Classic Wind River climb! Incredibly consistent, classic, sustained (at the grade) backcountry climbing in the west. Classic enough that it made the 50 classicly crowded climbs book, so expect parties to be in the area vying for the early slot. Be prepared to start early anyway to avoid afternoon t-storms that one can't see until they come over the formation from the southwest. You'll see what the fuss is over, though, with the great views, exposure, and beautiful climbing that every pitch offers. Route finding skills will be put to the test in a couple key locations, and retreat after the first 300 feet will be a challenge.
Head up the 3rd class ramp that heads toward the sloping ledge system, traverse and/or downclimb to reach the ledge, thinking about the 2nd as you place gear. Belay just past the ledge where good pro presents itself in the left leaning ramp that leads to the dihedral with a prominent roof.
Climb the dihedral, either belaying below or after the roof.
Climb a long pitch, starting first right, then back left to a fun 5.8 crack and belay.
Ascend the left leaning system of ledges and dihedral cracks for at least 2 pitches (even with a 60m). The Kelsey topo forgets how long this section is. Going right early will end in a dead end.
Do finally head right with some spaced pro up the ledges until the 5.8 flare and 5.9 3" variation become unmistakable back to the left. Struggle up the flare to easier ground and belay left at the ledge.
Continue leftward, past a large flake and up to belay at the base of a crack leading to a chimney continue up or step again left and continue the crack system to for a long pitch and belay.
Head up to the base of either of two chimney systems. Another pitch up either of the chimney sections leads to the east ledges platform.
Another pitch awaits to the upper summit. Ascend to the top, then make a short rappel to gain the summit proper.
Walk/scramble over then down the 3rd class gully to the south to reach the South Face/K cracks rappels (two ropes recommended) 3 or 4 raps lead to the ledge that heads further left to the South Buttress descent.
Cirque of the Towers. Find trails at the north side of the lake at the base, hike left of stream into rock field and scramble left, left of the prominent base of a gently curving ledge that becomes a long dihedral ending at a roof. Rack up on the low-angle rock, then head left up the 3rd-class ramp. Don't be surprised if the start seems somewhat exposed as you head to the left.
Standard Winds rack, pro to 4" (for the 5.8 flare it's nice to have). Nuts and cams to 1" come in handy, and doubles 1" to 2", one 3", one 4". Little fixed gear, and you probably should prepare to back that up.
This will be 12-13 long pitches with a 50m rope, even though the Kelsey topo shows 11. A 60m rope can conveniently reduce that by 2.
May 26, 2006
Kelsey's topo is completely off. If you wish to adhere to his maxim of minimal, and in this case, incorrect, information ignore this link. Below is a link to Bruce Binder's ( brutusofwyde ) excellent and detailed NE of Pingora topo from SummitPost:
From: Glenwood Springs, CO
Aug 21, 2006
I did this route and thought you could get by without the #4, just bump your #3 camalot (or Equiv) up another foot once you make the move at the crux. I haven't lead anything over 10c trad. Also, on brutus topo from summitpost belay right of where it says to belay for pitch 8 after making the traverse to a much better stance, below the word "flake" on the topo. Sounds complicated but once you are there you will see it.
|By Peter Gram|
From: New York, NY
Aug 29, 2006
I also didn't think the #4 camalot was necessary, or even useful. I think I placed it in an anchor at one point, but never needed it during the wide pitch.
Mar 31, 2007
This is one of the few climbs that wholeheartedly deserves to be in the 50 classics. Superb route. Warning, weather in the Cirque is crazy. No warning when coming.
Mar 21, 2008
Fun climb. My wife & I did this on a 3day weekend from Portland and so I mostly remember the driving :)
Another vote for Brutus' topo on summitpost above (excellent!).
Jun 30, 2008
Anyone been up here yet this year? I am going to try this 4th of July weekend. Any beta on conditions is much aprreciated.
From: Salt Lake City, Utah
Aug 18, 2008
What is the best way to find the rap route off the top of Pingora
|By Matt Stamplis|
From: Boston, MA
Aug 21, 2008
Regarding the rappel: the easiest way down is to reverse the South Buttress. From the summit look out towards Jackass Pass and Warbonnet Peak - you'll be descending in that general direction. Look for a gully marked with a cairn: easy scrambling for a hundred feet or so leads to a ledge with no easy way down. Peak over the edge and look for a slung chockstone. From there, I think the rap stations were all pretty obvious - a single 70m rope worked well (60 reportedly is OK too).
I remember doing 4 rappels or so to reach a good ledge. From here you walk skier's left and follow the cairns as they head down the South Buttress - should be no harder than 2nd/3rd class.
|By Josh Fog|
Aug 8, 2011
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
I got off route on pitch 8. The book was very unspecific about the traverse left into another crack system. I continued up the crack which gets to be thin 5.10 fingers PG-13. The next pitch i went through the wide section that the book tells you to ignore which tops out back on route. This pitch was not bad, fun vedauwoo style wide crack!
From: Boone, NC
Apr 16, 2012
Watch out for mosquitos! Other than that greatest climb I have had the privilege of doing.
Jul 17, 2012
Anyone know exactly (month/date) when the FFA was made?
Mar 9, 2013
stuck to the topo best we could, but im pretty sure we only climbed like 30% of the actual route
|By John Groh|
Aug 30, 2013
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
I think we got off route for 2-3 pitches and encountered climbing in the solid 5.10 range.
Also, don't trust the Bechtel guide. For starters, it incorrectly lists the number of rappels to get off the summit! It also calls the crux pitch of the route 5.6, which is certainly not the case (I only know it was the crux pitch because we ran into a local from Lander exactly there).
Awesome climb, though. Loooooong.
|By Charlie S|
From: Ogden, UT
Jul 26, 2014
Yet another vote for the BrutusOfWyde topo from Summitpost. Between that and studying a number of pictures available online, sticking to the route was easier than expected.
This is a cool route up a cool rock in a very cool setting. I used literally every anchor building technique I'd ever learned on this route. It is not for the budding 5.8 climber. Efficiency and proficiency are key to summiting in a reasonable amount of time.
|By Alex Warren|
From: Duluth, MN
Aug 20, 2014
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
Did it in 8 pitches (including the slab traverse at the bottom and excluding the scramble at the top). Lots of ledges to belay from, so my 2 cents for anyone doing their research is :
1) Stay in the right facing corners. It goes more or less straight up. Don't follow roofs, easy lines, etc. Just climb the right facing corner.
2) Make your pitches super long. My partner and myself would climb until we reached a ledge and had no gear or rope left. Did it with a double and had no problems. I mean, if you're here to climb then climb a bunch!
|By Bill Lawry|
From: New Mexico
4 days ago
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Regarding the crux pitch 7:
For most, it will seem clear which of several cracks is the "5.8 wide" option (i.e., the one on the far left).
There seems to be some question in the community regarding which of the other cracks is the 5.9 variation shown in most topos out there (e.g., the SummitPost.org topo ).
See this Photo for more discussion.