Wind River Mountains Conditions 2018

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Inspired by the Uintas Conditions 2018 Thread and that we will be in there early this year, here is the Windies version for this year. We won’t be in there as early this year since the range had a closer to average snowpack with the northern half being above average.Then again, looking at the data, maybe we will, unfortunately.
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Dreamer

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#2
I fly to Jackson in a couple weeks and plan to start hiking in the Winds on July 3. I know it won’t be anything like last years troubles with tons of snow and water and bugs. I’ll send back info.
 

Dreamer

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#3
Drove to Elkheart Park on Friday morning on my way through. Took a couple iPad pics from the overlook. Looks to be snow free below ~ 10,000’. Heavy mosquito pressure at trailhead. Checked the two registers, dayhikers only to Pine Creek, a handful of parties overnighting on Pole Creek Trail toward Titcomb, though at least one group bailed due to ‘snow’.


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b.stark

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#4
Thanks for the report. Heading out of Elkhart park in a month for titcomb basin area for a short trip.
 

LarryBoy

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#5
I'll be in the range sometime in mid-July ish. Expect some of the higher passes to be snowbound still...
 
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regehr

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#9
This is a sad, sad thing to admit to people like y'all, but I've lived in SLC for 18 years and have been in the Winds zero times. BUT I've carved out a week in early August to backpack with my 13 year old. We've both been perusing the Pallister book and something like route 8 ("best of the southern wind river cirques") seems like it might be a good fit for us. I'd be happy for any feedback on routes. I guess the main things I'm wondering right now are:
  • can we leave the bear spray and bear canisters at home if we're visiting the southern winds?
  • will this be relatively uncrowded? I understand that we'll be in the winds during just about the most popular time of year, but would like a bit of solitude
Thanks!
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b.stark

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#10
Given the popularity of anything within reasonable distance of Big Sandy trailhead, I don't think you'll find true solitude on that route, but going that way may be a bit better than some of your other options. I can't say a whole lot about that area as I've only done one trip out of Big Sandy and spend most of my time in the northern end of the range.

Far as bear canisters and spray go: Any more, I do carry bear spray in the Winds. I've gone for a lot of years without it, but it seems like a good thing to do these days. I've never carried a bear canister in the Winds and don't plan on starting to do so anytime soon. Did buy an Ursack a couple years ago, just to be a bit on the safe side, but I always hang my food in one way or another, even above treeline, and have yet to have problems. The closest I ever came to animal/food problems in the Winds was from marmots.

Far as bears in the southern Winds, this pic was from Hailey Pass last July. They are down there.

 

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#11
I have had a black bear come through camp in the Southern Winds near Valentine Lake. Definitely recommend hanging your food.

- Kyle
 
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1) There are black bears throughout the range and the grizzly bear is now roaming the south too occasionally. Somewhere here I posted a new grizzly range map. I use an Ursack everywhere I can. It is a stuff sack that you can use even in the desert to keep the varmints out so no reason not to always use it, other than the expense to buy it. I still hang the Ursack too and use two for longer trips. So far I only carry pepper spray in the northern half of the range where the grizzly bear is better established and not in the southern range, yet.

2) On the crowds... depends on your tolerance. You will definitely see people in the early and late part of your trip. In the middle, probably not so much.
 
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This is a sad, sad thing to admit to people like y'all, but I've lived in SLC for 18 years and have been in the Winds zero times. BUT I've carved out a week in early August to backpack with my 13 year old. We've both been perusing the Pallister book and something like route 8 ("best of the southern wind river cirques") seems like it might be a good fit for us. I'd be happy for any feedback on routes. I guess the main things I'm wondering right now are:
  • can we leave the bear spray and bear canisters at home if we're visiting the southern winds?
  • will this be relatively uncrowded? I understand that we'll be in the winds during just about the most popular time of year, but would like a bit of solitude
Thanks!
View attachment 65486
Knowing you, you are probably aware that Nancy Pallister is very tough. Some of her off-piste sections can be challenging and technically difficult. Healthy respect and contingency planning might come in handy. Those would be the sections without the crowds. ;)
 

regehr

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#14
Knowing you, you are probably aware that Nancy Pallister is very tough. Some of her off-piste sections can be challenging and technically difficult. Healthy respect and contingency planning might come in handy. Those would be the sections without the crowds. ;)
I didn't know this, but thanks, will take this into account for sure!
 
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I didn't know this, but thanks, will take this into account for sure!
That section going north from Black Joe Lake over the pass she calls Black Joe Pass sounded particularly "Interesting". I have been meaning to get up there and check it out on a recon, for me. Would make for a nice loop.
 
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#16
I hiked up most of the way to the top of the plateau west of Black Joe and it wasn't as issue, and I am pretty risk averse. I have also researched dropping down into Deep Creek Lakes from there and it looks doable if you can find the right route.
 
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I have also been over the pass from Upper Black Joe basin from it to Deep Lake on the south side of Haystack and it wasn't backpack capable. A climbers route to climb on Haystack or Steeple, going by memory.

Good news on you having scouted. I figured. Did you mean the plateau east/southeast of Black Joe? West southwest is Haystack peak and climbing access only.

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#18
From lake 10278 going northeast. I think you are confusing Deep Lake with Deep Creek Lakes that are to the East and south of Black Joe Lake.

I believe that is the route that is in the Nancy book if I recall correctly.

Edit, I said West, meant to say the plateau East of Black Joe.
 
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From lake 10278 going northeast. I think you are confusing Deep Lake with Deep Creek Lakes that are to the East and south of Black Joe Lake.

I believe that is the route that is in the Nancy book if I recall correctly.
I think we could be too but we have to resist confusion. :)

I was sharing about another route to Deep Lake AND Nancy's two routes to Deep Creek Lakes. There is also a third one that some other tough guys descended from Wind River Peak directly into the basin. They didn't recommend it.

I need to pull the book out now too but I remember her route to Deep Creek Lakes over Black Joe lake doing an ascending traverse from the outlet or west side of the lake angling directly up. She has been there a lot so I vaguely remember a route farther east which is the one you indicate. She struggled on the former and I don't remember the difficulty of the latter. Heading to the book....
 
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I need to read more carefully.

I read a trip report from her on some website a while ago where she talked about the section between Black Joe and Deep Creek Lakes. I tried to find it but came up empty handed. I recall it's possible but a little bit tricky to find the right route.
 

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