Pingora in Cirque of the Towers
The most sought-after summit in the Cirque of the Towers, along with Wolf's Head. This is probably due to its listing in 50 Classic Climbs. Home of the classic Northeast Face route and several other fun moderates. Summitpost.org
has excellent information on Pingora.
People with recent experience climbing on Pingora, please feel free to add information on approaches, descents, etc.
Per Bill Lawry:
I am aware of two full descents: either i) down climb East Ledges with a rap or two or ii) use the better descent near the route South Buttress. The latter is the faster, most direct way of the two and is described below. Also described below is a rap route that gets one towards Tiger Tower and Wolf's Head (e.g., used as part of linking up Pingora with the other two towers).
Southerly Descent To South Shoulder: This descent can be done in four raps with a 60 meter rope if comfortable with some low-fifth-class down climbing (5.6?) - watch rope ends! A 70 meter rope avoids the down climbing. And the last two raps can be combined with double 60 meter ropes - not sure if double 50's will reach. Note that the lower part of this rap descent deviates to skier's right of South Buttress route.
Find the anchor at the top of the "K" cracks of South Buttress route. Rap ~29 meters to the huge ledge and then down climb low fifth class on climber's left for ~3 meters to the second rap station (5.6 down climb?); a 70 meter rope will take one all the way to the smaller ledge adjacent to the second rap anchor.
Thread second rap anchor and toss skier's left. Rap a little left and then straight down ~31 meters to a smaller but still very ample ledge having the third rap anchor. At the last part and with careful attention to rope ends, my 60 meter rope allowed a much shorter and easier down-climb - one or two 3rd or 4th class moves.
Thread rope through third rap anchor and toss straight down. Rap ~26 meters to anchor with fixed nuts and with little on which to stand. Then rap again to ample horizontal ledge which is a total of ~50 meters below the third rap anchor (i.e., these last two raps can be combined in one double rope rap).
Hike the ample horizontal ledge to skier's left back to the south shoulder of Pingora (i.e., to the vicinity of the starts of the routes South Buttress and East Ledges). There is a short 2nd / 3rd class ~horizontal section just before reaching the south shoulder.
Descent Towards Tiger Tower: Anchor webbing may need replacement. My 60 meter rope worked.
To start, locate the huge cleft that splits the west side of Pingora's summit. On the summit and south of that huge cleft, find a short dihedral to down climb / down lead and continue for roughly 80 feet (?) to reach the first rap anchor. After that, the first rap anchor is from chock stones inside a much smaller and independent cleft than the cleft on the summit. The first rap immediately goes around a corner to skier's right: funky with rope drag on the pull. Continue rapping ~mostly straight down. The last rap ends on north side of the notch between Pingora and Tiger Tower, and may land one in snow. A 70 meter rope probably keeps this to four raps; again, we had a 60 and rapped five times.
A scramble up and over to the south side of the notch gets one into the sun and onto good rock heading up Tiger Tower.
Weather station 22.7 miles from here
7 Total Routes
['4 Stars',2],['3 Stars',4],['2 Stars',1],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
Browse More Classics in Pingora
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Pingora:
Northeast Face 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, Alpine, 12 pitches, 1200'
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Latest Regional Forum Messages
By Chris Owen
From: La Crescenta and Big Bear Lake
May 8, 2009
A couple of long rappels down the South Buttress Route is the best way off Pingora.