Wind River High Route

Kullaberg63

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Mar 6, 2014
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I'm sure many of you have seen AdventureAlan's site ( http://www.adventurealan.com/WRHR/ ) profiling a rugged route from Green River Lakes to Big Sandy. Or maybe some of our members have done the trip? Maybe Alan is a poster here?

Either way, we had hardly any experience with the Winds before going to Wyoming for work this summer. Sonja backpacked somewhere in the range 20 years ago. This July we packrafted the upper Green and bagged a peak not far in. What those trips did do was getting us ready for more.

Flawless granite rivaling the Sierra's, but somehow more sinister and foreboding than the walls found in the Range of Light. Rugged post glaciated basins seemingly straight from the Cascades. And all that goodness mixed with the typical unstable weather patterns of the northern Rockies. A good recipe for attracting our attention.

Fully immersed in work for the month of July, we only had a few hours on the drive to Pinedale to come up with a trip. An Internet search for something else led us to the site mentioned above, and since Alan gives the option to download some reasonably detailed maps to our phone we decided that it probably would serve us well as an introduction to the inner range.

Furious weather was forecasted for day 2 and 3 so we decided to reverse the route and take the hits on the lower middle section instead of the climax of Knife Point Glacier. This worked out as well as 40 mph winds and driving hail and rain can in the backcountry.

Besides that we stuck to Alan's itinerary. The descriptions and maps from the site are spot on. It took us six days and we camped in the following locations: Shadow Lake, Middle Fork Lake, 'Crap Camp' lake, upper Alpine Lake and below the Stroud glacier. The amount of large talus and the efforts to deal with it should not be dismissed. A few of those remote lake traverses are very time consuming and laborious, bordering on expeditions in themselves.

The ice and snow portions obviously vary with the seasons, but currently should go without spikes. We did carry two axes and a set of crampons between the three of us and felt it allowed more freedom in local route choices. The dog had no issues with any of the challenges thrown at him, even with a pack on, but this young hound is spectacularly agile. I would think twice before flat out recommending this route safe for dogs. Again the car sized talus is the issue.

All together a fantastic route. Undoubtedly there's more remote areas and bigger glaciers elsewhere, especially north and east of Knapsack col, but as a first dig into these attractive mountains we surely were in awe.

More pics to come!


Readying to climb the Knife Point Glacier to Indian Pass, day 5.


Camp under the Stroud Glacier, official source of the Green River.


Dinner at the outlet to Upper Alpine Lake. About as remote and hard to get to mountain location as I've been to in many years. Alpine Col, the first goal of the the following morning, in the background.


Stormy and rainy times under Pronghorn Peak, day 3


Camp Lake, from where the complex 6 hour climb to Alpine Col started. Douglas Peak above us.


Day 2, on the way to the first pass after Pyramid Lake. Pre-rain gloom.

image by jan nikolajsen, on Flickr
Not all of the route was high alpine glory. Here bushwhacking rain-soaked willows for seemingly ever along massive Middle Fork Lake.

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Artemus

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Jun 25, 2012
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woot! Kullaberger you are crushing it. Second trip to the range. That's great. There are several incarnations of the High Route. What's his name has another one. I have to go remember who now. He has been talked about and responded here. I think Nancy Pallister is working on a new one too.

I've done some long routes too - one 82 miles and documented here. Not sure I want to do this full enchilada - mostly because I like zigzagging about more. Well done, mister.

Now you see why this is my most loved range - as a granite lover and backcountry traveler and climber. The Sierra are close behind and only behind because of the 15 hour drive and the permit-causing hordes.
 

Blake Merrell

Life Elevated - Rising Higher
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Feb 25, 2013
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Can't wait to do this route. That website has been huge in helping me plan my route we are doing next week
 

Kullaberg63

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Mar 6, 2014
Messages
543
Thanks guys. And, yes, Art's enthusiasm for the Winds was part of my drive to visit this summer.

More pics:


In the middle third of the route relatively low terrain, 10500-11000', and few prominent features challenged us a bit with route finding.


Dwarfed below Pronghorn Peak, after crossing a pass with name we never were aware of.


Searching for the 4th class downclimb Alan calls the 'Exit Crack'. When the correct route was located it turned out to be no big deal.


Siphoning fresh rain water.


After the sun sets at a cold alpine camp, what else do you do but pace impatiently?


Testing my weak arms against super inflated chips bags. Obviously early in the trip while supplies were still plentiful.


At remote Camp Lake, among trees denser than anything on the West side at that elevation.


On day 3 the rain and wind was so cold and miserable that lunch developed into a warming nap session.


Descending the north side of Alpine Col, with the next crossing, Indian pass, visible between Knife Point and Jackson.


Sonja on one of many little steps leading around the more tricky lake traverses. Many times we thought if the extra weight of packrafts would actually be saving us in the long run.


Titcomb Basin

image by jan nikolajsen, on Flickr
The final climb up to Knapsack Col. The east side is completely without trail but comparatively small talus makes it less of a toil. Which was good, as this was the third 12000'+ pass of day 5.


Bjorn playing with the camera. Dinner sludge.

image by jan nikolajsen, on Flickr
Trying our luck at hitchhiking after the long trudge out along the Green River. It was late and very few cars were leaving. Eventually a family already cramped in a compact SUV happily squeezed us in.
 
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Artemus

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Jun 25, 2012
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4,400
Thanks guys. And, yes, Art's enthusiasm for the Winds was part of my drive to visit this summer.

More pics:


In the middle third of the route relatively low terrain, 10500-11000', and few prominent features challenged us a bit with route finding.


Dwarfed below Pronghorn Peak, after crossing a pass with name we never were aware of.


Searching for the 4th class downclimb Alan calls the 'Exit Crack'. When the correct route was located it turned out to be no big deal.


Siphoning fresh rain water.


After the sun sets at a cold alpine camp, what else do you do but pace impatiently?


Testing my weak arms against super inflated chips bags. Obviously early in the trip while supplies were still plentiful.

image by jan nikolajsen, on Flickr
At remote Camp Lake, among trees denser than anything on the West side at that elevation.
Great! That col next to pronghorn is unnamed afaik. Did the prominent arête on pronghorn, the Antelope Arête, entice you? Very nice climb. And the south ridge of Nylon right there to the east is a great mountaineering route too.
 

Artemus

I walk
.
Joined
Jun 25, 2012
Messages
4,400
Thanks guys. And, yes, Art's enthusiasm for the Winds was part of my drive to visit this summer.

More pics:


In the middle third of the route relatively low terrain, 10500-11000', and few prominent features challenged us a bit with route finding.


Dwarfed below Pronghorn Peak, after crossing a pass with name we never were aware of.


Searching for the 4th class downclimb Alan calls the 'Exit Crack'. When the correct route was located it turned out to be no big deal.


Siphoning fresh rain water.


After the sun sets at a cold alpine camp, what else do you do but pace impatiently?


Testing my weak arms against super inflated chips bags. Obviously early in the trip while supplies were still plentiful.


At remote Camp Lake, among trees denser than anything on the West side at that elevation.

image by jan nikolajsen, on Flickr
On day 3 the rain and wind was so cold and miserable that lunch developed into a warming nap session.
Kettle chips WAY into the backcountry. Your arms may be weak but your back is not. :). Unless the doggie carried them.
 

Blake Merrell

Life Elevated - Rising Higher
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Feb 25, 2013
Messages
593
When was this trip? I am leaving to do a 60 mile loop route near Titcomb on Monday. part of our route will take us over Knife Point Glacier.
 

Kullaberg63

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Joined
Mar 6, 2014
Messages
543
When was this trip? I am leaving to do a 60 mile loop route near Titcomb on Monday. part of our route will take us over Knife Point Glacier.
Came out two days ago. Currently sitting in the library in Pinedale.

What's your route?

This one was 88 miles, 16500', 40 hours moving time. 6 days didn't leave much time to chill, but our pace wasn't fast either.
 

Blake Merrell

Life Elevated - Rising Higher
Joined
Feb 25, 2013
Messages
593
we will be going into Titcomb basin for a few nights, then over Indian Pass to Alpine Lakes. then possibly over Tiny Glacier to Wall lake and back to car at Elkhart.

here is a map: http://caltopo.com/m/535V

How was the hiking through Alpine Lakes area? Ice Axe recomended? crampons?
 

Blake Merrell

Life Elevated - Rising Higher
Joined
Feb 25, 2013
Messages
593
Flickr just died on me.
Anyhow, the KP glacier was pretty straightforward, with traction devices merely handy but not essential.
when I clicked on it, it took me to the pic. Thanks for that :) I can't wait for monday to be here!!!! your pictures look amazing. I am thrilled I get to see some of it. This will be my first time into the winds as well.

Thanks for the info about the glacier climb. I think i will still bring my axe, but probably leave my crampons home then.
 

Kullaberg63

Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2014
Messages
543
Great! That col next to pronghorn is unnamed afaik. Did the prominent arête on pronghorn, the Antelope Arête, entice you? Very nice climb. And the south ridge of Nylon right there to the east is a great mountaineering route too.
Would like to explore that angle of the Winds too. Kinda told myself a few years back that my technical rock days are over. But we'll see.
 

Bob

Trailmaster
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Messages
2,605
Nice ......you covered a lot of terrain we covered on our traverse in 09 we did 110 miles....the alpine lk area is rough
 
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