Cirque of the Towers

Aldaron

Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2012
Messages
1,485
I just got back yesterday from three days in the Winds with my brother. He flew in from Tennessee to do some climbing with a couple of friends, and I convinced him to do a couple of nights backpacking before the climbing started. We started from the Big Sandy Trailhead on Thursday after he repacked his pack 5 times. Since he was going to be climbing for several days in the Cirque, his pack weighed right at 70 pounds. Yeah. I carried that thing for about 30 yards and was thoroughly convinced that I would never be a rock climber. I still have no idea how he managed to carry that pack all the way to the Cirque.

The first day started with the easy 6 miles up to the Big Sandy Lake. From there we headed up to Clear Lake for the night. With all the stories I had heard about the popularity of this area coupled with the crowded trailhead parking lot, I was expecting Disney World-like crowds. I was pleasantly surprised that there was only one other pair camped at Clear Lake. Of course, we had to spend all evening trying not to stare as one of those two women spent a lot of time skinny dipping...

We had planned on hiking all the way up to Deep Lake at the end of that basin, but my brother, understandably, was anxious to get the hike to the Cirque over with, so on Friday we backtracked to Big Sandy Lake and started towards the Cirque. My brother and his friends had me worried that Jackass Pass was terrible, but I didn't think it was bad at all. I seem to remember Lester Pass in the Winds as being worse. We did get hit by a rain storm right at the pass, but there was no lightning, so it was all good. We then found a campsite at the back end of the Cirque where the climbers stay, and settled in. Later, my brother's friend met us at the campsite.

On Saturday, I headed back out by myself so my brother could climb for the next few days. I took a "shortcut" on a climber's trail around the backside of Arrowhead Lake. I think it saved me some time, but I wouldn't recommend going that way. There was a nasty boulder field, and if you were coming in, there is a nearly vertical dirt slope that would be a monster to climb. I was glad to make it around Arrowhead with all my bones intact. From there it was an easy and beautiful hike back to the car.

The area really wasn't as crowded as I expected. I mean, it was more crowded than I like, but it wasn't unbearable. I had also heard that bears were a bad problem in the Cirque, and virtually everyone I saw was carrying bear spray. However, I didn't even see any signs of bears. I also think that if I had to choose just one backpacking trip in the Winds, I would pick Titcomb over the Cirque. The Cirque is great, but I think Titcomb is a little prettier. As always, though, the Winds exceeded expectations...just absolutely wonderful.

Anyway, here are some pictures from the trip:

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Big Sandy Lake
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Clear Lake
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Temple Mountain
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Clear Lake
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Cirque of the Towers
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Arrowhead Lake...wonder how it got its name...
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Temple Mountain from Jackass Pass
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That huge pack on my brother
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Cirque
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Lonesome Lake
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War Bonnet Peak
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Pingora Peak
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Cirque in the morning
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The nasty boulder field at Arrowhead Lake...the pictures never do them justice.
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Rock climbers...I promise.
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See?
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Big Sandy Lake
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HomerJ

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Joined
Jan 19, 2012
Messages
1,199
So awesome!!! I just love the Winds! Thanks for sharing!

How were the skeeters?
 

Aldaron

Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2012
Messages
1,485
Surprisingly, they weren't that bad. I would say a 4 out of 10. Come to think of it, I didn't even use any DEET on the trip.
 

HomerJ

Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2012
Messages
1,199
Love the Cirque! I was there a few years back, but hiked in from the east. Very awesome!
Which trail head did you use? Worthen Meadows? What areas did you camp in?
 

Nick

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Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
12,938
Duuude! What's up with all the skinny dipping in the winds!? I need to spend more time hiking near the Cirque! Last year it was Deep Lake, now Clear?! :smilecoffee:

And I'm with ya on the climbers packs… that is nuts! When I hiked in last year, we passed people who had huge backpacks AND huge chest packs that were at least as big as my entire backpack!
 

uintahiker

Adventure Guru
Joined
Jan 20, 2012
Messages
719
Which trail head did you use? Worthen Meadows? What areas did you camp in?
We had planned to start at Dickinson Park then head up to the Grave Lake area, but that was the year someone ticked off one of the landowners on the res, so he locked the gate over the road. Ended up driving to the ridge above Shoshone Lake (Awesome view BTW)- hiked down to Shoshone Lake, over to the middle fork, then up to the Cirque. We camped at the river, then again at Lizard Head Meadows.
 
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