the valley, one can clearly distinguish between the east face and the northeast face. The route starts directly below the overhangs of the east face. Climb third-class slabs up to the right for several rope-lengths to a large ledge below a series of flakes facing right. Continue up moderate fifth class to a dike which slants to the right. Follow this dike for 25 feet, then climb up over a small overhang (F8). Continue up, bearing slightly right following line of least resistance (several F8 sections) to below a large overhang. Climb a flaring groove which slants left. Continue up to a ledge below a second overhang which is passed on the right (A3). There is a conspicuous yellow hole to the right of these overhangs. This is a key to locating the route from the ground. Continue up 400 feet to a huge flake. This is a good bivouac spot. Traverse up to the left below a steep yellow wall. The next pitch goes up and slightly left through a series of hanging flakes (A4. F8). Nuts are very useful in this section since the flakes expand. Continue up for several more pitches, keeping left of an obvious inside corner. When the final overhang is reached, exit left around the corner and climb easy rock to summit.

Many nuts were used on this climb varying from the tiny wired variety to the largest hexagons. Although the majority of this route is free climbing a selection of 35 pitons is probably necessary due to the wide variety of cracks found. We used a selection ranging from knifeblades to a 4-inch bong. No bolts were needed. NCCS V, F8, A4. The 1000-foot east face of Wolverine Peak's southwest summit rises directly above Lake 10909. On July 31 Bob Johnson and I climbed a crack and chimney system which cuts directly up the center of this vertical face, terminating within a few feet of the southwest summit (12,602 feet). Strangely, the name of Wolverine Peak is placed on the map not on the highest summit, the southwest, but on a lower summit of 12,360 feet. We believe this is one of the finest climbs either of us has ever done. The rock is superb, offering excellent protection. From Lake 10909 climb up steep talus and snow till below ledges of east face. Climb up to the highest point of ledges where the climb begins. 1st Pitch: Climb steep face for 30 feet, then move right to a short crack which slants up to the right. Ascend this crack and climb to a pointed flake. Traverse left and belay at a blocky ledge behind some large flakes (F8). 2nd Pitch: Climb a corner to a crack system on a steep face. Ascend face (a few aid pins) to a huge ledge (F8, Al). 3rd Pitch: Traverse right 20 feet to an inside corner facing left, capped by an overhang. Climb a squeeze chimney which narrows to a smooth five-inch crack. Pass overhang and continue up to a ledge (F9). 4th Pitch: Continue up cracks and chimneys to a ledge below an overhanging block (F6). 5th Pitch: Climb the crack above to a ledge below a ceiling. After many attempts to do this section free we finally used a four-inch bong to pass this obstacle on aid (F8, A2). 6th Pitch: Continue up crack to summit. We used an assortment of 15 pitons, including several bongs. Large climbing nuts are very useful on this climb. NCCS IV, F9, A2. From a camp at Somnicant Lake Bob Johnson and I climbed the northeast face of “Prairie Falcon Peak” (11,348 feet) on July 29. Easy climbing leads up to a large ledge below the final overhanging headwall. The next long lead follows a crack up the left edge of the headwall. One short lead brings one to the summit. Take a good selection of 25 pitons up to 2-inch. Nuts are very useful. NCCS III, F9, A3. We also climbed a route on the east face of “Prairie Falcon Peak”, several hundred feet to the left of the south-face route. This route followed a chimney system with several F8 sections. We found a piton on the last pitch indicating a previous ascent.

STEPHEN J. ARSENAULT, Harvard Mountaineering Club

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