Mt. Hooker, Jaded Lady, first one-day, all-free ascent
Wyoming, Wind River Range
Josh Wharton and I, along with photographer John Dickey, made a 10-day horse-packing trip to Mt. Hooker, starting from Big Sandy. We first attempted a new route on the east face of Hooker, a sub-wall on the left shoulder; however, we bailed at a seemingly unprotectable headwall, which would have required hard aid and bolts.
Shifting gears, on August 26 we started climbing at first light up Jaded Lady in “rope, rack, shirt on your back” style. [In 1990, Paul Piana, Galen Rowell, Todd Skinner, and Tim Toula did the first free ascent of Mt. Hooker’s north face, at 5.12a, via a long variation to Shady Lady/Original Route, which they called Jaded Lady.] We topped out that afternoon in a misty rain, having met our goal to do the first one-day ascent with leader and follower freeing every pitch. Jaded Lady is one of the best alpine/big-wall free routes I have ever climbed, with marble-like rock and varied climbing.
It’s worth noting that on the third pitch, a green 5.11 arête protected by bolts, all the bolts are old and rusty, and some are totally worthless. Thankfully, someone had added a new 3/8-inch bolt to the anchor. (There were some other bad bolts on the route, but nothing as bad as the third pitch.) We feel there are five or so pitches in the 5.10 to 5.12 range that warrant an R rating. We climbed the route in 13 pitches; the topo shows 16.