American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Wyoming, Wind River Range, Ambush Peak, East Face, and Other Ascents

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1999

Ambush Peak, East Face, and Other Ascents. The Wind River Mountains of Wyoming harbor many unclimbed walls and much beautiful scenery. On August 28, Chuck Calef and I established a new route on the ca. 2,000-foot east face of Ambush Peak. The year before we had been turned back due to bad weather. This year we were luckier. We spent a few days “warming up,” establishing a few new routes and variations to existing routes, including McMuffin (II 5.8R, six pitches) on the left side of the obvious M-dike on Point 12,187, which finishes with the big white dihedral to the gully between Point 12,187 and Point 12,173. We also added a direct start to the Mt. Bonneville traverse, from the southwest.

Having established a direct start of 600 feet of slab climbing (5.8R) to the Grey Ledges last year, this year we solo climbed up via the East Chimney Route and traversed into the Grey Ledges. From this point, the climbing goes straight up (5.6) and trends right (5.9) toward the “Inverted Staircase,” the right end of the big roof system dominating the center of the east face. Remarkable features let us cruise through the feared Inverted Staircase for two pitches (5.9) to a big comer. After a third-class traverse on grassy ledges, a diagonal line through a vertical garden of grass and dihedrals (5.8) led to some wet sections and the “Tower” (5.9), a large chimney system ending in a pillar. From the Tower, the route goes straight toward the main summit (5.8), passing some stacked door-sized death flakes, and finishing up an easy chimney. The climb took 12 hours and included 12 long pitches (mostly 50m) above the Grey Ledges. We expected more difficult climbing, but the route follows surprising lines of knobs and good cracks on mostly excellent rock. We called the route Wish You Were Here (IV 5.9).

Last summer there were, as far as I know, two other teams attempting the east face of Ambush Peak. One team made an attempt straight up to what I called the Grey Ledges and returned from there. The other team made an attempt to the left of the middle of the east face, angling out toward the south face. In this region an old fixed rope is hanging. We left nothing on the route; no bolts were drilled and no pitons were used.

Thomas Leitner, unaffiliated

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