The Sphinx & Mount Woodrow Wilson

July 31, 2009

A fun scramble followed by an out of condition couloir climb

Dinwoody Glacier

Mount Helen

Mount Helen at sunrise. The striking couloir is a popular route to the summit.

Gannett Peak in early morning

Alpenglow on Mount Woodrow Wilson

Approaching Mount Woodrow Wilson from Titcomb Basin. The south couloir is the thin finger of snow in the center of the photo. It is partially melted out and obviously not in ideal climbing condition.

SE finger of Dinwoody Glacier

Mount Sacagawea

Mount Sacagawea as seen from near the Sphinx Glacier above Titcomb Basin.

The Sphinx & Mount
Woodrow Wilson

The Sphinx - Mount Woodrow Wilson Col

Adam standing on a hogsback feature near the edge of the Sphinx Glacier. The low point in the center of the photo is the col between The Sphinx (right) and Mount Woodrow Wilson.

Turret Peak & Mount

Mount Woodrow Wilson from Sphinx Glacier

Mount Woodow Wilson as seen from the Sphinx Glacier. From this angle you can really see how the deeply inset south couloir splits the mountain in two. The summit is on the left.

Climb to Elsie Col

The Sphinx's NW ridge

Teresa scrambling up the northwest ridge of The Sphinx. Guidebooks suggested that the ridge contained "a few 5th class pitches" but we found it to be a fun 3rd & 4th class scramble with a couple of 5.0 moves. We all felt comfortable climbing up and down unroped.

Start of Turret Peak's west ridge

Mount Woodrow Wilson from The Sphinx

Mount Woodow Wilson is an interesting spectacle when viewed from The Sphinx's northwest ridge.

Mount Warren

Teresa on the NW ridge

Teresa high on The Sphinx's northwest ridge. Spectacular scenery abounds. "Pinnacle Ridge" (left) and Gannett Peak (right) can be seen in the background. 

Deep snow on Little Bear's NW Face

Nearing summit of The Sphinx

Adam and Dominic cruising easy terrain near the summit fo The Sphinx.

Scrambling on Turret Peak

"Pinnacle Ridge"

"Pinnacle Ridge" as seen from The Sphinx. The previous day we used the broad couloir on the right side to access the summit.

Scrambling on Turret Peak

Dominic descending The Sphinx

Dominic climbing down The Sphinx's northwest ridge.

Scrambling on Turret Peak

Pinnacle on The Sphinx's NW ridge

Dominic scrambling past an interesting pinnacle on The Sphinx's northwest ridge.

Scrambling on Turret Peak

Sphinx Glacier

Adam and Teresa crossing the Sphinx Glacier on the way to Mount Woodrow Wilson. Bonney & Bonney warned that the Sphinx Glacier was heavily crevassed and dangerous but we found this to not be the case. Any crevasses were buried and the glacier was easily negotiated.

Climbing Turret Peak

The Sphinx

The Sphinx as seen from Sphinx Glacier. The northwest ridge is on the left.

Climbing Turret Peak

West side of Mount Woodrow Wilson

Adam and Teresa traversing around to the west side of Mount Woodrow Wilson in search of the west couloir.

First roped pitch

Investigating the west couloir

Adam traversing steep snow to get a look up the west couloir. He reported that it looked like a fairly serious snow climb, one which we probably weren't prepared for with our aluminum crampons and mountaineering axes. We chose to go back and attempt the south couloir.

Jim on first pitch

Starting up the south couloir

Adam leading up into the south couloir. We climbed very loose 4th class rock on the right side as the couloir was totally melted out at the bottom.

Regaining the ridge crest

Loose scrambling in the south couloir

Teresa carefully scrambling up the melted out lower portion of the south couloir.

Starting the crux pitch

Adam at top of first pitch

Adam belaying Dominic at the top of the first pitch.

Snowing hard

Crappy snow

Teresa starting up the soft, crappy snow. Ice was lurking underneath making it a bit unnerving in places.

Bailing from Turret Peak's west ridge

Adam climbing up the choss

Adam scrambling up the chossy lower part of the couloir.

Final rappel

More continuous snow higher up

Adam leading up the less than ideal snow in the south couloir. Under good conditions there would be no need to protect this part of the climb.

Second attempt at Turret Peak's west ridge

Teresa climbing up the snow

Teresa and I followed simultaneously tied in about 10 - 15 feet apart.

Climbing the crux pitch

Adam near the top of the couloir

Adam in the upper portion of the couloir. We found some of the softest snow here and did a bit of wallowing.

Jim following up the crux

Gannett Peak

Gannett Peak, the king of the Wind River Range, as seen from the summit of Mount Woodorw Wilson.

Ridge above crux

Titcomb view

View down Titcomb Basin to Titcomb Lakes from Mount Woodrow Wilson. Mount Helen and Mount Sacagawea can be seen on the left..

Climbing Turret Peak

Teresa on the summit ridge

Teresa scrambling up the short summit ridge.

Pitch to south summit

Summit celebration

Teresa and Adam happy to be standing atop another hard earned summit.

The real final pitch

Dominic on the summit ridge

Dominic nearing the summit of Mount Woodrow WIlson.

Jim on the summit

Rappelling the couloir

Dominic beginning a series of four double rope rappels down the south couloir. All hell is about to break loose. An electrical storm soon began and heavy graupel flowed down the couloir. The summit was struck by lightning and some of us felt the shock through the wet rocks we were touching while clipped in to an anchor waiting to rappel.

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