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Cloud Peak Wilderness: BigHorn Mountains, Wyoming

Original Post
Griffen Gilbert · · Missoula, MT · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 20

Hey all! I'm looking into a trip into the Cloud Peak Wilderness in Wyoming for some nice remote alpine climbs. I know the beauty and allure of this place is similar to the Asaroka-Beartooths of Montana, in that there isn't much documented climbing of the area, so it helps keep people away (even more reason to make it there!). As I've been doing research I read that there was a guidebook published for the Cloud Peak Wilderness back in 1977.. does anybody happen to have a copy I could buy/borrow for a few weeks! I'd love some more insight on the area if possible. The American Alpine Journal has been my best resource, and I'd love to cross reference and find other information out if possible. 

Cheers, and thanks for the help! 


Skibo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 5
Jonathan Dull · · Boone, NC · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 405

Yeah I heard that place was pretty cool.  

Austin Goff · · Winston-Salem, NC · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 80

Nothing to see here. Best to just visit and not mention.

TKrosbakken · · Duluth, MN · Joined Nov 2008 · Points: 280

Any recent report of snow conditions? i heard there is still a lot up there right now. 

I wanted to get up there this weekend, but am afraid I won't be able to. 

I dont know when this was last updated, but.... 

General Info:
There is 18"-60" of snow throughout the Bighorn Mountain Area at elevations above 9500'.

Our snowpack is currently far above normal. Much of the Cloud Peak Wilderness is difficult to access due to snow and wet conditions. Also, expect a plentiful runoff and water.

Cloud Peak Wilderness Trails:
Many higher elevation Cloud Peak Wilderness trails are buried in substantial snow and ice. There is still 18"+ of snow above 9500', especially in shady and timbered areas.

Lakes above 9500' are still frozen and trails above that elevation will be difficult to traverse. Climbing Cloud Peak or other high elevation mountains will be extremely difficult without snowshoes or skis.

mike gibson · · Rapid City, SD · Joined Jul 2006 · Points: 0

I do have a copy of that old guide book,  see link below,  but you won't find much about the cloud peak area.  The newer guide is to the lower eastern areas -  not in cloud peak wilderness.

As far as cloud peak wilderness climbing goes, some folks (e.g. skinner/piana) have done some routes but nothing remotely near the quality of other areas in wyoming like the wind rivers.  My experience is that if you are really desperate, you can find things to climb there, but the rock is generally choss.

Griffen Gilbert · · Missoula, MT · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 20

mike gibson wrote:

My experience is that if you are really desperate, you can find things to climb there, but the rock is generally choss.

Are you talking kitty litter choss, or just a lot of loose rock choss? 

Thanks for all the insight everyone

mike gibson · · Rapid City, SD · Joined Jul 2006 · Points: 0

Lots of loose rock.  The odd thing that I ran into in the high granite areas is that it was very difficult to find pro placements in solid rock.  Any cracks also meant detached flakes.  One route that was done by skinner/piana on the west side of (Bighorn Peak??) where they drilled bolts for hard moves and ran out the easy 5.8 stuff, but never found much natural pro.  I didnt climb it.  Piana just told me about it.

The one realization that I have finally come to is that the reason nobody has found any good climbing there is because there just isn't any.  And many, much better, climbers than myself have been trying since way before my time.

If there was another Pingora hiding near cloud peak, I dont think it would be a secret. 

Kurt HR Krueger · · Missoula, MT · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 143

As I'm in Msla - I mention I have the eastern bighorn guide.  Have a topo of a couple of alpine routes (about 5.11) in the twin lakes area on the west side.  Also have all the American Alpine Club books going back to 1940.  Climbing magazine has an index for the early years thru the 90's if you want to check that out.  Anyway, get in touch with me if you want to look at any of it.  - Kurt

SPecha · · Gillette, Wyoming · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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