trip report: Wind River Range – Ross Lakes, Bear Basin, Grasshopper Glacier, & Dinwoody Creek loop, Aug-Sep 2020

travel2walk

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Mar 1, 2018
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Inspired by @Bob , Joey, et al, we headed off trail into Norther Wind River Range early last September. This is an abridged trip report of our hike, you can find our detailed and very long report on my website (travel2walk.com) that includes our planning, research, gps track, day by day details, and a video that will post when I finish editing it.

At one point on our eight day hike, we set up our tent on a bluff overlooking a turquoise colored lake. No matter how often I’ve encountered them, they seem so surreal every time still. Across from us was the terminus of Connie Glacier spilling down into the lake. The funny thing was, we joked that probably the closest person from our five star camp this evening was at least 5 hour, 5 miles, or at least another valley away from us. We were roughly 1 to 2 days of tough and technical travel across talus & scree from the nearest trail, making those prospects not surprising at all.

On theme with my favorite hikes in the world, there was plenty of big ice on trips. Part of the reason I love seeing them is because of the contrast they give to the mountains. Additionally there rarely is a dull moment on this hike, every section was something new and something to see. When I think back to the hike, and really when I was trying to decide the lead picture of this report, there isn’t a one spot that defined the hike. It was a full experience through and through. Yes, going off trail makes our hiking speed slow, but so does stopping every few steps to marvel at what’s around us. We saw waterfalls running down the mountain side into wide open lakes and lakes that seem to have their own gradient of color. We crossed the barren and windswept continental divide and scrambled on talus fields following many cascading streams. Even when we were hiking on a trail, we were accompanied by open meadows and milky glacial rivers.

Even though we were very fortunate with the weather, it was still a very challenging hike. The weight I picked up during COVID probably didn't help. Challenges included dodging branches bushwhacking around upper Ross Lake, trying to navigate our way on the continental divide with my novice skills when there wasn't much landmarks to go off of, or the endless scree and talus fields. Overall, it was a still great off trail learning experience.

The hike beat us up and I look forward to returning.

Hike Details
date of hike: Aug 30 - Sep 6, 2020
type: off trail loop
distance: 61.4 miles (98.8 km)
elevation change: 12,507 ft (3,812 m)
time: 8 days (39:08 hours moving)
location: Glacier Trailhead, Fitzpatrick Wilderness, Shoshone National Forest, Wind River Range, near Dubois, Wyoming, USA (google map directions)

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Pictures

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Jeremy C

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Aug 27, 2014
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Oh wow that is one heck of a trip! That second last picture for me would have made the whole trip worth it, alpine meadow at sunset/sunrise with a meandering stream, just perfect!
 

travel2walk

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Oh wow that is one heck of a trip! That second last picture for me would have made the whole trip worth it, alpine meadow at sunset/sunrise with a meandering stream, just perfect!
Lol, yea that part of our hike was pretty much an afterthought and I was surprised to see how awesome the Dinwoody Creek drainage was. I hadn't heard much about it going in and was mostly focused on all the off trail stuff.
 

b.stark

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Nice trip. Really need to get back up into that high country again sometime. Rough country but I like it.
 

Bob

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Great you had a good trip. Always hesitant to pass out routes... I never know what experience people have for interesting type of trips. Looks like your weather was good.. last year Joey and I spent 5 nites in the dinwoody....weather came in and stopped us from our trip to horse ridge and glacier panorama.... But was nice in there taking it easy. Connie glacier and across grasshopper is among my favorites in the winds.... Did you soak sun on the beach at rocking horse?
 

travel2walk

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Great you had a good trip. Always hesitant to pass out routes... I never know what experience people have for interesting type of trips. Looks like your weather was good.. last year Joey and I spent 5 nites in the dinwoody....weather came in and stopped us from our trip to horse ridge and glacier panorama.... But was nice in there taking it easy. Connie glacier and across grasshopper is among my favorites in the winds.... Did you soak sun on the beach at rocking horse?
Thanks Bob again for all the info on the hike. Yea, the weather is such a wildcard for the route with so much of it above tree line and we were very lucky. Was it the Labor Day storm last year that stopped y'all? I heard that storm was pretty rough on the west side of the divide. I think I mentioned earlier, that entire Dinwoody creek section was unexpectedly picturesque.

We didn't do the beach at rocking horse, I really liked the slab and the waterfall/cascade that drains into Rocking Horse. So that's where we had lunch. I actually wasn't aware of that beech, will have to spend more time in around that flat next time.
 

Bob

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Thanks Bob again for all the info on the hike. Yea, the weather is such a wildcard for the route with so much of it above tree line and we were very lucky. Was it the Labor Day storm last year that stopped y'all? I heard that storm was pretty rough on the west side of the divide. I think I mentioned earlier, that entire Dinwoody creek section was unexpectedly picturesque.

We didn't do the beach at rocking horse, I really liked the slab and the waterfall/cascade that drains into Rocking Horse. So that's where we had lunch. I actually wasn't aware of that beech, will have to spend more time in around that flat next time.
Yep.... That the storm... That waterfall is nice. Beach is on the east side. .. great view to west...good spot for camp if wind is light ....
Hiking down dinwoody is Very scenic. Up canyon from where you camp out looks like out of alaska with the view up to gannet peak....
 

travel2walk

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Yep.... That the storm... That waterfall is nice. Beach is on the east side. .. great view to west...good spot for camp if wind is light ....
Hiking down dinwoody is Very scenic. Up canyon from where you camp out looks like out of alaska with the view up to gannet peak....
Yea, we were looking to get out before that storm, which is why we were booking it down Dinwoody. Will have to plan for more time next time. How bad was the storm for y'all?
 
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Hiker Seth

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I've recently watched the video that inspired this trip a few times. Looking to make a route out of Green River that spans both sides of the divide. Thanks for the impressive trip report on your website.
 
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travel2walk

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I've recently watched the video that inspired this trip a few times. Looking to make a route out of Green River that spans both sides of the divide. Thanks for the impressive trip report on your website.
Hopefully the report can help you in your planning. There are several routes from Green River and the Pallister book outlines them well. One of our options to meet our friends at the end of the trip was going by Baker Lake, Elbow Lake, Lost Eagle Peak, Slide Creek, and out to Green Rivers. We would have met them perhaps around Lost Eagle Peak. But logistically it was easier just to have them meet up along Dinwoody Creek on a trail rather than planning to run into them off trail.
 

Bob

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Yea, we were looking to get out before that storm, which is why we were booking it down Dinwoody. Will have to plan for more time next time. How bad was the storm for y'all?
Holed up at one camp 3 nites. Then cut trip short. Had 50-60mph winds everyday. Did a couple day hikes and stayed in camp. We were headed to the lake on Horse ridge, bagged that...its just under 13,000 ft there, wind would have been fiecrce. Did talk to someone who came over Blaurock pass....said it was wild....
 

Bob

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I've recently watched the video that inspired this trip a few times. Looking to make a route out of Green River that spans both sides of the divide. Thanks for the impressive trip report on your website.
I can send you my travers track from 2009. Went from Sweetwater to Green River. Its across both sides and stays near the divide.
 

travel2walk

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Holed up at one camp 3 nites. Then cut trip short. Had 50-60mph winds everyday. Did a couple day hikes and stayed in camp. We were headed to the lake on Horse ridge, bagged that...its just under 13,000 ft there, wind would have been fiecrce. Did talk to someone who came over Blaurock pass....said it was wild....
That sounds a bit less enjoyable. Glad you were safe through that. We saw a group going for Gannett on our way out and another that was just starting a week long hike. Wondered how they faired afterwards.

I'd also be interested in our Sweetwater to Green River Traverse, add it to future ideas in the winds. :)
 

Bob

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Here you go...... blue trk is actual (the one with red round markers...... My slide show of it is on utube.... under bobb169.
 

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Yea, pretty easy to get out there since no need for permits. We decided on the Winds a few days out, saw it was the only place not on fire last year and that made our decision.
That is great. I'm in Northern California, so it is a drive. Yea, I felt like almost every day last summer and into fall was smokey. At my house lols! Delayed or canceled most of my trips. Rough year and we are likely to have more. Apologies ahead of time because our smoke tends to head north east. And hey there's Bob, literary just watched a video of him and Joey yesterday. Again, thanks for sharing.
 

travel2walk

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That is great. I'm in Northern California, so it is a drive. Yea, I felt like almost every day last summer and into fall was smokey. At my house lols! Delayed or canceled most of my trips. Rough year and we are likely to have more. Apologies ahead of time because our smoke tends to head north east. And hey there's Bob, literary just watched a video of him and Joey yesterday. Again, thanks for sharing.
Yea, I had another flight booked out to California as another options last year. Pretty easy to change and cancel with SW.

No need to apologize, I feel for y'all with all the fires. I had a friend I met on the JMT that was evacuated last year.

Seems like early season and fighting the snow is the better option these days for the mountains out there.
 
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