We were made aware of this climb by referencing a page noting that Sawtooth Mountain Guides Drew and Marc had pioneered this climb. We had climbed on nearby Howard (Mustang) Peak and new the potential. The climb was rated 5.8 III (10 pitches). There's lots of 4th to easy 5th, but with 2000 feet of roped climbing, this was enticing. After an early start we parked near a mine in Wildhorse Canyon and steeply climbed until we found a climbers(?) trail into the beautiful basin near Lake 9238.
At Lake 9238, we debated on how to get onto the NE ridge. We decided on a prominent chimney on the right (north side). A little bit of snow at the base was bypassed and we were roped up. The first pitch goes up slabs and ledges with the only pro on the inside of the dihedral. The climbing goes from 5.4 to 4th class and we simul-climbed up to a prominent notch.
At the notch we climbed up and onto the toe of the ridge. The rock was really solid and at this point we were directly above the First pitch. Even with long runners, we had really bad rope drag here because we turned a corner. At the top of this pitch (which was above a steep snow/scree gully) we decided to leave the ridge proper (Sky Pilot continues faithful to the ridge). We traversed out onto the steep and smooth east slabs (5.5) above the head wall. The next pitch (5.7) took us steeply to the East Ridge.
On the East Ridge we were confronted with an intimidating looking vertical crack. The climbing was easy, it took gear nicely and the rock was solid (5.7). We decided that this was the best pitch of the route. The next pitch was similar, but required more balance and traversing. And to keep it really interesting, a large loose block to skirt (5.7).
The 10th and last pitch starts 4th class along an exposed ridge, but requires a few tricky (5.7) moves to get to the summit. Once we gained the summit we found a register with Baugher naming this peak "Rearing Stallion" and "no sign of previous ascent. Also in the log were the Sawtooth Mountain Guides and a group of scramblers. The summit was infested with ladybugs, which seems common in theses parts.
The descent off the south was typical time consuming boulder hopping and navigating around cliff bands. We reached an amazing meadow where we had great views of Mustang Peak. Near 8800 feet we found a cairn marked trail that traversed up easily back north and to the mouth of our original canyon above the mine. We retraced our steps and made it back to the car. It was 12hrs car to car for us.
Overall this was a great climb and variation and we were also able to scope a nearby 5.7-5.8 climb called SteppenWolf (courtesy of the SMG).
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