Saturday, April 08, 2017

Back to Wagner Basin and Front; a climbing find

Mark Hertenstein looks over the bighorn sheep trail route below the ridge line.  His routes are marked in red lines

Mark Hertenstein is quite an off-trail route-finder, among the best I've climbed with.
On Friday we went back to the Front and Wagner Basin on a blustery spring day and checked out a climbing route he had spotted an an earlier trip.
Just to the east of Castle Reef a high ridge runs south to the Sun River, towering 1,500 feet above the valley floor to the east, a precipitous drop.
Mark confirmed that a great bighorn ledge runs most the more than mile-long length of this wall, about 5 to 10 feet wide in most parts about 100 feet below the ridge line.
We were able to access it through a break in the wall.
In several spots it wraps under overhangs in the wall.
We checked this out for a short distance, but agreed that if we were 20 years younger this would have been something we would have tried to follow for its length.
It reminded me a lot of the breathtaking traverse in Glacier Park known as the Ptarmigan Traverse, a goat trail that hangs on the west side of the Ptarmigan Wall about 3,000 feet above Helen Lake in sight of Old Sun Glacier.  I have done this traverse four times and think it to be the most exciting thing I've ever done in the park.
I've included several photos of this Sun Canyon Wall bighorn path.

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