How many here have climbed Wolf's Head in the Winds?

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hobo_dan

Social climber
Minnesota
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 2, 2013 - 09:40am PT
I just bumped the Pingora Thread and I was thinking that Wolfs Head needs some air time. The arete leading to the summit towers is one of the most beautiful places I've ever climbed.

Todd Gordon

Trad climber
Joshua Tree, Cal
Feb 2, 2013 - 10:21am PT
1977
Jennie

Trad climber
Elk Creek, Idaho
Feb 2, 2013 - 10:25am PT
The easr ridge is a classic...outstanding photo opportunities and great granite.
drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Feb 2, 2013 - 10:31am PT
Love the way the route winds in and out of the towers and those fun exposed traverse sections.
Definitely a memorable climb.
kpinwalla2

Social climber
WA
Feb 2, 2013 - 10:35am PT
Did it in the early 80's. Got chased off the top by an approaching thunderstorm. Never moved so fast over such steep terrain in my life...
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Feb 2, 2013 - 10:49am PT
One of my early technical climbs in 67 or 68.....loved it!
mcreel

climber
Barcelona
Feb 2, 2013 - 12:25pm PT
Yow! a great climb.
mhay

climber
Reno, NV
Feb 2, 2013 - 12:29pm PT
Great photo Todd Gordon. Did this route in 2000. Still remember that short, runout slab/arete section at the beginning of the arete.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 2, 2013 - 12:40pm PT
I don't have any photos of us on the climb, but did it in 1997
a memorable climb, and the best moderate ridge climb in North America...
the first pitch is an awesome uphill plank walk with tremendous exposure, and technically easy but very heady

recall having to wait out a quickly passing thunderstorm hiding out in the big blocks on the ridge





a wonderful place to climb
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Feb 2, 2013 - 12:48pm PT
East Ridge variation, mid-seventies

Credit: rgold
John Butler

Social climber
SLC, Utah
Feb 2, 2013 - 12:58pm PT
There's a lot of rock up there...

photo not found
Missing photo ID#287694


photo not found
Missing photo ID#287695
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 2, 2013 - 01:01pm PT
I hate the Winds. The weather has sucked every time I've been there.
The only good day we had on one trip we spent hauling some crispy critter
off of Wolf's Head.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Feb 2, 2013 - 01:07pm PT
I did Wolf's Head back in the early 70s.

I have a great set of slides buried in the box...

The climb itself was dreamy but Brad Udall and I got a bit lazy on the descent and started rapping down the Cirque Lake side for some extended play!

Fortunately we weren't the first! LOL
WyoRockMan

Trad climber
Flank of the Bighorns
Feb 2, 2013 - 01:15pm PT
Magical.
Magical.
Credit: WyoRockMan
The 5.2 "Sidewalk" pitch. Nice exposure to both sides.
The 5.2 "Sidewalk" pitch. Nice exposure to both sides.
Credit: WyoRockMan
Parts of it feel like caving.
Parts of it feel like caving.
Credit: WyoRockMan
Abundant Type 1 fun.
Abundant Type 1 fun.
Credit: WyoRockMan
The classic "piton" traverse. Airy!
The classic "piton" traverse. Airy!
Credit: WyoRockMan
The fun never stops.
The fun never stops.
Credit: WyoRockMan
Bombtastic!
Bombtastic!
Credit: WyoRockMan


What a jewel of a place!
mcreel

climber
Barcelona
Feb 2, 2013 - 01:25pm PT
Great shots, thanks! Those bring back the memories. Anyone else catch fish up there? We got quite a few.

It's true that the weather in the Winds can be variable. Once I spent the better part of a week holed up in a tent in Upper Titcomb Valley. Did Helen and Sacajawea in brief breaks, but mostly got rained and snowed on.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 2, 2013 - 01:29pm PT
Alpine mountaineering means learning to deal with weather... if you don't like weather, climb in California (we seemed to have minimized it...)
drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Feb 2, 2013 - 01:31pm PT
Nice shots!
I think everyone has a picture of that waterfall!

Grossman- My pardner and I were downclimbing the descent that goes off the backside there until I finally called out in favor of rapping.
I had to use a carabiner brake, as I had dropped my belay device(only time in my life) earlier at the start of the piton traverse.

Once we made it to the Col, I had my one and only "mountain meltdown"- scared shitless having never descended a couloir before, much less in old five tennies. My pardner basically tele turned down the chute in his approach shoes and smoked a cig at the bottom, laughing at me as I tried to pull my sh!t together and descend.
I finally decided my nut tool would suffice to self arrest if I got out of control glissading, which I did, and it didn't.
I ended up clawing at the corn with my bare hands to try and slow down. When I got to the bottom it was as if my finger nails had grown a quarter inch!
Classic desert rat meets alpine situation!
The hike back to camp was awesome, through a gauntlet of falling ice stationwagons sliding off of slabs high on the flanks of Wolfs Head.

Chipped a bunk tooth on the summit, too, from some pinche nut in my energy bar.
Good times!

Edit-
perfect weather for a week!
Kalimon

Trad climber
Ridgway, CO
Feb 2, 2013 - 01:32pm PT
Nice photos everyone!

I had the good fortune of climbing Wolf's Head with Kim Grandfield back in the early 1980's. The previous day we climbed Pingora's NE face. Excellent routes, excellent partner and excellent weather . . . special experience.
Roadie

Trad climber
Bishop, Ca
Feb 2, 2013 - 01:41pm PT
Great picts and memories. I linked Pingora and Wolfshead about eight years ago and got chased off the top by lightnigh, really scarry lightning!
Went back a few years later and did a route on the south face which was mid 5.10 and also quite good.
Yeah, its too bad that between the bugs and the weather the season in the Winds is about three weeks. But then maybe thats part of what makes it special.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Feb 2, 2013 - 02:10pm PT
Compared with wrestling warm desert stone, alpine rock climbing always seems to turn into a prize fight at some point. LOL

Desert Rats On Ice is usually pretty entertaining.

On a Minarets trip long ago, Mike Strassman and I had to negotiate a bit of firm snow to cross the pass to put up a new route on Michaels Minaret. I went first carefully and got to sit and watch as the Hell Jar descended on Mike. He had a rock in one hand and a Yo hammer in the other and visions of doom on the screen. He was hugging that slope and scratching and clawing so much that I HAD to start ribbing him. The funniest part of the whole scene was that his faithful golden dog, Denali was standing right next to him offering support the entire time such was the inclination of his horror!
Roadie

Trad climber
Bishop, Ca
Feb 2, 2013 - 02:26pm PT
Hey Steve G.
I don't know if you remember me but we sat together at Jay Smith's wedding dinner.
Geeze, I feel like you could have almost been talking about me there!
Last spring i was down climbing some so so snow comming down from Bear Creek Spire- and rather gripped i might add- my faithful dog took me out in her joy at our reunion. I went for a hundred-footer. I took her with me. Now she gives me a little more space on steep snow.
Morgan

Trad climber
East Coast
Feb 2, 2013 - 05:31pm PT
1988. Stellar granite. What's up with the lines on Wolf's Head, that face towards Warbonnet. Didn't Greg Collins and some other folks put some good stuff up there?
Roadie

Trad climber
Bishop, Ca
Feb 2, 2013 - 05:54pm PT
There are maybe a half dozen routes on the south face. I can't remember which one we did. It was way left of the Becky route. I do remember we raped down Collins' route [storm] while he was working it. It starts on the Becky route, and follos it for several hundred feet. Then there is s body length or two of what looks like very hard slab [stick clippeble] into a pitch or two of great looking 5.11ish fingers. It seems like about 75% of the climbing was on Freds line but its been a long time...
Crump

Social climber
Lakewood, CO
Feb 2, 2013 - 05:57pm PT
Solo-ed back in the early '90s with a video camera...

https://vimeo.com/23876978
boomin

Trad climber
vermont
Feb 2, 2013 - 06:06pm PT
August 1978. Used the Bonney and Bonney guide. Smoked it. Feeling hot we upped the ante the next day and did Warbonnet NE face. Route finding probs, this way, no, this way, lets try that way. Burning daylight and the grip was creeping higher. Then the storm. Let's see, on NE face, storms from SW. Yep, So when someone says Wolf's Head I think I hear Warbonnet and the hair on the back of my neck stands up.
Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 2, 2013 - 06:17pm PT
Did Wolfshead in 1964, 3 days before we did the 1st ascent of Pingora's north face. Got some slides somewhere. I'll dig them out.
norm larson

climber
wilson, wyoming
Feb 2, 2013 - 06:36pm PT
Many times. It's a fun route where the summit is just a tiny part of the reason to climb it. One of my most memorable climbs on the east ridge was years ago in early June when I was guiding it. Anything that was slightly out of the sun still had a full load of winter snow and ice. Made for some pretty exciting 5.6. It was a great day of very alpine rock climbing. Done 3 routes on the south face and the rock there is about perfect. It seems someone epics on the descent route more days than not in August. Don't rap down the big chimney on the south side! Made that mistake myself, but only once.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Feb 2, 2013 - 06:41pm PT
I remember you Roadie.
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
Panorama City, California & living in Seattle
Feb 2, 2013 - 07:27pm PT
I went there with Larry Reynolds in 1968. It was very cool cruising across the desert in his blue Camaro listening to classical tunes. We met Bud Couch there and we all climbed Pingora and Wolf's Head. I was all of 16 years old!

Things other than the climbing that I clearly remember; I thought it was weird that Bud carried a can of Right Guard Spray in.......must have been to keep the bears away. And, on the approach in, a young guy came out of the woods and asked to borrow one of our ropes - he wanted to lasso a deer because he was starving he said, said he was on one of those Outward Bondage or NOLS trips. Was a great trip we had - sorry no pics on this end.
John Butler

Social climber
SLC, Utah
Feb 2, 2013 - 09:00pm PT
I hate the Winds. The weather has sucked every time I've been there.

Speaking of weather... it's been shady and 55 to 65 degrees in the gym this Winter

:-)
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Feb 2, 2013 - 09:06pm PT
Weather in the Winds...Cali climbers spoiled and softened by the Sierra Summers. Oops, I first met Reilly in Seattle.
BMcC

Trad climber
Livermore
Feb 2, 2013 - 09:15pm PT
Nice pics!

With excellent weather in the summer of 2002.
OldEric

Trad climber
Westboro, MA
Feb 2, 2013 - 10:28pm PT
I did. ~1991
TWP

Trad climber
Mancos, CO
Feb 2, 2013 - 10:57pm PT
In 1976 at the Climber's Ranch in the Tetons, two climbers raved about this great route they had just done in the Cirque of the Towers on the East Ridge of Wolf's Head. With little more than this verbal beta, my partner Paul Bell, an Englishman on a two-year trip around the world, hiked into the cirque and we climbed this fantastic route.

Memories of this fine climb and the Cirque made we want to return to the Winds every season but I didn't make it back until 1999. With my llamas carrying loads over Jackass Pass, a party of four made it to the Cirque. I repeated this route with Crystal Davis. She went on to make some great first ascents and bold climbs in Patagonia. On our way out, we passed a ranger who asked where we had been. We told him we had crossed Jackass pass with llamas. He congratulated us, saying we were the first party to do so. (This was not true, but I did not correct him; other llameros had beaten me to this "first." I repeated a crossing of Jackass Pass with llamas in August 2012.

Now that I'm thinking about this great climb, I wonder why not climb it again this summer?

Pingora and Wolf's Head East Ridge from another summit within the Cirq...
Pingora and Wolf's Head East Ridge from another summit within the Cirque
Credit: TWP
TheLittleUnit

Trad climber
Cambridge, MA (formerly) SF Bay Area
Feb 18, 2013 - 11:39pm PT
Best camping in the world
Best camping in the world
Credit: TheLittleUnit

Pingora and Wolf's Head
Pingora and Wolf's Head
Credit: TheLittleUnit

Yep, that's me. Photo courtesy of jsb
Yep, that's me. Photo courtesy of jsb
Credit: TheLittleUnit
Neesh

Trad climber
Connecticut
Feb 19, 2013 - 03:32am PT
Climbed it last August. One of my favorite climbs i've ever done. Not only the amazing climb, the beautiful scenery, awesome approach into the cirque, the prime camping locations, and we were lucky to have perfect weather the whole week. Can't wait to go back one day!
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Feb 19, 2013 - 05:05am PT
I climbed Wolf's Head and Pingora in 1981. I went back to the Cirque a couple of years back whilst hiking the Highline Trail. I took a short rope and a few nuts with me so I could do Wolf's Head again with my wife. In the event we woke up to a light layer of snow and cold temps so didn't do it, just carried on with our hike. However, someone asked me later how I was intending to get off the route afterwards with such a short (25m) rope. Well, I have absolutely no recollection of rapping off it in 1981. I thought I'd just continued traversing until I could scramble back down left into the Cirque. Is this possible? Could I have done this or did my brain just wipe rapping from my memory? Thanks.

Jackass pass mid September 2007.
Jackass pass mid September 2007.
Credit: jaaan

Menacing skies over Wolf's Head and Pingora, mid September 2007.
Menacing skies over Wolf's Head and Pingora, mid September 2007.
Credit: jaaan

In contrast with TheLittleUnit's idyllic camping photo.
In contrast with TheLittleUnit's idyllic camping photo.
Credit: jaaan

Walking up out of the Cirque to Texas Pass.
Walking up out of the Cirque to Texas Pass.
Credit: jaaan
Alpamayo

Trad climber
Chapel Hill, NC
Feb 19, 2013 - 09:33am PT
Credit: Alpamayo
Credit: Alpamayo
Credit: Alpamayo
One of my most memorable climbs!
ddriver

Trad climber
SLC, UT
Feb 19, 2013 - 11:12am PT
Couple times, first time with Crump and his video camera, second time without. Have descended the rap chimney and the backside mostly walk-off. Left a pin on the "walk-off." I'd recommend doing the "walk-off" over the chimney.

Credit: ddriver
climber bob

Social climber
maine
Feb 19, 2013 - 12:18pm PT
http://legacy.climbing.com/news/hotflashes/windrivers06/
wbw

Trad climber
'cross the great divide
Feb 19, 2013 - 12:37pm PT
That climb is really memorable. And no, in general the weather in the Winds is not bad. Not that I haven't spent a fair amount of time in the tent there listening to rain or snow on the top of the tent. Typical weather is afternoon thunderstormy, like almost all mountain ranges, but sustained good weather is common during the summer months.
Branscomb

Trad climber
Lander, WY
Feb 19, 2013 - 12:48pm PT
1991. Really nice climb and quite fun.
GoMZ

Trad climber
Eastern Sierra
Feb 19, 2013 - 02:56pm PT
I had the pleasure of climbing the east ridge this summer. An incredibly memorable climb, I'd be hard pressed to think of a better climb of it's grade anywhere. Can't wait to go back the winds!
Wolf's head
Wolf's head
Credit: GoMZ
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Feb 20, 2013 - 07:20am PT
I'm not sure if ddriver's post was in part replying to my question about the descent from Wolf's Head - apologies if it was. So here it is again:

I have absolutely no recollection of rapping off it in 1981. I thought I'd just continued traversing until I could scramble back down left into the Cirque. Is this possible? Could I have done this or did my brain just wipe rapping from my memory? Thanks.
ddriver

Trad climber
SLC, UT
Feb 20, 2013 - 09:38am PT
I'm not sure if ddriver's post was in part replying to my question about the descent from Wolf's Head - apologies if it was. So here it is again:

I have absolutely no recollection of rapping off it in 1981. I thought I'd just continued traversing until I could scramble back down left into the Cirque. Is this possible? Could I have done this or did my brain just wipe rapping from my memory? Thanks.

It was not, but I did notice your question after I posted. The Kelsey guide describes a walk-off descent off the back so you're in the East Fork drainage briefly, skirting left near the ridgeline and into a saddle for the walk back into the cirque. We did that descent but found it had a couple steep loose sections that had some rap slings in a couple spots, which we backed up. You may have found a bit easier route, maybe closer to the ridge, or just felt more comfortable with the downclimb.
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Feb 20, 2013 - 10:20am PT
Thanks. My other memory of it in 1981 was that when we arrived and set up our tent, we saw a group of maybe four or five women, coming down from the Pingora Wolf's Head col. They said they'd been worried about storms and so had bailed. Despite blue sky weather, they walked out that afternoon. The next day we collected nuts and biners and slings off every belay - almost a whole rack but with no-one to return it to!
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