When approaching the head of Titcomb Basin, this hump-backed peak 1/4 mile SE of Mt. Woodrow Wilson will not draw your attention. However from the east side, it rises dramatically and rather sphinx-like out of the Dinwoody Glacier. If you have climbed Gannett from Titcomb Basin, you walked right past it.
Traversing this peak is one of the most enjoyable rock climbs in the area. It is not difficult (5.4), but the exposure will keep your attention. Plus how many ridges can you climb directly above a real live glacier? Outside of Alaska, Canada or the North Cascades, of course.
This peak could also be listed under the Dinwoody Glacier area, but it is most often climbed from Titcomb Basin.
This route begins from the col between Skyline Peak and the Sphinx. It is much more alpine to approach this col from the Dinwoody Glacier side, which involves glacier travel and crossing a bergschrund. However, I believe we gained the col from the SW (Titcomb Basin).From the col you are faced with a 600 foot high step. Stay left for a pitch, then traverse right back onto the crest. Above the step are several gendarmes that you will have to figure out how to get past. Be sure to yodel to sta...[more]Browse More Classics in WY
Route is accessible from Dinwoody Glacier as well but the glacier is steeper and the bergschrund is much larger than what you encounter coming from Sphinx glacier. Guidebook makes it sound like a slightly harder route than the Sphinx glacier approach but the two are pretty different. We did not encounter any technical obstacles on Sphinx glacier, but did have some minor ones on Dinwoody.
Standard glacier travel equipment does not seem sufficient. In the picture below we're standing on the sphinx/woodrow wilson ridge at a point not much higher than the saddle looking south east. The easiest route up appears to be to the north of the saddle where the schrund narrows. This then requires an exposed traverse south across the glacier to reach the saddle.
We did not feel we were equipped for the traverse (glacier was bone dry, we had no screws and of our four axes only two were technical), so we opted for an alternative on rock that went straight up to the ridge from the schrund. It was straightforward to find a technically trivial route but the rock quality was poor, it was exposed the entire way and was rat infested.
All in all, Dinwoody Glacier route was pretty fun, and if you can make the traverse to the saddle it's definitely the more interesting approach. Assuming you have a light rack and rope for the peak itself, also bring two ice tools and some screws to maximize chances of success.
September 20th, 2012
Bergschrund on Dinwoody Glacier below The Sphinx. Sunbeam peak in background.