Stellar route with sweet views, exposure, and mostly clean rock.
See the description for finding the route to decide which start you want to do. I'll start with P4, but this could be P2 from the traversing start.
P4: 130' r-facing corner (5.8+/5.9) belay below a roof. P5: Traverse right about 10ft. then follow a 5.8 crack that angles back to the left. 160' 5.8 P6: Another small traverse right leads to broken rock and a L-facing corner. Keep going until you are at a ledge below the large R-facing dihedral. P7-8: One of the best pitches of dihedral climbing. Combine this with P8 to make a long, stellar pitch if you have the gear to stretch it. 5.9 long P9: Starts with a chimney that leads to double cracks (see hex master photo). Belay on a nice ledge. 5.8 P10: Continue angling right to a large ledge. 5.7 P11-12: easier climbing to the top.
There are two starts to the route:
Start as for Major Dihedral, but angle down and right after the first belay point over a seam. Then head back up and right over flakes and ledges to the prominent r-facing corner.
A better start in my opinion, is from 3rd class ledges to the right of that dihedral. You'll have to scramble up a bit then traverse out left to the start. The way we did this makes the start PG-13 to R.
Descent: head south down from the tower toward the Center section. Look for a trail of sorts that provides a 4th class descent though grassy ledges. Requires a bit of route finding. The trail/route actually has a name, Grassy Goat Trail.
Standard rack with some extra cams in the hand range.
This was the longest climb I'd ever done, on my first trip to the Wind's in '73. We were using the Bonney guide that called this a 23 pitch 5.7 route. Living in Chicago at the time, the longest climb I'd ever done was a 2 pitch climb in Estes the summer of '72, so the sound of a 23 pitch, 5.7 route was too good to be true.
At least we were Devils' Lake 5.10 climbers at the time, because I thought is was a "bit" harder than 5.7, or it could have been all the bivy gear we were carrying for a 23 pitch climb.
This is still one of my favorite climbs in the Wind's, a true moderate up a perfect face.
Just for your info his name was charlie fowler and he was a bad ass.
By Arlo F Niederer From: Fort Collins, CO Mar 20, 2009 rating: 5.95c17VI17HVS 5a
I've climbed this route about 5 times.
The first time I climbed it was in 1974, and it was called the "Fowler Route" And yes, the Bonney Guide rated it only 5.7, but it was common knowledge among the "locals" (climbers from Rock Springs, Green River, and Pinedale) that there were a few moves of 5.9 on the climb. Don't know why Kelsey decided to rename it to Minor Dihedral.
The 5.9 moves are on the "first" pitch (P4 - most people start the climb via the traverse in on pitch 4). It starts as a crack in a right facing dihedral, the dihedral ends in a finger size crack, which then ends with about 10 feet of 5.9 friction to reach another crack/corner above.
The second stretch of 5.9 is on the first full pitch of the dihedral. There are some thin stemming/thin hands/fingers where the dihedral steepens for about 10 feet.
It's a great route - not too easy and not too hard. Beautiful location and views, and an obvious line once you start the hand crack which leads to the dihedral and continues almost to the summit.
The twin cracks high on the route can be running with water in early season or if there has been a lot of thunderstorm activity.
Descending the grassy goat trail takes a bit of time, so account for that in planning for time. Also, it's quite treacherous when it is wet (parts of it become "streams"), so make sure you are down before afternoon thunderstorms...
Beautiful route. I climbed it on Sunday of a busy Labor Day weekend when there were ~100 cars in the Big Sandy parking lot. We only saw one other party on the route, so it seems to be a good option to avoid crowds in the Cirque.
P4 as described above seemed like the crux. When the crack ends, climb some 5.8/5.9 slab to another thin crack before traversing right. These moves are exciting as gear is below your feet, but the fall would be safe.
We talked to another party that traversed too early and found some scary R/X-rated slab, so be careful where you choose to step right on the traverse. If you're traversing more than 10-15 feet, or if the traverse is harder than 5.7/5.8 you're probably off route.
The corner pitch is awesome. The GGT descent is fast and chill.