Wind River Conditions


Original Post
Michael Holland · · Teton Village, WY · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 5

Hey all,

I'm curious what conditions we have out there in the Winds right about now. I'm just back to Wyoming from the Valley in Yosemite and want more big climbs!!!

Tons of snow? I figured. But anyone know of any potential climbs that aren't as deep into the range?

MH

Michael Holland · · Teton Village, WY · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 5

also,

if any of you folks are super psyched about climbing out there in the Winds this summer, let me know! I'll be based in Lander/Tensleep for the summer months.

MH

Sam Lightner, Jr. · · Lander, WY · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 2,330

Tons of snow.

DavisMeschke Guillotine · · Pinedale, WY · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 210

You can drive to all of the major trailheads but getting through the snow drifts in the trees is a different story. Heading into Big Sandy in the next two days to ski, if that gives you an idea of conditions. Deep Lakes and Cirque are both accessible with skis.

There's places other than the Cirque to climb in the Winds... Better in my opinion but it just takes a bit of searching. Green River Lakes is open, lots of climbing up both Clear Creek Canyon and around Slide Lake, both of which are snow free and accessible as of two weeks ago.

The snow line is sitting at 9500-10000 ft depending on the aspect. The snow is somewhat rotten and unconsolidated at lower elevations; oh, and mud. Lots of mud. Runoff is in full swing meaning creek crossings are sketchy this time of year. This will continue until the end of June or so.

Just because there's snow doesn't mean things aren't climbable. Southern facing routes and faces will be dry and ready to do. The days are getting longer as well. The weather for the next 5 days is going to be sunny and 80s, drying things out even more.

Michael Holland · · Teton Village, WY · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 5

thanks fellas!

Miller · · Salt Lake · Joined Jun 2009 · Points: 75

DavisMeschke

would you mind letting me know what the conditions were like heading inot big sandy?

Thanks,

Ross

DavisMeschke Guillotine · · Pinedale, WY · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 210

I went up Sedgwick meadows to ski temple but from the top I could see that the big sandy lake is open. There is still 1-2 ft in the Cirque and deep lakes and it seems like it's gonna be there for a bit. The lakes are still frozen over so the water doesn't have much of a place to go. The snow line seems to be holding steady at 9500-10000 ft still.

CCChanceR Ronemus · · Bozeman, MT · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 125

Is there much beta out there about clear creek lake and slide lake climbing? I can't find much in the Kelsey or betchel book.

DavisMeschke Guillotine · · Pinedale, WY · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 210

Kelsey's book will have the most info. Forlorn Pinnacle and flat top both have enough climbing to keep you busy for an entire summer. And the Bechtel book won't have any information about clear creek or slide lake because his book is about the cirque and deep lakes, a different area.

Just because there isn't route info doesn't mean there isn't a route. Getting to clear lake is an easy 2 hour hike so it easy to base camp for a while and do some exploring.

A-K · · Boulder, CO · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 0

Thanks for the update Davis.

Currently praying to the Sun Gods (Ra, Apollo, Helios etc...) hoping they melt the snow before July 4th!

DavisMeschke Guillotine · · Pinedale, WY · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 210

Headin up that way to ski for the next few days so I'll post about conditions when I get out.

DavisMeschke Guillotine · · Pinedale, WY · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 210

Tried to ski but no snow left! Jackass pass and the climbers trail are both open. The cirque still has snow but is passable. Most faces look nice and dry, although a few of the less sunny aspects are still seeping a bit. All in all I'd say things are good to go for the summer. Mosquitos are in full force - good luck.

I don't want to rain on anyone's parade, but Big Sandy area will be even more crowded than last year; for those that were there last year, this means that parking will be an issue and so will good camping in the cirque. I counted 15 cars on a Thursday/Friday. Please leave the area as good or better than you found it. There are those of us that use the area after the summer crowds leave.

Obviously it is popular for a reason but I promise, if you do a bit of research, you can find other places in the winds with climbing that is just as good or better. If you have questions, let me know and I can point you in the right direction.

stephen arsenault · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 50

Davis,

Thanks for the great info. I wish that I had a 2nd home in Pinedale, since I love the Wind Rivers. Have you ever climbed in the East Fork Valley?

lynne wolfe · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2008 · Points: 25

Arsenault, didn't you put up the Red Dihedral
on Ambush? That's an amazing route, burly at the top.

DavisMeschke Guillotine · · Pinedale, WY · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 210

Stephen, have not climbed in the East Fork Valley. When I moved here, my main motives were to get comfortable in bigger terrain and scrambling.

Contrary to popular belief, the climber population in Pinedale is SMALL; at least the population with the experience to climb the bigger routes here (shameless plug). Obviously lots of people come here for climbing vacations, but my days off don't exactly coincide with the typical Friday thru Sunday weekend.

Anyways, there are some many incredible areas in the Winds. Climbers flock to the Cirque for the availability of high quality concentrated rock, but there are dozens of other areas with rock quality that is on par or better.

If anyone is interested in getting out anytime this summer, please let me know. I have Wednesday's thru Friday's off and am very motivated. I'll probably use this thread to post updates throughout the summer on conditions, etc.

Dmadison · · Logan, UT · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 195

If anyone wants to do anything this Monday and Tuesday in the winds let me know. I have some unexpected days off and just want to get back in the mountains. I'm psyched on anything!

stephen arsenault · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 50

Lynne,

Yes, I put up the "Golden Dihedral" route with Charlie Fowler, and Mike Munger, back in 1975. I just repeated it with my son-in-law, last Sept. Over the years, I put in 5 other routes in that cirque; including the 2- 16 pitch routes, on Raid and Ambush Peak.

The "Old Picnic for Old Men" route, to the left of the Golden Dihedral route, is quite good, but quite burly, in places. Sorry for the spraying.

lynne wolfe · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2008 · Points: 25

You aren't spraying if I asked, right? Good for you for continuing to get after it. Doubtful I will search out "old men" unless I get a new knee.

For other Winds climbers, go check out east faces of Ambush, Raid, and Geikie (pleasant 5.8), and of course the roche moutonee climbs on the little dome (what is its name, damn?). One of the best routes I've done anywhere was the west ridge of Musembeah, but you'll need a rez permit.

DavisMeschke Guillotine · · Pinedale, WY · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 210
lynne wolfe wrote:You aren't spraying if I asked, right? Good for you for continuing to get after it. Doubtful I will search out "old men" unless I get a new knee. For other Winds climbers, go check out east faces of Ambush, Raid, and Geikie (pleasant 5.8), and of course the roche moutonee climbs on the little dome (what is its name, damn?). One of the best routes I've done anywhere was the west ridge of Musembeah, but you'll need a rez permit.
Midsummer Dome.
Miller · · Salt Lake · Joined Jun 2009 · Points: 75

was up there last weekend, I think we were the only climbers in the cirque with no skeets.

I'd expect that to change. Get it!

Gary Stoker · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 215

It's full of Mosquitoes and Black Fly's, I highly recommend Sawyer picaridin cream for your face and hands, it works against black fly's and just regular Mosquito Spray, we also sprayed our rain fly with Permethrin and you can spray that on your clothes as well. We had Mosquito Face nets too, I didn't get bit at all. Though I know some people are weird about bug sprays, those worked for us. Supposedly in middle August the bugs go away. Beautiful Place, we didn't have much time there but it was beautiful the main trail from Elkhart Park was busy the whole time, watch your step the Pack horses go through as a company will bring you and your gear in if you don't want to hike so far. There was no running water or places to throw away trash at Elkhart park, though they have a few primitive restrooms in concrete buildings. We didn't make it to the back-country due to time restraints. This was on the July 4th weekend.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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