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Titcomb Basin + Fremont Peak + Eclipse


Original Post
Boots Ylectric · · Chicago IL · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 165

I've been tentatively planning a roadtrip out to Wyoming ever since earlier this year when someone told me about the August eclipse.  I had originally planned to head for the Tetons, and just do a car to car to get a good vantage point to see the eclipse somewhere high up in the range.  I'm familiar with the area, and Garnet Canyon, so it seemed like the wisest choice, given that there are some definite time constraints. The downside being that the area is going to be overrun with tourists, and my options on camping etc. will be severely limited.

This led me to look to the Wind River Range, specifically the Titcomb Basin and Fremont Peak.  I have a party of 3, the other two are experienced backpackers, with some light climbing experience.  It seems like this could be a great alternative for us to the Tetons.  Any input, experience would be appreciated.  If you have alternative suggestions I'm open to those.  We just know we want to be somewhere beautiful for this event.

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

If you plan your whole trip around being on top of Fremont for 2.5 minutes at 11 AM, you're going to be sorely disappointed. You'll be able to see the sun down in Titcomb Basin just as well as you will be able to see it at the top of Fremont. If you're psyched on that, great, go for it. There will probably be 30 other people with the same idea as you, making the summit a bit crowded. The classic route up Fremont is Class III, so an experienced backpacker should find no problem with the route. Consider walk-up routes on other peaks above 12,000 as well.

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

The other thing that I would not bet money on is a clear sky in the winds.  The western mountain areas areas of Wyoming are more likely to be cloudy versus the rest of the state.

Boots Ylectric · · Chicago IL · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 165

Any other peak suggestions from either of you?  

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

Any other peak suggestions from either of you?  

At the risk of being a jerk, I'll just say pick up a map and figure it out. Lots of good options in Titcomb Basin and in the surrounding area. Just telling you flat out ruins the wilderness value the Winds has to offer.

Gilroy · · Boulderado · Joined Apr 2008 · Points: 1,005

The Original Route on Fremont is a fine scramble to summit rocks that present classic views all around.  If the weather cooperates it will be an excellent venue.  Even without an eclipse it's a worthy summit

Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 13,812

Being benighted (during the day!) on the third tallest peak in Wyoming with a 100 of your newest friends doesn't sound too bad.  Go for it!

Its a fun route.  And, even though way back there, fairly well traveled.

If you want solitude...there's jillions of peaks in the area (and in "the path") to choose from.  

Just depends on what you want your experience to be.

Geoff ru · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 35

Kudos to you for wanting to get out and see it from a special location. I live right under the eclipse and plan on bunkering down  while 5 times my city's population descends upon my community lol. 

will smith · · boulder · Joined Jan 2008 · Points: 35
Boots Ylectric · · Chicago IL · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 165

Our group sat down this weekend and committed ourselves to the Titcomb Basin for this trip.  More than likely we will head up Fremont, but I am definitely evaluating our options.  Fingers crossed we get a nice clear day, and a good view of the Shadow of the moon racing towards us before blocking the sun for two minutes.  When I did the Tetons 2 years ago there were wildfires in Utah, so our view from the summit was nothing but white from all the smoke. 

But, even if the skies aren't clear at least we still end up with an awesome excursion into the Winds. 

Boots Ylectric · · Chicago IL · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 165
DavisMeschke Guillotine wrote:

At the risk of being a jerk, I'll just say pick up a map and figure it out. Lots of good options in Titcomb Basin and in the surrounding area. Just telling you flat out ruins the wilderness value the Winds has to offer.

So I took your advice and spent the last week or so deep into maps and guide books and I must say I am salivating at the opportunities.  I really wish I could take a much longer trip at this point.  I have a feeling this is just going to spark numerous returns to the basin.  There is a chance I'll be going solo now, which limits what I'll do, because I wouldn't want to push into too technical of a climb solo, I'm just not at that comfort level yet.  But there are still some brilliant options.  

Arlo F Niederer · · Colorado Springs, CO · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 460
mike gibson wrote:

The other thing that I would not bet money on is a clear sky in the winds.  The western mountain areas areas of Wyoming are more likely to be cloudy versus the rest of the state.

I'm a Wyoming native and grew up near the Wind Rivers.  I lived in Jackson Hole from 2000 to 2011. So I am quite familiar with Wyoming weather...

In July and August, monsoonal flow sets up over the Rockies, and produces afternoon Thunderstorms, with considerable cloud cover.  The clouds usually start building around 10 AM and can be a full on thunderstorm by 2 PM.  When I climb in the Winds or Tetons, I always try to be off the top and well on my way down by 2 PM. In a normal year, it might be 50 - 50 to have a clear sky to view the eclipse, but this is not a normal year.

The monsoonal flow has been strong this year - we set an all time record for rainfall in July in Colorado Springs - 6.23 inches - so the likelihood of getting clouds and storms is even higher this year.  In a normal year, it can be clear out in the basins but the mountains will be covered with clouds and showers.  The Tetons and Winds make their own weather, so going into the Winds to see the Eclipse is risky business - and you are going into the highest part of the range.  The monsoonal flow starts to taper off towards the end of August, but I don't know what it's going to do this year.

Another consideration - I'm an avid amateur astronomer and have several friends who spend thousands of dollars travelling to the four corners of the planet to see a total eclipse.  One of the things that happens when the sun eclipses is the atmosphere cools down enough that clouds and fog can form if it is near the dew point - they have had several eclipses obsured because clouds and fog formed, ruining an expensive trip.

Here's a useful link from the National Weather Service office in Lander, that shows the probability of cloud cover over several cities in Wyoming.  But the weather in the mountains is often considerably different than in the cities in the basins.  

http://www.weather.gov/riw/eclipse

If you go down to the forecast map, it will show cloud cover percentage currently and give you a forecast out in the future. For example,  right now (4:30PM), Pinedale has 38% cloud cover, but Titcomb Basin has a whopping 87% cloud cover!

They only do forecasts 7 days in advance, and you should check on their forecast when the 21st is in the forecast.

If you truly wish to see the eclipse, my advice to you is to not choose the Winds to view the eclipse, because the odds of being obscured are pretty high.  But if you really want to see the Winds and don't care about the eclipse, then enjoy the Winds and take a chance on the eclipse.

Boots Ylectric · · Chicago IL · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 165
Arlo F Niederer wrote:

I'm a Wyoming native and grew up near the Wind Rivers.  I lived in Jackson Hole from 2000 to 2011. So I am quite familiar with Wyoming weather...

In July and August, monsoonal flow sets up over the Rockies, and produces afternoon Thunderstorms, with considerable cloud cover.  The clouds usually start building around 10 AM and can be a full on thunderstorm by 2 PM.  When I climb in the Winds or Tetons, I always try to be off the top and well on my way down by 2 PM. In a normal year, it might be 50 - 50 to have a clear sky to view the eclipse, but this is not a normal year.

The monsoonal flow has been strong this year - we set an all time record for rainfall in July in Colorado Springs - 6.23 inches - so the likelihood of getting clouds and storms is even higher this year.  In a normal year, it can be clear out in the basins but the mountains will be covered with clouds and showers.  The Tetons and Winds make their own weather, so going into the Winds to see the Eclipse is risky business - and you are going into the highest part of the range.  The monsoonal flow starts to taper off towards the end of August, but I don't know what it's going to do this year.

Another consideration - I'm an avid amateur astronomer and have several friends who spend thousands of dollars travelling to the four corners of the planet to see a total eclipse.  One of the things that happens when the sun eclipses is the atmosphere cools down enough that clouds and fog can form if it is near the dew point - they have had several eclipses obsured because clouds and fog formed, ruining an expensive trip.

Here's a useful link from the National Weather Service office in Lander, that shows the probability of cloud cover over several cities in Wyoming.  But the weather in the mountains is often considerably different than in the cities in the basins.  

http://www.weather.gov/riw/eclipse

If you go down to the forecast map, it will show cloud cover percentage currently and give you a forecast out in the future. For example,  right now (4:30PM), Pinedale has 38% cloud cover, but Titcomb Basin has a whopping 87% cloud cover!

They only do forecasts 7 days in advance, and you should check on their forecast when the 21st is in the forecast.

If you truly wish to see the eclipse, my advice to you is to not choose the Winds to view the eclipse, because the odds of being obscured are pretty high.  But if you really want to see the Winds and don't care about the eclipse, then enjoy the Winds and take a chance on the eclipse.

Thank you for all the information.  Definitely gives me some things to consider and keep in mind.  I knew it was a pretty risky place to go to view the eclipse, much riskier than say going to Casper with all the amateur astronomers, or Missouri, which would be much easier from Chicago.  I think the allure of the destination of the Winds/Titcomb have overshadowed the eclipse as far as I'm concerned, and I think my partners as well.  For me, so much so that even if my buddies bail I'm still likely to just go solo.

Boots Ylectric · · Chicago IL · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 165

Could not be happier with how this trip went.  I fell in love with the Wind River Range, perhaps having them move ahead of the Tetons as my favorite mountains.  I can't imagine having had this experience from a better location.  

This is the one good eclipse photo I managed from the summit of Fremont peak.  I shared the summit with about 15 other folks.  We took a group photo, exchanged info, and shared what we all agreed was one of the best imaginable eclipse experiences that could be had.  I have some video and other pictures I'll share after I go through them.  I'm really glad this adventure came together.  It's a memory I will never forget.

Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 13,812

^^^WOW!  Fantastic!

Arlo F Niederer · · Colorado Springs, CO · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 460

Glad the eclipse part of your trip worked out. I Knew that you would be impressed with the Winds, so that part of the trip was not in question.

We were going to watch the eclipse from the Laramie Range, but on Sunday they were predicting 40 - 50% cloud cover. So we bailed and went west of Casper to the Gas Hills, where they were predicting less than 10%.   However, they were predicting 50% cloud cover over the Winds and Riverton. I wondered if Boots had decided to go into the Winds...

Fortunately, as usual, the weathermen didn't get it right.   It was completely clear where we were, and even the Laramie Range was clear for the eclipse!

Boots Ylectric · · Chicago IL · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 165
Arlo F Niederer wrote:

Glad the eclipse part of your trip worked out. I Knew that you would be impressed with the Winds, so that part of the trip was not in question.

We were going to watch the eclipse from the Laramie Range, but on Sunday they were predicting 40 - 50% cloud cover. So we bailed and went west of Casper to the Gas Hills, where they were predicting less than 10%.   However, they were predicting 50% cloud cover over the Winds and Riverton. I wondered if Boots had decided to go into the Winds...

Fortunately, as usual, the weathermen didn't get it right.   It was completely clear where we were, and even the Laramie Range was clear for the eclipse!

We knew we were taking a chance, we were feverishly monitoring the weather.  The morning we got in it looked like the chance of cloud cover ruining our eclipse was pretty equal whether we went into the Winds or went into Fremont Canyon by Casper, so we decided to just go for the gusto.  I'm glad we did, because we could not have been luckier.  Summit morning we looked up and just prepared ourselves to be disappointed.  But from the moment of first contact it just continued to get clearer and clearer until we had the most perfect set of skies to view the eclipse from.  I'm still kind of processing the whole trip I feel like.

I had a camera pointed at the horizon showing the sky, and the shadow of the moon as it approached.  The video turned out pretty awesome so I'll share that in the next few days.

Boots Ylectric · · Chicago IL · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 165

Hey all!

I just finished putting together a video of the eclipse adventure.  Thought I'd share it here.  Hope you enjoy!

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290

WOW! Nice job, sooo glad it worked out for you!

As snooty as it sounds, Boise, for me, quickly sorted into those who had 99.6, and those who had totality. There really is no comparison.

What I had was special, but the people I was with made it even more so. Of the 20-30 in our group, we spanned almost the US, north to south. One couple was living in LA, but from Japan.

For the future? A peak, or a really open area is where the 360° sunset shows. But, totality, one way or another is well worth it.

Thanks for posting! My next shot is Utah or Nevada, when I truly am an old lady!

Best, OLH

Boots Ylectric · · Chicago IL · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 165
Old lady H wrote:

WOW! Nice job, sooo glad it worked out for you!

As snooty as it sounds, Boise, for me, quickly sorted into those who had 99.6, and those who had totality. There really is no comparison.

What I had was special, but the people I was with made it even more so. Of the 20-30 in our group, we spanned almost the US, north to south. One couple was living in LA, but from Japan.

For the future? A peak, or a really open area is where the 360° sunset shows. But, totality, one way or another is well worth it.

Thanks for posting! My next shot is Utah or Nevada, when I truly am an old lady!

Best, OLH

It's not snooty at all.  It's a huge difference, like you said, no comparison.  I truly had no idea how much more impactful being in an area of totality would actually be until it was actually happening.  I was just excited to go climbing in the Winds, and I thought the eclipse would be a cherry on top.  It ended up being much more than that.  Enough so, that I might start planning more trips around getting to the tops of mountains in different paths of totality.  Everyone I've spoken with who ventured to the mountains or saw totality somewhere seem to feel about the same. 

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290
Boots Ylectric wrote:

It's not snooty at all.  It's a huge difference, like you said, no comparison.  I truly had no idea how much more impactful being in an area of totality would actually be until it was actually happening.  I was just excited to go climbing in the Winds, and I thought the eclipse would be a cherry on top.  It ended up being much more than that.  Enough so, that I might start planning more trips around getting to the tops of mountains in different paths of totality.  Everyone I've spoken with who ventured to the mountains or saw totality somewhere seem to feel about the same. 

Exactly. If you weren't there, you can't understand.

The universal reaction was, immediately, "do it again!!!!" yelled out to the sky.

That's why I said, "as snooty as it sounds". 

Sorry, Boise. Less than 100% was just a cloudy day. That fraction of a per cent was the whole shebang.

Best, OLH

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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