Winds in Early August


May 8, 2019
With the airfare being extremely low I just pulled the trigger on tickets for my daughter and I. I was looking to start a later I August but my daughter has to be back by the 14th. I know this is a little risky but I will not travel and eat the airfare if there is a risk to traveling. So with that said, we will be flying into Denver and will take a rental car to Elkhart Trail head. First question- Will an compact car make it to the trail head or is it too rough? We plan on heading to Cook Lakes then off trail north to the back side of Wall lake and hitting the pass and down the drainage to Island Lake. From there we will head to Titcomb basin to Knapsack Col and down the Green River basin to Peak Lake. Second question- How rough is the navigation through the rockslide on the north side of the lake? Third question- Will we need our axes for the passes in early August? We will then head South and back out. We will have 8 days to get this done. Last question-Do you think this is doable for a 50 year old man and his 20 year old daughter in halfway decent shape( not over weight and exercise a few times a week).
Elkhart TH is fine with passenger vehicle

Regarding the difficulty level... I have no idea how much experience you have, but based on the way you asked, I'm guessing this might be a bit much for you. I've never done that exact route but I think parts (e.g., Knapsack Col) are supposed to be fairly difficult. I've done the portion of your route up to Titcomb (Cook Lakes to Wall Lake to Indian Basin to Island Lake/Titcomb) and it wasn't the toughest hiking I've done but it wasn't at all easy either. Snow in that portion of your route shouldn't be a problem in mid-August of a typical year, but I'm not sure about the other portions (Knapsack Col and such). I personally wouldn't attempt this route if you don't have previous off-trail experience, and I also probably wouldn't attempt it with a beginning pack weight of over 35-ish pounds (others may disagree!).

Even though I'm guessing this might be harder than you want, I would still go for it! Just have a backup plan (or a few of them) so you can wing it once you're there. If you don't have the Pallister book yet, go buy it, and then you'll have plenty of ideas and info for the difficulty level. Most of those basins out there are super nice so you'll have a blast! 8 days in the Winds in August sounds like heaven!
Hey Ryan, Thanks for the reply. You are correct, I do not have experience in the west. I have experience off trail in Western Carolina Mtns and hiked quite a bit at elevations around 4000’. My base weight is 12#. With that said I do not want this trip to be so difficult that my daughter does not enjoy herself. We are flexible and do not have to stick to any plan. This is why I came here to ask. I am really looking forward to this trip and most likely will skip Knapsack and explore Titcomb and Indian Basins .
Bypass knapsack col...go around the other way... It's just as scenic
The route from Cook Lakes to Wall and then over Wall - Island Pass is pretty straightforward and easily done by someone with little off trail experience IMO. There are all sorts of videos on Youtube showing Knapsack and Peak lake. Have a great trip.
I am hoping that airlines don't eliminate so many flights that it makes it incredibly difficult to get there. But, kudos for taking the risk! I'm already locked in at much higher rates.

Make sure you give yourself plenty of acclimation time. Big difference between 4000 and 10000 ft. Early Aug will still require a lot of bug spray.

Drive to Elkhart is no issue. Finding a parking spot - maybe. Stay high on the crux as you navigate Wall Lake. It's not bad at all, but I wouldn't do it in a storm as it's quite exposed. Snow should not be a major issue, even on Knapsack. Microspikes could help. Check conditions with Great Outdoor Shop or here as the departure date gets close.

You can't go wrong in the Winds. It's all good.
That boulder field above Peak Lake wasn't as bad as it looks. Steep, but not too unstable. It's only a couple hundred yards across at most and there's an obvious path leading down to lake level again. I was walking across this boulder field when a ranger started walking towards me from the other side with only an ax in his hands. He asked where I was headed and he was on his way... but I should have asked him where he came from, because he was a long way from anything that required an ax!

Titcomb and Indian Basins are awesome! You'll love it, everywhere you go is going to be jaw dropping, especially your first time.

Indian Basin, 2014:

Thanks to everyone for your replies. My daughter and I cannot wait until August. This will be a great time to spend with her and an great place to spend it.
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