Wind River Mts. 9.7-9.13 2017

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turtle
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Wind River Mts. 9.7-9.13 2017

Post by turtle » September 27th, 2017, 6:42 pm

I've been back a little over a week so I thought I would post a TR. I took off on this trip early on the morning that the Eagle Creek fire started. My first stop was a 4 day tune-up trip in the Wallowas. When I came out from that trip I was stunned/freaked out to hear about the fire. I almost came home at that point because of evacuation fears. On further review I decided that Wyoming was as good of a place as any to be evacuated to so I continued my trip. :)Good plan.

I cut across Idaho on Hwy 20 on the way to Pinedale. I stayed in Arco overnight on a whim. I had dinner at Pickle's Place. The Atomic burger is delicious so I stopped on the way back and had another. Seriously good burger, and nice folks to boot. My two souvenirs were a Pickles T-shirt and a Smoky the Bear coffee cup.

I entered the Winds at Elkhart TH. The nice, tall Ranger lady loaned me bear spray and I had my own old and out of Grizzly certification bear can so I was set and ready to go. I didn't have an itinerary so I just winged it as far as route and distance. I went north on the CDT to Summit Lake by way of Jean lakes and the Elbow lakes. Amazing scenery all the way. Lack of conditioning and altitude was kicking my butt and limiting miles but that gave me more time to stare at the scenery and take pictures. Another good plan. On the return I took 2 days at Island Lake and Titcomb Basin. I had a night of solid rain and one day of overcast skies but mostly the weather Gods took pity on me. The rain chased the light smoke haze. Since I had extra food I was thinking about extending the trip but I heard that snow was in the forecast so I hiked back to the car. This was one of my best trips. Awesome multiplied by 10. Total road miles was about 1800 round trip. Driving through the Gorge late Thursday was surreal. Wyeth was still burning. Pictures of the trip below.
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It took a bit but I figured out how to carry the bear can on my Z-Pack.
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Last day of haze.
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A little out of order...
Summer breezes caressed me, my legs stepped forward as though possessed of their own appetite, and the mountains kept promising. Rebecca Solnit

bushwhacker
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Re: Wind River Mts. 9.7-9.13 2017

Post by bushwhacker » September 30th, 2017, 3:13 pm

My favorite place on the planet. I have done a number of trips over there over the years and still haven't seen all that I would like to see. Sort of like Eagle Cap times five.

Here's looking back at you from the the upper portion of Titcomb Basin:
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And you missed the prime spot to stop on the entire trip:
IMG_0383b.jpg

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retired jerry
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Re: Wind River Mts. 9.7-9.13 2017

Post by retired jerry » September 30th, 2017, 3:22 pm

what about grizzly bears?

what's the best 30 or 40 mile loop? If it was 30 miles I'd probably do some side trips to make it 40 which would be fine by me

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Re: Wind River Mts. 9.7-9.13 2017

Post by texasbb » September 30th, 2017, 6:09 pm

Thanks, turtle, sounds like you had a great time. I did my first Winds trip this year and now need to retire so I can go back again and again and again. Amazing place.

Jerry: You can't even count the 30- or 40-mile loops up there, much less rank them. It's the kind of place you can go into and just go. Take a trail or not. Cross a pass or not. Bag a peak or not. Navigation is easy, route finding can be fun, and oxygenation is a challenge. :)

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turtle
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Re: Wind River Mts. 9.7-9.13 2017

Post by turtle » October 1st, 2017, 5:50 am

Thanks for your replies.

I almost went to the Brewing Pub but went to a Mexican restaurant instead. It was noisy and a little crowded with delicious food. After 7 days on trail noisy and crowded was a good thing.

I think if you use the CDT you can make a huge variety of different loops. If you factor in off-trail the possibilities are endless. As for grizzlies I saw no sign/scat for the trip. I used the Bearvault and the 25 yard triangle-camp, cook, and store food at least 25 yds apart. Most people were just hanging food.

I was in one of the most popular areas. The trail from Elkhart TH to Island Lake can be a bit like a hiker freeway. Other areas are a lot more isolated.

Even with hiking in the Wallowas four days to acclimate I was still affected by the altitude. Hydrate and take it easy until you make some sort of adjustment.

This was my second trip to the Winds; hopefully there will many more. There is a lot of country left to explore.
Summer breezes caressed me, my legs stepped forward as though possessed of their own appetite, and the mountains kept promising. Rebecca Solnit

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retired jerry
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Re: Wind River Mts. 9.7-9.13 2017

Post by retired jerry » October 1st, 2017, 6:02 am

Thanks

Above 10,000 feet bothers me, I'd have to acclimatize, take Ibuprofin, drink extra water,...

Some day I have to do this and a Sierras trip. Lots of excellent places closer which makes it more difficult.

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drm
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Re: Wind River Mts. 9.7-9.13 2017

Post by drm » October 1st, 2017, 6:49 am

Although the Wind River Mts are high altitude, it is possible to put together a route that has fairly minimal altitude gain/loss. They have some very high trailheads there. So that makes handling the altitude at least a little easier, especially if you take your time getting started, maybe car camp a bit before backpacking in. I did a few trips in the Winds many years ago when I lived in Colorado and it was a 6-8 hour drive to trailheads. And for rock climbers it is possibly one of the best wilderness granite climbing ranges in the US, the rock seems less shattered than the Sierra. Lots of long climbs starting at moderate ratings with great exposure. For the rest, they are just amazing to look at.

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retired jerry
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Re: Wind River Mts. 9.7-9.13 2017

Post by retired jerry » October 1st, 2017, 7:31 am

maybe 13 hours from PDX, I wouldn't want to do that in one day

is there anything half way to car camp at altitude? Like in the Boise area?

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drm
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Re: Wind River Mts. 9.7-9.13 2017

Post by drm » October 1st, 2017, 8:23 am

retired jerry wrote:is there anything half way to car camp at altitude?
Nothing at altitude anywhere near half way, but there are some nice state parks off of I84, including on the banks of the Snake River, that you could camp at.

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raveneditions
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Re: Wind River Mts. 9.7-9.13 2017

Post by raveneditions » October 15th, 2017, 9:45 pm

retired jerry wrote:
is there anything half way to car camp at altitude?

Sure! First off, do take Hwy 20 which is a few miles shorter and much nicer.

Go to Ketchum and then northeast across Trail Creek Pass, which has several USFS campgrounds and also dispersed camping.

Or, on rougher roads with far fewer people, cross the next range to the east, the Lost River Range. Go north from Arco to Leslie, then northeast on the gravel road. On the way up you pass a couple of dispersed spots that actually have tables and an outhouse; or for slightly thinner air look for dispersed spots off the ridgetop road at the top of the pass.

From either of those passes you can continue scenically eastward and then get back to highway 20, to avoid backtracking (though backtracking might be faster).
"well man I just don't feel right without something on my back"
—Gary Snyder, back in the day

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