This has always been one of my favorite routes due to its position, exposure and level of adventure. Here on the second pitch of the west Spire, the top of the climb ends at a small pinnacle just big enough for two people to run the rope through a bolted anchor and rappel the south side of the formation.
The first pitch, though it may have been changed by now, was a runout affair on rusty ring bolts and pitons. The first pitch ends at a notch between the two spires and then the face and slab climbing begins along the left edge and continues to the top. I’m not sure how many times I’ve done this climb – at least once per trip – so at least six times – and it’s always been fun.
How do you know when you’ve had one of the best climbing trips of your life? The answer is that you don’t, until years later when you look back and realize that the experience you had, the people you spent it with, and the lessons you learned have filtered over into the everything else you will later become.
The year was 2006 and Jerel and I ventured to the Wind River Range in Wyoming to climb Pingora Spire. It was a 12 mile hike in to the Cirque of the Towers. We lucked out with the mosquitos as they weren’t bad – I remember hearing horror stories about a particular time of year when they are out in full force but thankfully we avoided that. The camping was idyllic, positioned in a green meadow and close to a waterfall. Overall the climb went well. I think the route was some made up version of the east side and never got harder than 5.7ish. Overall it was a good time and left plenty of ideas in my mind about returning to do more climbing there.
I’m quickly realizing that the dates are hard to pinpoint sometimes because even though the digital file gives a particular date that doesn’t mean it was taken then.
This is one from 2000 ( I think) – it wasn’t long after Lisa and I met. We went out to Alabama and toured around some climbing areas. This is one from Sand Rock. I’m top-belaying here (and safely taking the picture). The rock here is impeccable sandstone with cool features. And while the climbing was great the area had an urban park feel because of graffiti.
I’m going back through my archives of photos to do some individual photo postings along with a short (or maybe in some cases long) blurb about the picture; who, what, where, when, etc.
So we’ll kick it off with this one from 1997 (I think) from a month long climbing trip to Alberta and British Columbia. There were a number of highlights to the trip but one of the best was climbing in the Bugaboos. Here’s one from the approach to the Conrad Kain Hut which is situated in the heart of the mountains and serves as base camp for daily outings. I have a few pictures from this trip but not nearly enough. Here Andy Magness and I pause to capture a rare slide-film moment on the way in. The photo is a bit washed out (over-exposed) and I’m pretty sure I did some contrast and color correction after scanning the original (back in 2004).
Notice the size of the glacier in the background! I wonder if this glacier is half as large as it used to be.