American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Wyoming—Wind Rivers, Broken Hand Pinnacle, Southwest Buttress

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1964

Broken Hand Pinnacle, Southwest Buttress. From our camp on the east side of Scott Lake, Ed Exum, Pete Koedt and I set out on September 12 at 8:00 A.M. to climb the 2500-foot buttress to whatever peak lay above. Although not completely sure what we were climbing as the topographic map here is full of discrepancies, we decided to climb just west of the huge crack that separates the buttress. An easy ledge brought us to the first pitch, an awkward traverse followed by 130 feet of steep climbing on small holds. We then turned right to a wide platform at the base of a slightly overhanging chimney. Exum led this ill-protected and difficult pitch. Above this we climbed over 300 feet of friction slabs and steep ledges on excellent rock. Koedt led the next pitch, a balance move to the left, then up a slab to a crack between the two huge ceilings prominent from Scott Lake. Here the climbing eased to 4th class and the top of the buttress was quickly gained. We traversed numerous towers of enjoyable climbing including an easy but horribly spectacular traverse on the dead-vertical wall of the third tower. At 3:30 we reached the summit of the last pinnacle before a notch and the gentle talus of Desolation Peak. We descended westward over easy rock to Scott Lake. Wells Creek above Three Forks Park has previously been mentioned as an impossible or impractical method of gaining Scott Lake. However, the canyon can be reasonably ascended via a deep notch and couloir cut by the creek itself. The 1000-foot couloir consists of steep and often loose boulder scrambling. This ends at Many Bug Lake just west of the larger Scott Lake.

William A. Read

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