Wind River Range trip
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Seth Griffiths
(sgriffy) - F

Locale: Front Range
Wind River Range trip on 05/23/2011 12:30:14 MDT Print View

I was originally planning on doing the 80 mile Crest of the Winds trail, but unfortunately a few members of the group want to cut the trip down to 5-6 days. Is there a variation of this trail that anyone can recommend (i.e. Northern half or southern half)?

http://bp2.trimbleoutdoors.com/ViewTrip.aspx?tripId=37344

Thanks

David Passey
(davidpassey) - F - M

Locale: New York City
Re: Wind River Range trip on 05/23/2011 13:14:28 MDT Print View

Interesting. I was going to try the same trip in 5 nights. I've never hiked the whole thing. I gather you think 5 nights is not realistic?

John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
Winds on 05/23/2011 13:19:39 MDT Print View

I have been on all of that route and either heading in from the north or south would put you out at Elkhardt meadows. You could go in at Elkhardt and move north or south as well. The south half is a bit more strenuous but would also allow more bailout options as by heading west to the Highline or Fremont trails, but you would miss some truly spectacular scenery. I would prefer going in at Elhardt and heading south as this route gets up high faster and through some great terrain. You can't go wrong with any of the 4 options in my opinion.

John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
5 Nights on 05/23/2011 13:28:58 MDT Print View

Assuming you are in very good shape and not prone to altitude sickness, it could be done in five nights as long as the first and last days are FULL hiking days and not partial travel days. However, snow (depending on when you are going) and weather could make that impossible. Navigational skills aren't as important as Backpacker Magazine seems to make out in the article. In fact, just printing out the closeup version from the link should be all you need. If you need more than that you might best stick to the flat land.

Bear canisters are NOT required and in 35 years in the Winds I have never had a problem with them and very few encounters but as always, YMMV. Other than the North end of the trail up to the pass before Peak Lake, and in the Cirque of the towers and Big Sandy area, you are pretty much out of primary Bear territory. I have had much larger problems with little rodents getting into things.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Wind River Range trip on 05/23/2011 23:47:32 MDT Print View

When are you going? Snow up there is currently 238% of normal and not much is melting yet. The locals say it may be late July before the high country is open this year.

David Passey
(davidpassey) - F - M

Locale: New York City
Re: Wind River Range trip on 05/24/2011 05:23:44 MDT Print View

Not to highjack Seth's threat, but I'm planning on the second week of August. B/c of the snowpack, I'm assuming this will be peak mosquito season. Fair assumption?

Seth Griffiths
(sgriffy) - F

Locale: Front Range
dates for the winds on 05/24/2011 08:16:13 MDT Print View

We were planning on going around the last week of July, but judging from the snowpack August would be better. Fortunately, my schedule is very flexible and I should be able to make it anytime from mid-July to mid-August.

Our group is in very good shape and since we live in CO we hike, snowshoe,and backcountry ski every weekend. I assume that making it a five night trip would still be rough.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Wind River Range trip on 05/24/2011 17:46:05 MDT Print View

I've rescheduled my trip (actually several back-to-back trips) to start August 1. We'll see what happens! Yes, I expect the mosquitoes to be late, too. I just hope enough snow will be melted that the creeks (especially Pole Creek) won't be too high--I'm short and have a dog who refuses to swim, so I will have to change plans and retreat if I can't get across.

If you don't have time for the entire length (plus a lot of scenic side trips you shouldn't miss) of the Fremont/Highline trail, then start in the middle, at Elkhart Park. You can do a loop with the Seneca Lake and Pole Creek trails so that only the first/last 5 miles will be a repeat. You can go in on the Seneca Lake trail, quickly hit the scenic highlights like Titcomb and Indian Basins, then go south away from the crowds. South of Pole Creek, there are two north-south trails, the Fremont (route of the CDT) and Highline, with a number of connecting trails--you can do as long or as short a loop as you want, or a bunch of figure 8's. If you're going up on the crest, there are plenty of off-trail routes up there, some of which involve glacier travel needing the appropriate gear and skills. With 5 days, maybe as far as the Golden Lakes and back on the Fremont Trail.

Re bears, I'm told black bears are also in a camp-raiding mode in the Golden Lakes area. North of (approximately) Pole Creek, you're required either to hang your food or to use a canister--this because the grizzly bears are moving south.

David, being from NYC, you may very easily have an altitude problem. Even if you don't get AMS, you will get very tired very easily! Starting at Green River Lakes, where the ascent is gradual (not much climbing the first 11 miles), will help. Unfortunately that means a couple of days hiking through mostly bark-beetle-killed forest, although there are plenty of views of Squaretop and other mountains to liven things up. Planning short, easy days your first few days will help, too. I wouldn't try to do the whole length in 5 days unless you're previously acclimatized!

Edited by hikinggranny on 05/24/2011 17:52:02 MDT.

Seth Griffiths
(sgriffy) - F

Locale: Front Range
updated route on 05/27/2011 18:48:44 MDT Print View

Thanks for all of the advise everyone. I have attached an image of a new route I am considering. Let me know what you think.

Elkhart Loop

Josh Goodman
(joshuaxx3) - F

Locale: Brazil
Wind River trip in August on 06/14/2011 10:51:19 MDT Print View

Hey, I'm planning to do the 10-day hike in the Winds from Aug. 18-28, if those days are suitable to anyone.

David Passey
(davidpassey) - F - M

Locale: New York City
Re: Wind River Range trip on 06/27/2011 12:02:26 MDT Print View

Thanks, Mary. I missed your original response. I'm considering starting at Elkhart trail head. The only reason to start at Green River was to hit Knapsack Col, but given the snow conditions this year, I may reserve that for another year.

Regarding acclimation, I'm spending 4 days at Brighton Ski Resort/Park City Utah before heading to the Wind River Range, but can't afford more time to acclimate than that.

Josh Goodman
(joshuaxx3) - F

Locale: Brazil
Still looking for a Winds partner in August on 06/27/2011 14:07:43 MDT Print View

So David, are you traveling alone? I still haven't found a partner for my 10-day hiking adventure starting around Aug. 18. I've got no set itinerary, though was thinking of doing the entire North-South traverse.

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Trip partner on 06/27/2011 15:14:03 MDT Print View

Josh I might be interested in a trip partner depends on a few things starting with do you fish? PM me about this

Josh Goodman
(joshuaxx3) - F

Locale: Brazil
Re: Trip partner on 06/27/2011 16:47:50 MDT Print View

Hey,
I don't fish--but plan to learn how to do so while in the Winds. My plan, roughly, is up to 10 miles of walking per day for up to 10 days. No set route yet, as my maps are in the mail still. What about you? You can email me directly at jdgoodman_travelATyahoo.com