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Last Go Round

On September 12 Ty Mack, Mike Anderson, and I made the first ascent of Last Go Round, on the northwest buttress of Temple Peak. The route takes a pronounced splitter crack on the far left side of the buttress. I had attempted the route in the fall of 2006 with Todd Skinner, but we were turned back by a very hard last pitch. This time I stacked the odds in my favor by taking two of the best climbers I know. The day was cloudy and windy, and the warmest we were all day was on the glacier approach.

The climb was a team-free ascent, with Mike and Ty climbing well on hard terrain. The crack varies little in width: mostly thin hands and hands for the first four pitches. We climbed most of the route in down jackets. By the time we got to the last pitch, none of us was ready to pull hard. The pitch, a left-leaning seam feature, looked to need bolts and considerable scrubbing, so we opted for a 5.10 face traverse left to an alcove. Ty then led a steep dihedral to the top of the buttress.

We rappelled the route from the buttress crest, judging that continuing to the summit would be superfluous—an ascent of a 4th-class rubble gully that would only taint the quality of the climbing we’d done. Plus, we were freezing. We named our route in memory of our friend Todd; our 2006 attempt was his last sojourn into the mountains of his youth. With pitches of 5.10, 5.11, 5.12, 5.12 and 5.11, it ranks as one of the Wind Rivers’ hardest climbs.