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Wind River Range in July
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Peter Sustr
(czechxpress) - F - M

Locale: Boulder
Wind Rivers on 06/14/2011 11:31:55 MDT Print View

I have been checking on the conditions because of my trip and it is not looking good. The rangers don't have a lot of positive things to say about the snowpack and options available because of it. I don't want to trudge around in the snow either or be limited to the lower elevations. The fishing isn't great either because of the run off as well.

I can't decide what to do or what my alernative would even be since I've been so committed to this trip. Theirs always Utah! :)

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Wind River Range in July on 06/14/2011 13:49:40 MDT Print View

What I'm watching re the snow melt: Click first on the region ("Central Rockies" for the Winds; then on the second map ("Snow Depth") and click to enlarge. You can check out any place in the US! Note that the whole western US, except New Mexico and Arizona, is having the same problem. The one encouraging thing is that there's less purple (over 98 inches) than there was 2 weeks ago. Peter, in comparison with June 1, it looks as though the mountains of southern Colorado are melting out faster than the rest. At least you won't have to shell out for a nonresident license, which in Wyoming is quite pricey.

The snotel sites are no longer very useful this late--they're showing an abnormally high percentage (like 300+% of average) simply because of the late melt. The snotels in the Winds also are at or lower than the trailheads--the later it gets, the less they reflect what's going on higher up. The streamflow data lets you know if the snow is (finally) melting. While the Green River is finally above average, I'm a bit unhappy that Fremont Creek at the inlet to Fremont Lake is below normal, meaning it's not melting up there yet. The Pinedale area is expecting big floods when the snow does melt.

Of course you can call the appropriate USFS ranger station and hope you talk to someone who has been out from behind the desk lately!

I'm beginning to wonder if my early August date won't be too early! My main concern is stream fords. I'm short, with short legs, and the USFS in the Winds builds bridges only if the stream isn't safe for horses to ford in low water. My dog, despite being mostly Labrador, refuses to swim--a traitor to his genetics! He has major separation anxiety when I leave him behind, though, so hopefully that neurosis will win the day! If the big streams (especially Pole Creek) are too high, I'll have to do major backtracking. Nancy Pallister (who wrote the latest guidebook to the Winds) tells me that Pole Creek and Middle Fork Boulder Creek are the most dangerous fords in high water.

Edited by hikinggranny on 06/14/2011 13:53:32 MDT.

Chad Crucj
(ccrick) - F
Snow pack is simply too much on 06/16/2011 12:30:25 MDT Print View

After talking with some local guides I decided to reschedule my trip to the Wind's. We are going to go some time in the end of August. Kind of a bummer but it's better than being restricted to lower elevations.

Peter Sustr
(czechxpress) - F - M

Locale: Boulder
Wind Rivers update on 06/21/2011 12:28:17 MDT Print View

I was on the fence for my trip so I emailed the guys at NOLS since they have the Winds in their back door and here was their response:

You most likely will still encounter snow above treeline during the 4th of July week but it will be melting rapidly. I would only recommend crampons and ice axes if you plan on traveling on any steep snow slopes for mountaineering/climbing pursuits. If your objectives revolve more around hiking, and not climbing, I think you will be fine WITHOUT these specific pieces of gear. Expect, however, maybe to "posthole" through some of the remaining, and rotting, snowpack while hiking up high, and even through the trees at lower elevations. The Winds received a lot of snow this winter, some of which will try to linger into July...

This was posted on CDTL by two CDT hikers:

CDTA Mapping crew just completed the Basin. The route is dry with a few inconsequential patches of snow from where it exits the Medicine Bow NF to about 12 miles north of Hwy 28. That’s about 190 miles total of trail between big snow areas or 174 if you stop at 28. You’d have to get a ride down SH 71 from Rawlins but a lot of locals are fishing down there and they seemed like nice people who might give a ride. We met two CDT hikers (Heavy and Arno?) north of Hwy 28 that tried but were unable to reach Little Sandy due to deep, rotten snow. They were roadwalking to Pinedale and said they would post on CDT 2011 when they get there. The road to Big Sandy is still closed. Snow depth near the Colorado border is at 74” so I doubt that Zirkel will be passable soon. Winds are still pretty much solid white. Scattered drifts from 7,000- 8,000 feet and continuous snow above 9,000.

With this info, I am going somewhere else for my trip this year. Call me what you will, but, I was hoping to fish and limit the amount of suffering this year. I'm looking into the CT or even heading out to Utah since I love it so much.

Maybe next year!

Gabe Joyes
(gabe_joyes) - F

Locale: Lander, WY
Lots and lots of snow on 06/21/2011 13:06:30 MDT Print View

Big Sandy TH is melted out and should be open. But, it is pretty darn snowy anywhere above that. Its supposed to be warm here this week so you never know. Good luck.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Wind River Range in July on 06/21/2011 13:28:13 MDT Print View

The road into the Big Sandy TH is closed right now. It appears that a spring welled up right in the middle!

The snow has finally melted at the top of White Pine Ski Area (along the road to Elkhart Park), 9500 feet. Looks really muddy. Trails around Green River Lakes are very muddy.

Above info from

Of more concern than the snow are stream crossings. I posted earlier where to check stream flows. Note that USFS policy in the Bridger Wilderness is to build a bridge only if a ford is too dangerous for horses in low water. If it heats up and the snow melts fast, some bridges could disappear, too.

Edited by hikinggranny on 06/21/2011 13:30:08 MDT.

Richard Scruggs
(JRScruggs) - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Re: Wind River Range in July on 06/21/2011 15:33:29 MDT Print View

Here's hoping that the window between Labor Day and start of hunting season later in September bears good news for trails in the Winds. Wonder if the late-melting snow might also bring late-blooming flowers? Late-blooming mosquitos, too!

John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
After Labor Day on 06/21/2011 16:46:25 MDT Print View

After Labor Day has always been my favorite time in the Winds as typically the days are warm (50-60's), the nights cold (20-30's), the skies are clear, and there are little to no bugs. The past few years have been colder with hit and miss snow fall which is fine with me.

Ted E
(Mtn_nut) - MLife

Locale: Morrison, CO
shoshone forest rangers updates on twitter on 06/27/2011 10:24:46 MDT Print View

so, i found the shoshone NF does a twitter feed.

Lander,WY: Hiking into Three Forks Park is do-able, but you will not be able to cross the river as it is running very fast and deep.

Access into Stough Creek Basin is limited. You will run into intermittent snow at 9500 feet and solid snow at 10,200 feet.

Shoshone Lk Jeep rd is now open to the chute There is a large amt of snow in the chute Opening date to Shoshone Lake is unknown

Bears Ears trail is not accessible. You can get 1 mile down the North Fork trail towards Smith Lake from Dickinson Park.

Dubois,WY: Brook Lake Rd is open, but Brook Lake is frozen & there is 2 feet of snow in the campground. For more updates call 307-455-2466.

Originally i was planning on going to the stough creek basin, but now im thinking im going to be sticking to a shorter hike near the silas lake area from the trailhead starting at fiddlers lake unless everything melts out quite a bit in the next week.

Edited by Mtn_nut on 06/27/2011 10:28:47 MDT.

Gabe Joyes
(gabe_joyes) - F

Locale: Lander, WY
Fiddlers Lake on 06/27/2011 11:34:32 MDT Print View

The Loop Road to Fiddlers Lake is not open yet, but I would think it will be very soon. Its supposed to be almost 90 here in Lander the next two days, so there should be major melting.

Ted E
(Mtn_nut) - MLife

Locale: Morrison, CO
more updates on the snow on 06/28/2011 21:05:24 MDT Print View

Im still headed out there next week, and i'm excited to hear about high temps so i can maybe try out some fishing.

Also, i just read this on mountain project:

"Returned from the middle portion of the range about ten days ago. Entered at Boulder Creek 6/13/11, left 6/17/11 (wasn't headed in for technical climbing but I figured the conditions might be interesting for those posting.) Snow line that week was at 8500-9000 feet, very sloppy stuff. Above that snow was good in the morning but by noon postholing was commonplace, even with snowshoes. Lakes above 9000-9500 feet were still at least partially frozen. Also, the rivers/creeks/trails are running very, very high. Good news was I never saw an insect (or another person!)."

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Latest Bridger Wilderness Report on 06/29/2011 17:12:19 MDT Print View

Posted in "Pinedale Online" yesterday, from a 6/28 Bridger-Teton NF press release:

"The Big Sandy Road #37-850 on the Pinedale Ranger District has two sites where water is flooded over the roadway. There is also one large pothole on the road above the flooded sites. All three sites are located approximately 1.5 miles south of the Big Sandy Trailhead, past the turn-off to the Temple Peak Summer Home Tract. "We are monitoring this situation on the Big Sandy Road, but haven’t scheduled corrective action yet, because snowmelt is expected to continue to provide excess water at these locations for at least the next two weeks," Buchanan said.

"This flooded portion of the Big Sandy Road is not suitable for 2-wheel drive vehicles at this time. 4-wheel drive vehicles may drive through the standing water at their own risk, but may not leave the roadway to go around the flooded areas because this causes resource damage outside of the roadway.

"As of this Wednesday, solid snow approximately 3-feet deep can be expected above 9,500 feet in elevation throughout the Bridger Wilderness Area. Most lakes above 9,500 feet are still frozen."

The extra 1.5 mile walk is probably no big deal, but it looks though you won't get very far from the end of the road!

Labor Day starting date, anyone?

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Labor day starting date on 06/29/2011 17:33:16 MDT Print View

Ya just in time for lots of fresh snow. Its a good thing that I can leave on my vacations whenever I want

Ted E
(Mtn_nut) - MLife

Locale: Morrison, CO
the loop road is finally open on 07/02/2011 02:24:33 MDT Print View

just in time for my trip. also, there is a lot of flooding and the forest service issued a warning about crossing streams that are in full runoff flood stage, so be careful. im not sure how good the fishing will be, but im bringing my tenkara anyways. i think im going to call up to the forest service office on my way up there, and that will determine which lakes/streams i head towards.!/ShoshoneNF

Lander, WY: The Loop Road is open in it's entire length. Please be careful of wet boggy areas. Happy camping.

David Passey
(davidpassey) - F

Locale: New York City
Wind River on 07/20/2011 19:17:34 MDT Print View

I spoke with the Pinedale ranger office earlier today. They had just spoken with two hikers who had started at Elk Heart Park and just "barely" made it Seneca Lake before they ran into deep snow. Doesn't bode well.

Anyone have further insights on the conditions up there? I'm hoping to get in the week of the 8th, but am starting to look for alternate destinations (e.g., southern Utah) where snow won't be a consideration.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Re: Wind River on 07/20/2011 19:46:54 MDT Print View

Another thread on conditions in the Winds besides this one: