Peak Climbed: Wolfs Head

Peak Height: 12,163'

Route: East Ridge

Difficulty: 5.6

Location: Wind River Range, Wyoming

Trailhead: Big Sandy

Mileage & Gain: 5 mi & 2,000 ft RT from camp

Date Climbed: August 16, 2020

The East Ridge of Wolfs Head is probably the most popular route in the Cirque of the Towers, and that's saying something in this granite wonderland. I'd climbed Wolf's Head my first time in the Cirque with Dominic back in 2012, but it seemed like a good place to start on a recent nine day return trip with Marc who had never been there before.

There are two ways to reach the start of the East Ridge. Last time Dominic and I used what is known as the grassy ledges approach. When dry it is apparently just a scramble, however it was early season and climbing the dripping wet, exposed, grassy ledges was an unpleasant experience. We had to rope up and this ended up being the crux of the climb. Naturally this time I wanted to check out the other option, going up and over "Tiger Tower", a minor summit between Pingora and Wolfs Head. We managed the upclimb pretty comfortably unroped and the two short rappels off the other side went quickly. I would choose this approach if I came back again.

The ridge begins as a narrow but comfy, low-angle, 400+ foot, easy 5th class ramp which lends itself well to simulclimbing - I've done this as a single pitch both times and it works very well. Then the ridge sort of levels out and things start to get exciting. Four highly exposed traverses below the crest are required to bypass large, fierce gendarmes - these lend themselves well to short, belayed pitches. The route feels tougher than its 5.6 rating, but it seemed a whole lot more casual this time around.

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