American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Contiguous United States, Wyoming, Wind River Mountains, Squaretop, AC/DC

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2000

Squaretop, AC/DC. To the left of the great bay in the east face of Squaretop, the wall forms a long fin that ends in a tower. From Granite Lake our route and the formation are quite obvious. We called the tower “Squaretower” and our route on the face AC/DC. It is an excellent, varied and difficult route. I first tried it with Mike Weis and Carol Kacza about a million years ago, then returned with my son Dan last summer for another attempt. He and I were stormed off, but we climbed gullies and short headwalls left of the tower and reached the summit in a fun way.

In general, the route ascends the south face of the tower, starting from an obvious grassy ledge at the base of the steep upper wall. The approach is not trivial, and we roped up both times prior to reaching the ledge. Careful route finding and better climbers might avoid that necessity.

From the right end of the ledge, follow cracks and chimneys on the right side of the formation, then trend left across the middle of the tower, aiming for the crack and comer on the left edge of the wall capped by an enormous triangular roof. At the base of the roof, traverse right about half a rope-length out to the east edge, and from there, follow cracks to the summit. By the way, the triangular roof has a very wide crack splitting its right side (five or six inches?) that will make a very exciting pitch, which we were fortunately not prepared to tackle.

I would recommend this climb, and future parties should be very aware of the loose block on pitch 2 if they choose that crack. One can climb over it or do the crack/flake system to the left (which is what we did the first time) but the right crack is outstanding and hard, and the second should definitely honk that deathblock.

I lost my watch with wedding ring attached somewhere on the third pitch. Maybe it will turn up one day. Ten pitches (some short) to the summit, an 80-foot rap to the notch, two pitches to summit plateau (some 5.7 on the first pitch). We’d rate the climb IV 5.10. Good pro, recommended. Harder variations are quite apparent. Descend east gullies to Granite Lake. Catch trout, eat dinner.

Andy Carson

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