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Illinois Pass in the Winds
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Josh Thomas
(JtPeso) - M

Locale: Louisville, Ky
Illinois Pass in the Winds on 08/09/2013 11:34:16 MDT Print View

Hey folks,
FINALLY making it to the famed Wind River Range this September. Because I'll only have about 6.5 days, I'm gonna stick in the South section so I have time to wander around. There are a number of options we'll explore – some of them may be Game Time Decisions – but I'd like a little more info on Illinois Pass. How tricky is the route-finding? Will there be times where I need to take off my pack and hoist it above my head? Is it as tough as some of the guidebooks say? Any help on the terrain would be appreciated.

Kyle Martinelli
(k.mart)
redacted on 08/09/2013 12:23:24 MDT Print View

redacted

Edited by k.mart on 08/09/2013 12:24:07 MDT.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
"Illinois Pass in the Winds on 08/09/2013 12:41:31 MDT Print View

I suggest you get Nancy Pallister's "Beyond Trails in the Wind River Mountains." It's the definitive guide to off-trail travel in the Winds. Details of Illinois Pass are on p. 89-91. Lots of talus and class 3 climbing, which are not my thing, so I haven't read that section in detail. There are ways to detour this pass (described in the book) if it's not your thing either. Even more important, there are lots of off-trail trips in that area well worth exploring, which the book describes.

Josh Thomas
(JtPeso) - M

Locale: Louisville, Ky
Re: Pallister on 08/09/2013 17:52:25 MDT Print View

I've got Nancy's book. It's awesome. That's pretty much where I've gotten all my info for the trip. I just wanted to get some other opinions on that pass in particular. I seem to remember it saying there would be some places where you might have to hoist your pack above your head. I'm not opposed to it, but would have to depend on my energy that day.

Mary R
(pietimer) - MLife
re: Illinois Pass in the Winds on 08/12/2013 13:35:13 MDT Print View

When are you going? I'm heading out to the WRR next week and going over Illinois pass on my route. I can report back to you.

Josh Thomas
(JtPeso) - M

Locale: Louisville, Ky
Re: Illinois Pass on 08/13/2013 18:49:18 MDT Print View

Hey Mary,
I'll be in the Winds Sept. 8-16; I'd be going over the pass on the 10th or 11th, I think. Any info would be much appreciated. Thanks!

Eric Jahn-Clough
(ejcfree) - F - M

Locale: off grid
Re: Illinois Pass on 08/14/2013 20:34:55 MDT Print View

Josh,
Just came out this morning. Day before yesterday I sat on Texas Pass as the heavy clouds closed and the thunder ripped, gazing across the Barren Lakes at Illinois Pass. I had thought of heading that way, but the gathering storm nixed that idea. That was on day 29 of my solo trek in the much loved Winds. I climbed over Illinois in 2011. I have an excellent picture that will be of use to you, but that is not available to me untill I get home on the 20th. I'll post it on this thread. I consider that pass to be straightforward. A good stiff climb but nothing scary. I crossed from south to north during a heavy snow year. The north side, which is a much gentler slope was mostly snow covered, should be easy angle talus and ledge. It is the south side that probably concerns you. I walked up. The line I chose, which is not Nancy's route, did not force me to remove my pack. I did not like her line. That one goes straight up the east or right side facing north I believe. My line crosses from east to west/right to left through the rock filled breaks in the lower ledges then makes a east/right over and through the upper layer of ledges. When I had the chance to camp near Nancy out there in The Reservation last summer we discussed that pass briefly, as well as some more remote difficult areas that are of great interest to me. I did a big one this year, Klondike/Pedestal Pass, now that was rugged, nearly 4000ft down, mostly boulders with some high angle scree at the top for extra fun, from the divide to Three Forks Park. Back to your pass, I think I recall she did mention passing packs up and scrambling ledges. When it is in front of you pick your best feeling and climb it. I hope you have a super trip.
Take Care, Eric

Josh Thomas
(JtPeso) - M

Locale: Louisville, Ky
Re: Thanks! on 08/16/2013 07:50:55 MDT Print View

Perfect. That's exactly the info I was looking for. A photo would be excellent, too. Sounds like you just had a monster trip.

Eric Jahn-Clough
(ejcfree) - F - M

Locale: off grid
Illinois Pass photos on 08/20/2013 08:47:40 MDT Print View

I've got plenty of pics of that pass.

Illinois Pass approach from Shadow LakeIllinois Pass approach from Shadow Lake

from Texas Passfrom Texas Pass

from Texas Pass 2from Texas Pass 2

from Texas Pass 3from Texas Pass 3

Illinois Pass north sideIllinois Pass north side

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: redacted....Max? on 08/20/2013 22:01:54 MDT Print View

Kyle -

See Above ^^^

"Redacted - editing in which multiple source texts are combined and altered slightly to make a single document."

I think you can blame Max for first using this term improperly.

(I was going to use 'redacted' for a blown post, 'cause its cute, but decided to check first.)

Edited by greg23 on 08/20/2013 22:07:14 MDT.

Josh Thomas
(JtPeso) - M

Locale: Louisville, Ky
re: photos on 08/22/2013 14:17:00 MDT Print View

Eric, that helps a ton. Thanks so much!

Edited by JtPeso on 08/22/2013 20:24:53 MDT.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: Illinois Pass in the Winds on 01/23/2014 15:34:04 MST Print View

How does Illinois Pass compare to Knapsack Col? Nancy Pallister lists them both as class 2/3 but states she has never done Knapsack Col herself. I am thinking of including Illinois Pass on a trip this summer and want to know what I am getting into. I did a late season crossing of Knapsack Col in 2012.

John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
Passes on 01/23/2014 16:48:52 MST Print View

They each pose different challenges and will be unique based on snowpack and weather. I would rate them about the same in terms of overall difficulty but you could pick a different line and have a totally different perspective than I.

Both are relatively easy to negotiate if you are experienced in off trail travel, as is most of the Winds terrain. I prefer knapsack going NW from Titcomb basin and approaching Illinois from the cirque heading SW, but that is just a preference, and depending on your direction of travel you have no choice.