Sweetwater Gap Walkabout - Wind Rivers

Artemus

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Jun 25, 2012
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Greetings summer wanderers. A quick trip report about this weekend's (July 10, 2015) walkabout in the Wind River range with Underscore and his doggie Maya. We went in to examine some climbing cliffs I had heard about above the Sweetwater Gap and to generally enjoy the range. We were lured, as usual, into going up something. That something in this case was Mt. Nystrom (12,356') above its east cirque above said climbing cliffs. The weather was generally great but threatened black clouds and violence occasionally. It followed through a couple of times with said violence but, after holing up under a boulder a little while, we were able to execute on an ascent of the peak as you will see the pics.

Stats: 19 mile weekend, 4000"+ of ascent and great fun was had by all. We saw *no* other people and mucho elk scat. Not bad for an easily accessible trailhead only 4.5 hours from home on a midsummer weekend. The bugs were moderate. The weather ranged from poor to fantastic.

Track from my radio collar:
http://caltopo.com/m/446J

Sweetwater Gap Trailhead - we encountered some of that weather violence as we got out of the car and started packing up. So we got back in the truck and waited it out. This is one of the more obscure trailheads in the range in the southwest corner and thus one of the least used. You access it on dirt roads from South Pass and only the last mile or two is blocked to all but high ground clearance vehicles and that only because of an overaggressive water bar builder and a grader. Some of the water bar ditches were a couple of feet deep!
swNystrom-1.jpg


Storm over - we are off.
swNystrom-2.jpg


Our first camp was in the forest near the Gap since we had a late start. A lake on the next day as we climbed into the cirque.
swNystrom-3.jpg


Weather is teasing from blue sky to black so we keep ascending trying to keep up with the dog.
swNystrom-4.jpg


A fine view of one of the routes now added to the tic list. The left sky line is the Anvil Arete. Grade III, 5.8 as told to me by Joe Kelsey in his Climbing and Hiking in the Wind River Mountains. Recommended. The book that is... - even for non climbers. I talked to Joe about beta before the trip.
swNystrom-5.jpg


A popping pointer with Poppa. Pointer=Maya. Poppa= Underscore ( @slc_dan )
swNystrom-6.jpg


The head walls of the cirque. Mt. Nystrom is just out of the view behind the highest point.
swNystrom-7.jpg


The route past the head wall. The grassy slopes of the shoulder. Looks casual but turned out to be mostly boulder hopping as was the ridge and right hand turn to the peak. Quite grueling.
swNystrom-8.jpg


The wandering Poppa showing that the footing wasn't all grassy slope.
swNystrom-9.jpg


Beauty to compensate for the labor.
swNystrom-10.jpg


A strange, strange rock. I thought it was a stump at 12k' at first.
swNystrom-11.jpg


Underscore on the wrong summit.
swNystrom-12.jpg


Me on the correct summit (luckily I was in charge of navigation). Selfie focused north with view of the whole range to the north. This could conceivably be called the most southerly high point in the range and would make a good ending to a High Wind River traverse finishing at the Sweetwater Gap trailhead. Our @kullaberger, his family and new doggie were on East Temple Peak just left of center three days before.
swNystrom-13.jpg


Unobstructed view of the range looking north. Temple, East Temple and Wind River Peak above the skyline in the middle background L to R.
swNystrom-14.jpg


Artsy view of the Little Sandy Lake and its river drainage. Next on the recon list. Big granite towers in this drainage as well.
swNystrom-15.jpg


Hopping back through the boulders...
swNystrom-16.jpg


An idyllic setting in the forest on the Sweetwater Gap trail on the walk out. About half of our walk was trail-less.
swNystrom-17.jpg


Another fantastic Wind Rivers high country location.

Enjoy.

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Eric O

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Apr 12, 2014
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Wow, that's amazing. Thanks for the report. Where is that last picture taken? Absolutely beautiful!
 

isleroyaleguy

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Jan 23, 2014
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Nice report and pics.
Hope to see some more TR'S as we get into summer season.
Only five weeks away for us now.
Thanks for posting.
The rugged beauty of the Wind's never fails to amaze.
Cheers
IRG
 

Artemus

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Jun 25, 2012
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Wow, that's amazing. Thanks for the report. Where is that last picture taken? Absolutely beautiful!
That view is of a little meander-pond in the Sweetwater River 2 or 3 miles from the trailhead.
 

Joey

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Apr 1, 2014
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878
Beautiful pictures Artemus! Sounds like you guys had fun. How are the temps?
 

Artemus

I walk
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Jun 25, 2012
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4,414
Beautiful pictures Artemus! Sounds like you guys had fun. How are the temps?
Thanks pal. We are seeing 70's over 40's at 10K feet - if it isn't raining. You? You been backpacking many nights in Glacier NP?
 

Joey

walking somewhere
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Apr 1, 2014
Messages
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Thanks pal. We are seeing 70's over 40's at 10K feet - if it isn't raining. You? You been backpacking many nights in Glacier NP?
Yea. Taking a day off today. Its been really hot here.
 

slc_dan

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Jun 7, 2012
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Last edited:

Nick

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Aug 9, 2007
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Great report and excellent photos from both of you. I'm a little confused though Dan. Are you saying you were the last one up!? What was it, like 10:30? ;)
 

DrNed

The mountains are calling and I must go
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Mar 31, 2013
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Great shots to you both! @langutah I too love that last shot of the pool. It feels so serene, as to confuse the
passerby of the challenges that lay ahead. @slc_dan I love your shot of the lake through the trees. The combination
of green trees, blue skies and gray rock make the image pop! Well done men. Thank you for sharing.
 

Bob

Trailmaster
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Mar 3, 2013
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2,852
Nice Art...... wanted to go but, other things. Sweetwater is where we started for our Traverse to Green River Lakes TH. I think it's way nice than "Big Sandy" .......

Not many travel here. We never saw anyone till Ice Lake area.
 

Scott Chandler

Wildness is a necessity- John Muir
Joined
Jan 4, 2014
Messages
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I had to compliment you again on capturing the area. I love the pictures. It's amazing how once you hit the boulder fields they remind me of where I am in the Bighorns and yet they stillhave their own flair. You inspire me more to visit the Winds.
 

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