Peaks Climbed: Sharks Nose & Overhanging Tower

Peak Heights: 12,229' / 12,164'

Route: NW Buttress / W Face

Difficulty: 5.6

Location: Wind River Range, Wyoming

Trailhead: Big Sandy

Mileage & Gain: 2 mi & 2,400 ft RT from camp

Date Climbed: August 22, 2020

Sharks Nose is the three-pinnacled tower rising directly west of Cirque Lake. The name comes from its much more awe-inspiring appearance from Shadow Lake on the opposite side. Sharks Nose is most often climbed from the Cirque of the Towers, but approaching from Shadow Lake certainly gives one a much deeper appreciation for this unique and formidable formation (as well as a bit of solitude).

After spending a week in the Cirque, Marc and I backpacked over Texas Pass and had the southeast side of Shadow Lake to ourselves. There is no official trail over Texas Pass, but the route is very heavily used and it's easy to stay on track.

The approach to the climb from this side was less pleasant than I was expecting. It covers 1500 feet in 2/3 of a mile and includes some boulder hopping, a lot of steep grass, and finally the rubbly gully that leads to the Sharks Nose/Overhanging Tower col. There is a grungy 5th class boulder problem to overcome high in the gully that was conveniently sporting a rap anchor. The Northwest Buttress route starts at a ledge system well below the col, which is fortunate because the gully gets gnarly higher up.

We roped up at the base of the 4th class ledge system leading out of the gully and climbed the route in five pitches. This line is known for its somehat difficult routefinding, but it was fairly easy to stay on track using the description we had along. The advertised crux is a short, awkward "5.6" crack, but I found the final runout slab pitch much more intimidating. Luckily Marc is a slab man :)

The descent more or less rappels the route, a single rope being sufficient. Once back in the gully we scrambled around and up to the top of neighboring Overhanging Tower before making a quick exit back down to camp at Shadow Lake.

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