Wind River Range Traverse

Bob

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Mar 3, 2013
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All this talk about the Winds got me going to finish my video. Started our trip at the Sweetwater TH at the south end and finished at the Green River Lakes TH, 13 days and 115 miles later. Goal was to stay as near the Continental Divide ridge as reasonably as possible, mostly off trail. An epic trip, scenery and fishing unrivaled anywhere.......

Watch the video, click it to HD.


Trip Report:

Awesome hike, very long hike 115 miles, South to North traverse, scenery overload on this hike, great fishing, have to summarize a lot. With over 600 photos its hard to pick a few best to post. Acomplished one goal...hike the entire Range, short on another...do it mostly off trail and stay close to the Contiental Divide. Have to finish the Northern part when we can.

Day 1 - Left the Sweetwater TH with clouds, a storm front had just moved thru the day before. Hiked thru a partially burned but now regenerated Lodgepole forest that changed to a mature unburned forest at about the wilderness boundary. Snow flurries by the time we were at the Pass. Great views, massive mountains and green forests. The Middle Popo Agie river meadows were very nice. A steep climb out of the meadows to the first night camp at a unamed lake just below Ice Lake pass and the Ice lakes. A really cold night. Everyone was just getting used to the altitude and hiking.

Day 2 - Boot Lake looked really nice (better for camp), saw lots of fish rising but didn't stop to fish. Fair amount of people on this section including a couple of gals goat packing. The Ice Lake and deep Creek Lake area was very scenic, a lot of BIG country. Trail is really chewed up by horses all the way to and up the North Popo Agie River. Passed quite a few people thru here. Had a really nice campsite at about Papoose Lake right off the main trail, looked to be a horse packer campsite. Trail is really forested so views of the cirques along the canyon were limited.

Day 3 - On to Cirque of the Towers/Lonesome Lake, high clouds all day. A lama packer was camped in Lizard Meadows. Lonesome Lake and the Cirque were nice, a little bit of new snow dusted the peaks. Pingora had about ten climbers on it. Up to Texas Pass, the trail skirts the North side of the Lake in the timber over to a creek then parallels the creek untill it fades in the tundra. The south side of Texas Pass is easy, looking down the North side you wonder about a trail...but there is a faint one through the talus.We had 2" on new snow on the downhill, interesting. Picked up a faint trail on the South side of Texas Lake and Barren Lake, switched to the North side on Billy Lake clear over to the main trail by the outlet of Shadow Lake, (didn't fish any through here). Very scenic area, the back of the Cirque of Towers was better than the Cirque I thought. Ran across a horse packer in here.Very nice trail and scenery all the way to the CDT intersection. A fair climb up on the CDT to Skull Lake and camp at the end of the day. Caught a bunch of 9" Brookies in Skull Lake.


Day 4 - Passed Mae's Lake (very nice) and stopped at Pyramid Lake to fish...no luck in a hour. Headed up past Midsummer Dome to the East Fork. All I can say is WOW, as you crest the low pass you get a view of 2,000 ft cliffs towering over the lakes and the canyon, one of the best views of the trip. On up to Raid Pass (wasn't bad) the dropping down to Bonneville Lake through a pass (a little tougher) and camped by Shelia Lake. The glacier here is great, all the way to the lake and pieces were calving off in the night, by morning there were icebergs. Tried fishing but no luck.

Day 5 - Was going to try the western (lower) pass but decided against it and went to the pass right up from Shelia Lake. Some big rocks here, but not bad scrambling. Very nice waterfall along the route, also a really nice campsite on the bench about halfway up. Did a side trip over to Lake Donna, still had ice on. Headed on down to Lee Lake, caught 5 really nice Golden crosses? there and a bunch a Brookies where Bewmark Lake falls enters Middle Fork Lake. The view back up to Pronghorn and Nylon Peak is outstanding. Followed some game trails to Halls Lake, and the views to the West were great. Made camp and enjoyed some great fishing.

Day 6 - Next morning we hit a Unamed Lake by Medina Mountain, caught a bunch of 12" Goldens and Brookies. Skirted the larger of the Europe Canyon Lakes, caught a half dozen really good 14" Cutts. Europe Canyon is neat, stark, all rock peaks and tundra. Headed on past Long Lake (no luck fishing), Glacier lake (didn't fish here as was getting late), went between two Unamed Lakes and camped at the Unamed Lake just West of Hay Pass. Caught enough 14" Cutts here for dinner, they practically threw themselves on the spinners.
Day 7 - Headed over Hay Pass, decent trail. Very scenic. Didn't fish till Lake Louise (caught none), caught the most beautiful Golden in the Upper Golden Lake (only fished for a short time). Wildflowers were the best by the two Unamed Lakes by Douglas Peak on the way to Camp Lake. Fished here but nothing. Very scenic area.

Day 8 - Started out for Alpine Lake Pass. Made it up to the first Alpine Lake and weather moved in...snow, sleet, rain and WIND. Very nice waterfall/slide. Headed around the SW side but was stopped by a snowfield between the cliff and the Lake. Decided with the weather was best to take the other route (boulderfield of death by the Brown Cliffs) in the morning if the weather broke. Set camp in the rain and it rained all night.

Day 9 - Never broke by noon so we had to retreat back to the West side of the divide if we were to make our pickup on Friday. Booked back to the lake we stayed at on Night 6...bummer. Pretty beat but caught more Cutts for dinner so all was not lost.

Day 10 - Headed for a supposed trail from the North Fork to Timico Lake and found it, saved a bunch of miles. Timico Pass is all Tundra on top, no rocks, very nice. Headed on past Timico lake (didn't fish) to the CDT. We had some miles to make because of the weather delay. The country by Spider Lakes, Angel Pass is great. Stopped at Tommy Lake. Caught a half dozen 9" Brookies here. A Bull Moose ran by camp here...the only animal besides Pikas we saw.

Day 11 - Kept hiking on the CDT past Little Seneca Lake, Jean Lakes (didn't fish), over Shannon Pass and Cube Rock Pass. Seems like the climb up to Shannon pass took all day. Beutiful high alpine/tundra hiking. Cube Rock Pass looked like the interection where a lot of glaciers started...what a jumble. The area around Peak Lake is spectacular. Hiked on to Dale Lake (no fish) for camp.

Day 12 - Headed out down canyon. A rock slide has wiped out part of the trail below Dale Lake but someone has cairned a route. The view down the Green river Canyon is classic. The hike over Vista pass is very scenic. After joining the CDT along Pine Creek views are limited as you return to heavy forest. Some really big spruce trees along this section. You break out of the forest at Three forks park and then you get some great vistas across the Green river Canyon. The Green River itself is a interesting jade color, from the glacial silt.
Pretty much a easy downhill trail all the way. we camped just above the Upper Green River Lake, awesome view back towards Squaretop Mountain.

Day 13 - A easy morning hike to the TH. Went around the West side of Lower Green River Lake, offers good views to the East. About 70% of the trees have been killed by the Mountain Pine Beetle along here. Sadly they are logging an replanting around the Campground and TH. After 2 weeks the truck and real food was refreshing.

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slide.jpg
 

Nick

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Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
12,934
Wow! What a hike! And beautiful photos! I wish I could click through them all individually and read some captions. Do you upload to Picasa or anything? I'm going to have a bunch of questions on your route but I'm packing up for a knee stretcher and don't have the time at the moment. Great stuff!
 

HomerJ

Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2012
Messages
1,199
SO AWESOME!!!! :twothumbs: I loved ever bit of your trip report!!!! I want to do a similar hike some day!!! It was fun watching your video slideshow! Great pics! I recognized quite a few of them, but most of them I'd never been to! I think your shot of Long Lake is identical to mine!

Thanks for posting! Now I'm wanting to go to the Winds right now!
 
Joined
Feb 11, 2012
Messages
125
:drool:

bob. where is this "wind river range" you speak of? Gates of the Arctic? Mackenzie Mountains Complex? Northern Canadian Shield?


i think you have just proven that there exists a range within a range up in the windy's. shangri-la?

i'll add: the only true wilderness experiences these days are found off-trail.
 

Bob

Trailmaster
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Messages
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lol....................only pictures will I give..............just get away from the CDT/highline or stay East :twothumbs:
 

TannerT

Hike Hard, Tread Lightly
Joined
May 15, 2013
Messages
589
The traverse of the Winds has been on my bucket list for quite some time and this trip looked epic. Thank you so much for sharing. The Winds are, next to the sierras, the most photogenic backcountry I've ever been in. The clouds, the sky, the forever tall mountains, bathed in water and trees. The video is awesome. Man, this TR has got me jonesin' for a big multi-day extravaganza. Thanks again Bob.
 

Artemus

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Joined
Jun 25, 2012
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You fixed it! Working both places now.... Thanks, obiwon-kenobi!
 

Bob

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Mar 3, 2013
Messages
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Thanks Nick :)
 

Artemus

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Joined
Jun 25, 2012
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Great route and great report Bob! Was your "boulder field of death by the Brown Cliffs" called Bloody Hell Pass perchance? This answers my question in the other thread, you HAVE wrapped around the whole north side of Mt. Victor including Long Lake. Are there any trees (maybe short ones like krumholtz) on that north side for a multi-night camp?
 
Last edited:

Artemus

I walk
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Joined
Jun 25, 2012
Messages
4,414
Great route and great report Bob! Was your "boulder field of death by the Brown Cliffs" called Bloody Hell Pass perchance? This answers my question in the other thread, you HAVE wrapped around the whole north side of Mt. Victor including Long Lake. Are there any trees (maybe short ones like krumholtz) on that north side for a multi-night camp?
@Bob, did you see this question regarding the north side of Victor?
 

Bob

Trailmaster
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Messages
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Boulder field of death is by the lake on the west below the brown cliffs...

Don't remember many trees there... Europa canyon has trees around
 
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