Trip Report
Wind River TR - Cathedral Cirque
Tuesday September 29, 2009 7:09pm
Elle on the FA of Dulce de Lady II 5.9, Cathedral Cirque, Wind Rivers.
Elle on the FA of Dulce de Lady II 5.9, Cathedral Cirque, Wind Rivers.
Credit: adam d

Reposted from

I just rolled back into Lander after a 21 day Backcountry Rock course for NOLS in the Winds and I thought I’d share a bit. I've been working for NOLS for 10 years, but just a course or two each summer. 12 students, average age 18, and 3 instructors, we spent our first 5 days hiking and doing the typical wilderness and leadership curriculum, then got rerationed by horse with 15 days of food and all our climbing equipment just a mile and a half from our climbing base camp in the Cathedral Cirque. As always it was great to see students get excited by the mountains and climbing and gain a lot of skills in a short time.

Hiking in. Pinto Park looking west to the Cirque of the Towers

Looking down at Sanford Park from the High Meadow Lake trail

the Cathedral Buttress. A Royal Robbins route “Orion’s Reflection” (5.9 A2 I believe) goes up the center.

learning to fly fish

got one

our main cragging spot…the Hall of Splitters

Crack technique demo

learning to climb the Wide
she went from not getting off the ground on this thing to sending it clean in a couple days.

A great 5 pitch 10c line “Papa Splitter" Fun for me and another instructor after a full day at the "office"

The Hall of Splitters. Great TR and single pitch climbs on the bottom two tiers with amazing huge ledges. Papa Splitter goes up the rust colored dihedral R of center.

Sometimes you need some natural consequences…after some timeliness issues one morning many folks were just rolling out of bed when we were supposed to be meeting, so we left them in camp for the day and another instructor and I took one student who was on the ball and put up a new 7 pitch 5.9 (mostly 5.7ish) line up the formation opposite our camp. The line we initially tried didn’t go for us so we did a 200’ traverse right on a descending ledge system which led Matt to name the climb “Ramble On”.

mostly good weather but we did get a few quality storms and some accumulating hail

but the sunshine returns

Even at the Hall of Splitters we did find some routes that weren’t amazing cracks

but the cracks…oh the cracks

sometimes we cowered…from bugs, weather or just getting spanked on a route

Another highlight was heading up to do an amazing clean corner multipitch route called Sweet Lady 5.9 with two students. Sweet Lady was wet but my eyes were drawn to the cracks next to the arête to the right. Mostly 5.7-8 cracks with a bit of a spicy 5.9 pitch sting in the tail to exit with rounded cracks, licheny face and some choss. We ended up calling it Dulce de Lady

Getting started

clean cracks


getting to put up a fun 5.9 FA in the backcountry for your first multipitch climb ever…priceless. A little shivering is good too.

the view isn’t bad either

More sweet cracks and good ledges on the arête (sweet lady corner down and right)

summits matter

students on the sharp end at the crag

Hiking out we camped at an amazing waterslide the before hitting the trailhead and getting picked up to head back to Lander

great climbs, great folks, great times in the mountains…

  Trip Report Views: 5,088
adam d
About the Author
adam d is a climber from closer to waves than rock.

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Trad climber
Estes Park, CO
  Sep 30, 2009 - 07:58pm PT
Wow, that place looks really sweet. Is this in the cirque around Upper Cathedral Lake?
adam d

Author's Reply  Oct 1, 2009 - 03:12am PT
just north of Lower Cathedral Lake

Social climber
wherever you go, there you are
  Oct 1, 2009 - 04:08pm PT
Oh awesome, I'd love to do that...
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Oct 17, 2011 - 01:16am PT

Flagstaff/Thousand Oaks
  Nov 18, 2011 - 10:27pm PT
really awesome photos. i was a student on the same course to the same place and this just reminded me how much i need to go back! I got to do 'papa splitter' with one of the instructors and that is definitely an incredible route.

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Nov 18, 2011 - 10:45pm PT

Trad climber
St. Paul, MN
  Apr 3, 2012 - 10:07pm PT
wind river range bump. Awesome trip report.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Apr 3, 2012 - 11:56pm PT
More than awesome!! Those crack look sweet.

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Apr 4, 2012 - 12:40am PT
Thanks for the stories, the photos and the stoke. Great adventures! What a place!

from SoCal
  Apr 4, 2012 - 10:16am PT
Great pictures and TR! Thanks

Mountain climber
Draperderr, Utah
  Apr 9, 2012 - 07:03pm PT
If there's ever a reason to regret never taking a NOLS course, this is it. Talk about a great trip for the students!
adam d

Author's Reply  Apr 9, 2012 - 09:11pm PT
Thanks for the bump. This was the last NOLS course I worked, but I'm headed back to the Winds for another in July. Looking forward to it!

Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
  Apr 9, 2012 - 11:54pm PT

Makes my hands sweat!!
I'm counting the days till my shoulder heals so I can go out and bruise my hands in some cracks.

Trad climber
Central Coast
  Apr 10, 2012 - 01:02am PT
Good times, nice TR. Thanks!

Mammoth Lakes, CA
  Apr 10, 2012 - 11:46am PT
The Hall of Splitters: WOW. Good stuff there Adam!

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Apr 10, 2012 - 08:50pm PT
Looks like an awesome trip!
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
  Apr 10, 2012 - 08:57pm PT
Bad asssssssssss!

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