Wind Rivers - 2014 - Part 2

Bob

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Day 5 – Sunny in the morning but the weather report was bad. Plan change number ? We needed a LONG day of GOOD weather to make it over Blaurock Pass (up and down about 2500 ft vertical) and about 4 miles. Not to happen with the forecast. We decided to head south over Bloody Hell Pass and the Valley of Death towards Camp Lake. Below Bloody Hell Pass we saw a bunch of Bighorns. At the top of the Pass we hit really strong winds, all the way till camp. Set up camp on a knoll (bad idea but only soft flat ground). That nite we think the winds were sustained at 30 mph and gusts to 50 mph as the tents kept getting laid over flat….. not much real good sleep.
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Day 6 – Finally into lakes with Golden’s, but WIND and whitecaps so fishing was a big ZERO. When we decided to go to a lake in Bull Lake Creek, blazing a new route, the rain started again. Headed out and followed the creek down. The creek had really nice waterfalls along it and small pools with big trout. We didn’t fish as we wanted to get to the lake before we were soaked. When we got to the lake and the rain quit. Since we were at the inlet I couldn’t resist trying my luck fishing again. Casting into a 30 mph wind gusts you don’t know where anything is going. After a few casts, BAM, almost pulled me off my rock cause I wasn’t paying attention….GOLD ! Two casts later, lost the lure so we head out to find a camp site before it started raining again. Found a nice one in the spruce, had dinner. Tried fishing some more but zero luck. Fresh black bear tracks in the mud along the shore. We started a decent fire and 10 minutes later…. rain, snow, hail, sleet, I’d guess almost all nite long.
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Day 7 – Woke up to just clouds and wind, hurried and packed and headed up and out to Camp lake. Missed the saddle we wanted and went up a different cirque (was easy going but was 200 ft higher). Saw a raghorn bull elk at the top, looked like his home. Rain started again…..headed down and hit the trail to Hay Pass. The story going over the first pass to get to the Golden lakes chain basin was rain and wind AGAIN, cold wind this time then snow. Found a really nice camp under the shelter of some big trees. Tried some fishing with no luck again. Got a fire going, the rain finally quit and we dried out.
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Day 8 – Sunny. While finishing drying out and packing the only person we saw on the East side went by on his way out. Plan change again, decided just to head to Elkhart before the next weather in two days. We headed out, up and over Hay Pass. Stopped at the lake that was hot fishing 5 years ago…all we caught were weeds/plants, must have winter killed because there was not a fish in sight. Took the old cutoff trail to Timico Lk, went across the CDT and continued to the Chain lks,a long day of about 12 miles, the longest of the trip. Didn’t fish, too tired. Warning: Filtered lake water tasted like moss. Heavy frost inside and outside of the tent.
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Day 9 – Wanted to make Elkhart so we took off running. First time I was actually in the lead and the others didn’t catch me till I stopped to cross Pole Creek… they were amazed (pack was way lighter, LOL). Uneventful hiking, nice in the timber and a few nice lakes but nothing spectacular in the way of scenery. Hiked the same trail from Eklund lake to Elkhart TH……with a lot of people. Then to pick up the other truck and to eat at WRB…..ribs are great.
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Overall even with the weather it was a good trip. We have had so many with good weather the odds caught us on this one. Bummer was didn’t get to the glaciers and no real fishing to speak of. Most of the new areas we did hit with good weather. Guess it will have to be another trip. Best of all no one got hurt. I will post the track and a slide show in resources.

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Bob

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The one Golden. Most all the lakes had whitecaps the entire time we were hiking..... except last two days when we were back out in the flats.
 

Artemus

I walk
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Jun 25, 2012
Messages
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Bloody Hell Bob! You DID go down over Bloody Hell Pass as I did heading south. So, you say that the small boulder choked valley below those two small lakes below Bloody Hell is called the Valley of Death? Why, because that guy perished in there? Is was sure sobering walking by where he had been trapped and expired. Could see how it could happen. Your pic shows those steep slopes with huge boulders, many of them rockers, next to the lake shore. Where have you heard that name?

Looks like the Winds let loose on you. I was at home shaking my head looking at the map of your planned progress listening to the rain on my metal roof and coming down ALL OVER the mtn west. You are tough, mister. I would have probably bailed when I saw the upcoming forecast sitting in the truck at the trailhead. Well photographed. Impressive. Thanks for the account!
 
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Bob

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Joined
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Thought people should see what it looks like. Not super tough but you have to be REAL careful.
Don't know where I saw the name. I think it was named that in the article about the poor guy I saw.
 

Artemus

I walk
.
Joined
Jun 25, 2012
Messages
4,414
Thought people should see what it looks like. Not super tough but you have to be REAL careful.
Don't know where I saw the name. I think it was named that in the article about the poor guy I saw.
I agree that you have to be eyes-wide-open. This is one place I don't think I would like to solo - even out of all the backcountry places I've seen and soloed in the Windies. You are probably talking about that backpacker magazine article about the guy. That is still available online and the link is somewhere around here on BCP.

The Valley of Death is probably a suitable name in that the valley below the lakes and at the lakes is one of the most time consuming and irritating large boulder and bush thrashes I've ever been on. If it was wet and slippery it would 3x more difficult and slow and if it had three inches of fresh snow it would be impassable. And the Valley had very, very few campsites anywhere in it. Underneath the Brown Cliffs - these cliffs and the Fortress have rock climbing routes on them. Amazing. Way out in the boonies.
 

isleroyaleguy

Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2014
Messages
167
View attachment 19727 Day 5 – Sunny in the morning but the weather report was bad. Plan change number ? We needed a LONG day of GOOD weather to make it over Blaurock Pass (up and down about 2500 ft vertical) and about 4 miles. Not to happen with the forecast. We decided to head south over Bloody Hell Pass and the Valley of Death towards Camp Lake. Below Bloody Hell Pass we saw a bunch of Bighorns. At the top of the Pass we hit really strong winds, all the way till camp. Set up camp on a knoll (bad idea but only soft flat ground). That nite we think the winds were sustained at 30 mph and gusts to 50 mph as the tents kept getting laid over flat….. not much real good sleep.
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Day 6 – Finally into lakes with Golden’s, but WIND and whitecaps so fishing was a big ZERO. When we decided to go to a lake in Bull Lake Creek, blazing a new route, the rain started again. Headed out and followed the creek down. The creek had really nice waterfalls along it and small pools with big trout. We didn’t fish as we wanted to get to the lake before we were soaked. When we got to the lake and the rain quit. Since we were at the inlet I couldn’t resist trying my luck fishing again. Casting into a 30 mph wind gusts you don’t know where anything is going. After a few casts, BAM, almost pulled me off my rock cause I wasn’t paying attention….GOLD ! Two casts later, lost the lure so we head out to find a camp site before it started raining again. Found a nice one in the spruce, had dinner. Tried fishing some more but zero luck. Fresh black bear tracks in the mud along the shore. We started a decent fire and 10 minutes later…. rain, snow, hail, sleet, I’d guess almost all nite long.
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View attachment 19740 Day 7 – Woke up to just clouds and wind, hurried and packed and headed up and out to Camp lake. Missed the saddle we wanted and went up a different cirque (was easy going but was 200 ft higher). Saw a raghorn bull elk at the top, looked like his home. Rain started again…..headed down and hit the trail to Hay Pass. The story going over the first pass to get to the Golden lakes chain basin was rain and wind AGAIN, cold wind this time then snow. Found a really nice camp under the shelter of some big trees. Tried some fishing with no luck again. Got a fire going, the rain finally quit and we dried out.
View attachment 19741
View attachment 19742 Day 8 – Sunny. While finishing drying out and packing the only person we saw on the East side went by on his way out. Plan change again, decided just to head to Elkhart before the next weather in two days. We headed out, up and over Hay Pass. Stopped at the lake that was hot fishing 5 years ago…all we caught were weeds/plants, must have winter killed because there was not a fish in sight. Took the old cutoff trail to Timico Lk, went across the CDT and continued to the Chain lks,a long day of about 12 miles, the longest of the trip. Didn’t fish, too tired. Warning: Filtered lake water tasted like moss. Heavy frost inside and outside of the tent.
View attachment 19744
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View attachment 19746 Day 9 – Wanted to make Elkhart so we took off running. First time I was actually in the lead and the others didn’t catch me till I stopped to cross Pole Creek… they were amazed (pack was way lighter, LOL). Uneventful hiking, nice in the timber and a few nice lakes but nothing spectacular in the way of scenery. Hiked the same trail from Eklund lake to Elkhart TH……with a lot of people. Then to pick up the other truck and to eat at WRB…..ribs are great.
View attachment 19747
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Overall even with the weather it was a good trip. We have had so many with good weather the odds caught us on this one. Bummer was didn’t get to the glaciers and no real fishing to speak of. Most of the new areas we did hit with good weather. Guess it will have to be another trip. Best of all no one got hurt. I will post the track and a slide show in resources.

Featured image for home page:
View attachment 19753

Great stuff Bob
I sure would like to join you guys on a Winds trip someday.
Sorry to miss you on the trail.
Look forward to more Winds reports from you all.
IRG

Doug
 

slc_dan

Desert Rat-Weekend Warrior
Joined
Jun 7, 2012
Messages
1,686
Cool trip. I love the look of that tight granite canyon in pics 6 and 7.

famous quote I'm certainly not the first to use " The Alpinist may intend, but the weather decides". - René Mailleux
 

Bob

Trailmaster
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Messages
2,852
Oops looks like pic got it twice. Yes barely over the top. The next three are various spots going down into the 'Valley'. The fourth is looking back up.
 
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