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Wind River Range trail report
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Gabe Joyes
(gabe_joyes) - F

Locale: Lander, WY
Wind River Range trail report on 07/04/2011 11:20:08 MDT Print View

Hi folks I thought I would just share what it is like in the Winds right now since I know a lot of people are planning trips. I went for a trail run from Worthen Meadows yesterday down to the Middle fork and the surrounding area. Some sections of the trail were very wet, others plenty dry. Conditions were generally fine.

-Everything below 9000 - 9500 feet in that area is melted out, not surprisingly there is a bit more snow on all of the North facing slopes, i.e. Stough Creek Basin is still pretty snowy

-I talked to a couple who were just up Wind River Peak. They said the approach was a pain in the butt because of huge snow drifts, but the hike to the top was just walking on smooth snow the whole way.

-A friend of mine was able to hike all the way to Pinto Park from Sinks Canyon and it was snow free. She said that it was very very wet everywhere above Three Forks Park.

Its supposed to continue to be warm here so there should be lots of high country melting. I'm going to hike for a couple days on the 7th and 8th and plan to get up high, I'll give another update then if there appears to be an interest.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Re: Wind River Range trail report on 07/04/2011 11:29:09 MDT Print View

Thank you, Gabe! I, for one, will be following you with great eagerness! I know there are a number of others here and on other forums who are getting anxious, not only about snow depth but about some of the more "interesting" stream fords!

Scott Smith
(TrailRider) - F
Snow Levels? on 07/08/2011 13:54:30 MDT Print View

Gabe. I'd love a report of the snow levels from your tip on the 7th/8th. I'm hoping to hike through the Winds from June 27th-31st. We'll likely start at Elkhart Park and hit the highlights from there including Tincomb Basin, Fremont Peak, Elbow Lake, etc. I hear the snow is deep this hear but we're hopeful its gone by then.

Gabe Joyes
(gabe_joyes) - F

Locale: Lander, WY
Wind River Range update on 07/08/2011 15:29:05 MDT Print View

Apparently my friend who went to Pinto Park didn't go all the way to Pinto Park because it was a snowy wet swampy mess up there. It alternated between 8 foot snow drifts and then giant melt puddles. Snow started at roughly 10,200 ft on mostly south facing slopes. I think I'm going to head over to Elkhart Park and the Titcomb Basin area next week, maybe Tuesday or Wednesday for at least a couple night. From what I hear, there is supposed to be a bit less snow in that area. I will add an update when I get back at the end of next week.

I didn't cross any rivers, but the middle fork of the popo agie looked alright. It was very high, and in some place raging, but in others it was plenty calm to get across. It just looked like the water would be much higher up your legs than you would really like.

Scott Smith
(TrailRider) - F
Wind Rivers on 07/11/2011 16:26:39 MDT Print View

Thanks. I watch for your next report.

James Pipes
(kpipes) - F
Green River Pass on 07/12/2011 06:23:24 MDT Print View

My friends and I are planning a trip in the Winds on July 24 to 29. We plan to go from the Green River Lakes, over Green River Pass, down into Titcomb Basin and then out via Elkhart Park. Any insight into the snow levels along this route is most appreciated, particularly Green River Pass or Cube Rock and Shannon Pass and if any extra gear is neccessary to traverse it. Thanks in advance.

Gabe Joyes
(gabe_joyes) - F

Locale: Lander, WY
updates on 07/12/2011 09:03:28 MDT Print View

Hi folks,
Just a quick update: I ran up Stough Creek Pass (technically an unnamed pass divide between Worthen Meadows and Stough Creek Basin) and there were massive snowdrifts on top. For being such a dinky little pass and not all that high up I was very surprised to see how much snow as there. It was easily passable and not a big deal. The snow seems to be really clinging on in the highest areas that are still tree covered. Above the tree line there are big chunks of land that are snowless, and large areas that are still covered. Like I said before, it is melting fast!

Tomorrow we are heading out for 2 or 3 nights, probably somewhere on the west side of the range. We'll likely leave from Big Sandy of Elkhart Park, but hey we still got a whole day to decide. I will be sure to give another up date then.

Jared White
(j1white) - F
great insights on 07/13/2011 15:07:27 MDT Print View

Hey Gabe,

Stumbled on this post and look forward to hearing your next snow report as we've got a trip planned into that same part in two weeks. Would love to hear how those bugs are doing up there too!

Julia H
(jmhatler) - F
thanks on 07/15/2011 08:48:52 MDT Print View

I'm also looking forward to an update on the Elkhart-Titcomb basin route. Like many, we've been planning this for some time but were a bit put off by the snow pack this year. Any insight you can provide about stream crossings, bugs, snow, etc. would be helpful!
Thanks for keeping us updated!

Gabe Joyes
(gabe_joyes) - F

Locale: Lander, WY
Big Sandy area update on 07/16/2011 15:14:31 MDT Print View

Hi folks, just got back this morning. We ended up going to the Big Sandy area for three nights. We weren't able to do the loop we wanted to because of lingering snowfields, instead we wandered around the area and visited some of our favorite places.

But, the snow situation is rapidly improving. The snow is melting astonishingly fast, and in a matter of days any route in that area should be possible. Its supposed to be low 90's in Lander the rest of the week, so the melting should really be rapid

The situation that is not good at all is the mosquitoes. They were the worst mosquitoes I have ever seen. Period. There is lots of standing water from all the lingering snowfields and it has created a bug nightmare. Our only escape was to go high enough up where the hatch hasn't really happened yet.

Like a lot of people out there we are planning a trip for the first two weeks of August. I expect the snow to not be a big issue, but I'm afraid that the bug situation could still be bad...

Deep Lake.  Still iced over for now.  Clear Lake, just a bit further down the drainage was ice free.
Deep Lake, still with a thick layer of ice. Clear Lake, just down the drainage was ice free. It was bug free camping, but wet and snowy.

Jackass Pass and Cirque of the Towers.  Wanted to go over Texas Pass, but it didn't look good.
Jackass Pass and Cirque of the Towers. We wanted to go over Texas Pass, but from here it looked a bit ambitious. Sorry I couldn't figure out how to rotate the picture!

Washakie Pass. The trail dow the pass to Washakie Lake is somewhere beneath that huge snowfield.
Washakie Pass. The trail dow the pass to Washakie Lake is somewhere beneath that huge snowfield.

Washakie Lake is almost all thawed out.  The high Bears Ears trail in the background looks great!
Washakie Lake below is almost all thawed out. The high Bears Ears trail in the background looks great!

If you have any specific questions about what it is like up there in the Winds, send me an email:

Edited by gabe_joyes on 07/16/2011 15:24:09 MDT.

Gabe Joyes
(gabe_joyes) - F

Locale: Lander, WY
Detailed update coming in a couple of weeks on 07/29/2011 16:58:30 MDT Print View

Hi Folks,
I've received tons of emails asking about the Winds. I talked to a buddy at NOLS today and his only update is that it is still super buggy. I'm going on trip in the Northern Winds on the 1-10. I will be sure to put up a trip report as soon as I get back with all of the latest information. Happy planning!


James Pipes
(kpipes) - F
Shannon Pass - Green River Pass on 07/31/2011 20:56:30 MDT Print View

Just got back from a 5 day trip (7-23-11 to 7-28-11) through the Winds from Green River Lakes to Island Lake then up to Titcomb Basin and out through Elkhart Park. I may post a trip report later but thought I'd comment on the conditions now while its still somewhat relevant.

The mosquitos were some of the worst I've ever seen. If you visit the Winds this season be sure to take lots of deet and a headnet. We noticed the mosquitos weren't too bad when we were hiking or the wind was blowing fairly strongly. The only locations they seemed to not be too bad were near the top of Shannon Pass and in the Titcomb basin, as the snow continues to melt they may be bad there too.

On our route we had to ford a number of streams that might ordinarily have been a rock hop due to high flows from the melting snow. But none of the crossings on the route were dangerous to ford.

Our group split on the second day with two of us crossing the Green River Pass while the other two took the Vista-Cube Rock-Shannon Pass route. We found both to be challenging due to very large amounts of snow. However we ran into several groups that had taken both routes so they are certainly "doable." You just need to be prepared and be very careful. Shannon Pass in particular had a very steep snowfield we had to climb that at times felt pretty dangerous. I personally wouldn't recommend going Shannon Pass this year unless you know what you are doing and are prepared with the proper gear. It's possible it will melt out later in August, but there was just so much snow that my guess is that parts of the trail won't melt till summer 2012.

If you have any questions about that particular part of the winds let me know.

Chris Stemen
(stemenc) - F
Re: Shannon Pass - Green River Pass on 08/01/2011 11:27:45 MDT Print View

Please provide additional detail through Cube Rock Pass. We are heading out this week and plan to ascend the pass from the Green River side. Thx,

James Pipes
(kpipes) - F
Cube Rock-Shannon Pass on 08/03/2011 07:52:41 MDT Print View

A few pictures might be more helpful than a description. Most of these were taken on July 25 2011.

Climb to Cube Rock Pass

Last pitch before the top of Cube Rock Pass

View of Shannon Pass

Flat section of snow-covered trail south of Shannon Pass

View down into Elbow Lake

Trail near Upper Jean Lake

I wish I had gotten a closer picture as we were climbing the steep snowfield on Shannon Pass but to be honest I wasn't comfortable pulling the camera out at that point.

Despite carrying 40 plus pounds we did not run into much trouble with postholing except on the occasions we crossed a snowbridge over a stream or near boulders sticking out of the snow.

People who are in good shape, have good self arrest skills and patiently kick step their route can make the Shannon Pass-Cube Rock Pass traverse. With that said, one slip climbing that snowfield could lead to serious injury or maybe even death so make sure you know your limits.

Edited by kpipes on 08/03/2011 07:54:03 MDT.

Bryan Hart
(schraderbh) - F
Re: Cube Rock-Shannon Pass on 08/03/2011 13:36:00 MDT Print View

Hi James,

Thanks for posting the photos! Its great to get an idea of recent conditions. Just out of curiosity did you go over Knapsack Col into Titcomb Basin or did you access it via Island Lake?

I'm planning a similar route for mid August and was either considering a loop from Elkhart park down to Long Lake and up to Summit Lake and back around via the Highline Trail to Elkhart or the route out from Elkhart up the highline and over Knapsack into Titcomb and back out to Elkhart.

James Pipes
(kpipes) - F
Knapsack Col on 08/03/2011 14:54:46 MDT Print View

We took the route to Island Lake and though we hiked deep into Titcomb Basin we never actually saw Knapsack Col. We did run into a fellow at Cube Rock Pass who said he had come over Knapsack Col that day and from Cube Rock Pass we could see tracks in the snow where someone had gone around Peak Lake presumably to or from it. We also talked to someone who said a large NOLS group had gone over Knapsack Col within the week so I would imagine it's possible if you know what you are doing and are careful.

Bryan Hart
(schraderbh) - F
Re: Knapsack Col on 08/04/2011 11:17:43 MDT Print View

Thanks for the head's up. We won't be bring axes or any technical equipment so we'll probably be better off avoiding it. Was the snow pretty slushy on the passes? Or is it hard enough to kick step into?

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Knapsack Col on 08/04/2011 11:29:19 MDT Print View


"People who are in good shape, have good self arrest skills and patiently kick step their route can make the Shannon Pass-Cube Rock Pass traverse."

"Despite carrying 40 plus pounds we did not run into much trouble with postholing except on the occasions we crossed a snowbridge over a stream or near boulders sticking out of the snow."

Edited by greg23 on 08/04/2011 11:49:05 MDT.

Eric Jahn-Clough
(ejcfree) - F

Locale: off grid
winds condition comment on 08/04/2011 15:57:58 MDT Print View

Just completed 10 days out of Big Sandy north as far as Grave Lake and to the east of Lizard Head Plateau. I carried an ice axe and did not use it. The snow melted rapidly during my visit. The north side of Texas Pass was half steep snow and by the time I made my loop over Illinois Pass and came back around to Texas a week later I had an easy dry decent. The bugs on the other hand got more vigorous and were just crazy in some places.high in the CirqueAugust 1, 2011 New York Pass in background
Best to all, Eric

James Pipes
(kpipes) - F
Shannon Pass on 08/05/2011 07:29:20 MDT Print View

Bryan, the snow we crossed was slushy enough on top to be well suited for kick stepping. Hopefully someone else will comment on Knapsack Col.

Greg, trying to walk a fine line of encouraging caution without being too discouraging. Just don't want anyone getting hurt on my conscience.

Our shuttle bus driver dropped us off at Green River Lakes saying we should definitely take the Shannon Pass route and that all the snow would be melted...

Kind of funny now, but not at the time.