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Crampons needed for Cirque of Towers climbs?

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Crampons needed for Cirque of Towers climbs?

Postby WoundedKnee » Wed Aug 03, 2011 2:49 am

Hi,

Flying out tomorrow to the Cirque, and I've heard crampons might be necessary for approaches to Wolf's Head, Shark's Nose, etc. Anyone been up there recently? Thanks in advance!
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Re: Crampons needed for Cirque of Towers climbs?

Postby b. » Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:21 pm

I've been up there several times in August and never needed them for the climbs that you mention. With that said, this year we have significantly more snow up high than I've ever seen this late in the summer. The bugs and the approaches might be a month or more behind schedule. So while I don't have specific beta for you, I'd lean towards bringing them. You might get more recent, specific info in Pinedale or even at the trailhead that will let you leave em in the car.
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Re: Crampons needed for Cirque of Towers climbs?

Postby marauders » Thu Aug 04, 2011 12:34 am

Sorry, no recent observations for me either, but from past experience I'd say crampons won't be necessary. I few years back I went there in late-July during a high snow pack year and the approaches surrounding Cirque Lake were all still snow covered (with the exception of the south buttress on Pingora, which was dry). The snow pack received minimal overnight refreeze. We approached Wolf's Head, etc. with axes and found that the snow was soft enough to kick good steps. I'd recommend an axe at least.

Also note, if you plan to climb Wolf's Head, the snowfield above the grassy ledges was still large and melting considerable water onto the ledges. They were so wet, we opted to approach up Tiger Tower gully (4th class on the right of Tiger Tower) and found the approach to be simple, fast and dry. The rap from the top of Tiger Tower onto the East Ridge of Wolf's Head was simple and straight forward.
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Re: Crampons needed for Cirque of Towers climbs?

Postby bearbnz » Sun Aug 14, 2011 3:19 am

Anyone been in the Cirque recently? Heading in there in just over a week, wondering about snow conditions.
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Re: Crampons needed for Cirque of Towers climbs?

Postby WoundedKnee » Sun Aug 14, 2011 3:52 pm

Thanks B and marauders for the replies.

For some reason I had a brain fart and didn't pack an ice axe - we didn't attempt Wolf's Head. Pingora is clear, still a big snowfield under Wolf's Head as of Aug 7. We heard varying accounts from parties that had been up there - one party said ice axes were essential, but we did meet a team that attempted Wolf's Head with no axe or crampons - and we didn't hear any negative reports.

Mosquitos are terrible in the Cirque right now.
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Re: Crampons needed for Cirque of Towers climbs?

Postby hubix » Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:02 pm

We did Wolfs Head this Friday and didn't use an Ice axe.
To avoid the snowfield before the grassy ledges we went to the shoulder of Pingora, maybe 100 feet below the start of Pingora's South Buttress. To get to the shoulder of Pingora and Tiger Tower we traversed a small ledge to some rappel anchors. (We did a short pitch, others soloed it) The rappel brings you to the gully between Pingora and Tiger Tower. From there it's 4th class to the top of Tiger tower. And another short rappel brings you to the base of Wolfs Head.

But I think the snowfield below the grassy ledges will become negotiable without an ice axe in a few days.
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Re: Crampons needed for Cirque of Towers climbs?

Postby Misha » Wed Aug 17, 2011 7:24 am

bearbnz wrote:Anyone been in the Cirque recently? Heading in there in just over a week, wondering about snow conditions.


Hey Barry - Etsuko and I will be in the Winds next week :)
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