Peak(s):  Gannett Peak (13,804)
Jackson Peak (13,617)
Winifred Peak (12,775)
Date Posted:  07/20/2020
Modified:  07/22/2020
Date Climbed:   07/09/2020
Author:  wombat
 Gannett and a Wind River Loop  

Thursday, July 9th: Hike in to Island Lake

We arrived at the Elkhart Park Trailhead at 3:00 PM and made our way in earnest to Island Lake. The plan was to make it up to upper Titcomb, but the sun’s retreat quickly removed any motivation. We made camp above Island Lake on the Southern Shore of Lake 10,467.

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Nearing Island Lake, Fremont in Rear


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Obligatory Island Lake Shot - Most Popular Campground in Wyoming


Friday, July 10th: Indian Basin, Jackson Peak, and Ice Axe / Crampon Training

After a late night, we woke at 6:30, had some coffee, picked up camp, and hit the trail at 8:15. We hoisted our packs on some rock slabs near the Titcomb Trail. From there we moved into Indian Basin. The trail was mainly covered by snow. Today’s plan was to get my hiking partner ice axe and crampon experience. After at least an hour of hiking around the icy lakes in Indian Basin we found a good turn off for the Jackson Peak saddle. We practiced self-arrest a few times while climbing a snowy approach. We then found a class 3+ rock wall up to the talus leading to the ridgeline, and navigated a few exposed rock slabs and waterfalls. This was another fortuitous training experience for Craig, who was on his first trip to Western mountains. The climb is quite enjoyable after reaching the Jackson saddle with large talus and snow banks all the way to the top. Views from the top were impressive. A lazy controlled posterior descent found us back at the saddle. From here we made the quick talus descent to the final precarious down climb. Hopping on the Indian Basin trail yielded a quick return to our bags in lower Titcomb Basin. After finding the wrong side of the final tarn in Indian Basin, we parlayed it into an enjoyable class three descent down the Indian Basin drainage to join the trail. After recovering our bags, we ascended to the Titcomb lakes encountering day hikers en route.

After tying some paracord to secure a nearly blown away tent at lower Titcomb Lake, we made the long walk to upper Titcomb, placing camp ten minutes above the final lake. (The next morning we would find that there is a series of suitable sites in route to Bonney Pass for those who seek a closer spot.)

Before turning in, we encountered a noble group of three hikers returning from a fifteen-hour day to Gannett. Encumbered by ropes and climbing gear, they likely took a little longer, but what an achievement. The two guys left their sunglasses in camp, and their eyes were bloodshot from snow exposure all day. What a Herculean effort. They offered some encouragement for our next day, and we offered some sad news that their tents almost blew away.

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Snow near the Jackson Saddle


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Climbing the last stretch to the Jackson Summit


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Indian Basin as viewed from Jackson Peak


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Fremont (left) from Jackson Peak


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Bull Lake Glacier from Jackson Peak (Quite Diminished from the Old Topo, with Lower Fremont Glacier completely disappeared)


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Class 3 Downclimb off Jackson


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Indian Basin


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Flowers in Titcomb Basin


Saturday, July 11th: Gannett over Bonney Pass

We woke at 2:15, the starlight over Titcomb Basin surprisingly radiant, enough to prepare for the hike without headlamp. The half moon came out at 3:00 shining behind our approach; this gave us more than enough motivation to start hiking at 3:15, our third radiant accomplice in tow. Near the top of Bonney our progress slowed as Craig kicked in multiple times each step, just to be sure. We made it up to Bonney at 5:45. Surprised, we found a camp at the saddle; we wondered what a brave wind-hardy crew was sleeping there. We followed the snow switch backed tracks all the way down to Dinwoody glacier. We averted the scree slope under the Gooseneck Ridge by traversing left up the glacier extension South of the Gooseneck, dodging a crevasse to the right and taking a nice snow rim under the Gooesneck ridge. Here is where we encountered other hikers taking the Dinwoody Glacier approach; they easily made it up the slopes, unencumbered by Bonney’s Burden. The bergschrund was closed. Between the closed bergschrund and the snowy steps up Bonney Pass, July seems to be the ideal time to take this lengthy route. From the top of the Gooseneck Ridge, I made it to Wyoming's high point, summiting at 9:15. After brief, exuberant Facetime with the family, I returned to the Gooseneck ridge and we made it back down the glacier relying on a controlled posterior descent while avoiding snowing over the kind footsteps which aided our ascent. The trip back up Bonney pass wasn’t too bad. A final broken posterier descent down Bonney’s soft snow hasted our return to camp at 2:15—11 hours out hiking and meeting a handful of fellow adventurers.

Severe wind precluded any chance of catching fish in Upper Titcomb yet kept the infamous bugs at bay, an unfair trade. Without the chance at fish and left to stare at my topo, I kicked myself for not climbing Dinwoody Peak while up on Bonney Pass.

I made the foolhardy mistake of leaving items loose in the tent that day. Seven indiscriminate tears in the mesh and a whittled toothbrush covered in brown fur indicated that the hiker’s true nemeses had arrived. The rodents had scattered other items and ran off with my toothpaste. I was sad to contribute my toothpaste tube to the beautiful surroundings, but future occurrences would provide redemption. Count me out of the Montana-Yellowstone-Jackson Hole Bear Spray Racket, but if anyone invents some Marmot repellent: name your price!


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Paranormal Solitude


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Gannett Peak - So Unassuming


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Looking at Mount Helen and into Titcomb Basin, Craig gains the final part of the pass.


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Crossing Dinwoody Glacier


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Snow Rim under the Gooseneck Ridge


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Ascent up Gannett, Photo kindly taken by the climber in front of us


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The views - Tetons in the distance


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Looking down at Scott Lake and the Western Approach, I look forward to taking this approach one day!


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The Mountains surrounding Dinwoody Glacier


Sunday, July 12th: Hike over Knapsack Col, Winifred Peak, and Peak Lake

A lazy morning and coffee led to an 8:15 camp departure. We made our way up to Knapsack Col. Beautiful icy rivers and gentle snow slopes guided our approach. Postholing was already a problem. We found the lower, reddish, meandering snow was generally our Bayesian guide to avoiding postholing. Knapsack Col is no joke. A guide service advised earlier that you don’t need crampons. Perhaps later in the day, but in the morning you are going to want crampons to dig in and an ice axe just in case you took a spill down the steep slopes. We slowly kicked steps to the left of the low point, avoiding the low saddle due to overarching snow on the crest. Our arrival closer to Winifred aided the rapid ascent to the peak. What a fun class 2-3 rock scramble Winifred was! Stay on the rocky ridge and don’t mess with the snow to the climber’s right. A summit register indicates only about 4-5 parties climb the peak a year, which is odd, because nary an easier cherry pick exists.

Expecting snow, we were instead greeted by femur-buster talus down Knapsack Col into Peak Lake Basin. Later, grassy slopes and small(er) sections of snow guided the descent. What a stunning basin it is, containing Stroud Glacier the source of the Green River, the source of the Colorado River. We saw all the micro-features one could want: water briefly appearing over waterfalls before descending beneath ice unseen for another half mile, frozen lakes, cracked ice forming ripples, meandering streams cutting under beautiful grassy sections leaving Tolkienesque grass bridges, and a newly-formed, unstable rockslide hearkening “none shall pass” five minutes from Peak Lake. The rockslide was not so worrying in itself, but rather the underneath snow that preceded the slide. You could see the mass wasting occurring in real time as small rocks trickled down the slope and the ice melted into the lake. We hastily made it across the rockslide, over the long-standing talus and into one of many Peak Lake camping options.

Here we encountered a mound of marmot-chewed trash left by an over burdened hiker from yesteryear. The encumbered backpacker had left a camp chair, a myriad of AA and AAA batteries, chemlights, tent stakes, lighters, matches, trash bags, and clunky 5-pound LA Sportiva mountaineering boots. A message in the camp chair said, “To a new home, August 2019”. Gee thanks. No one wants to hump out your junk 20 miles to the nearest trailhead. Seeking redemption from the Marmot attack, we packed all the various small waste – batteries, trash, chemlights, and tent stakes. Perturbed by the offerings of this over packed hiker, we were calmed by the scenes around us: Stroud Peak’s granite face shooting from the lake and the invulnerable, pine tree stand sitting on a cliff 600 feet above us. Suddenly, a school bus sized boulder rumbled down the Stroud-Sulphur Saddle crashing into the lake. What a sight!

The Schrödinger’s fish remained unobserved in multiple lakes throughout the day.


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River in Upper Titcomb


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Knapsack Col


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Winfred Scramble - Unnecessary Theatrics


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Summer Ice Lake (Center) doing summer ice things, Titcomb Basin below


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One of many Disappearing Waterfalls in Peak Lake Basin


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Something special about this basin


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Lake 10,740 on Topo


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Not sure if Tropical Island or Rocky Mountains


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Umm Nope! (Fresh rockslide with melting snow underneath)


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Attempting to stay off the rockslide and picking a point to make a hasty crossing


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The final ford before camping!


Monday, July 13th: Elbow Lake, Summit Lake, Trapper Lakes, and Prospector Lake

A quick ascent up Peak Lake to Shannon Pass rapidly warmed the legs. The area above Shannon Pass was serenely desolate with blue iced lakes. The terrain immediately changes to grassy slopes and we gently walked down to Elbow Lake to begin a series of futile fishing attempts. Past Elbow Lake I tried to fish more including Pass Lake and any pond we encountered—a frivolous effort to be sure. After climbing through the beautiful forest South of Summit Lake we arrived to the grassy plateau. Desperate for a catch, I bee lined for the lake and began to cast, backpack still on while making my way around the lake. When hope was nearly lost, I rejoiced at the obligatory Winds Golden Trout on my line. A few more catch and releases and we were on our way, off to Trapper Lake. We tried fishing a few more lakes en route with little success, yet one pond called Gottfried Lake held a myriad of tiny Rainbow Trout.

Eager to continue past Trapper Lake we continued the thirty-five minutes to Prospector Lake. The bugs this night were awful; camping in tree line is the worst. My prior doubts in the veracity of the Wind River bug stories were quickly put to rest. The mosquitoes enjoyed the marmot holes as they poured into the tent like a biblical plague. The stories are indeed true; you better have a head net if you are in tree line.


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Frozen Tarns in Shannon Pass


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Frozen Tarn


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It's July! Spring is Here!


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Plateau nearing Summit Lake


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Finally!


Tuesday, July 14th: Final Hike out on Pine Creek Canyon Trail

We woke up at 5:00 and started hiking at 6:15 in a hurry to clean up, catch lunch in Pinedale, and drive to Jackson Hole Airport for our 4:00 PM flight. The Pine Creek Canyon Trail past Glimpse Lake to the South is no longer maintained, but we managed to stay on the legacy trail with switchbacks on the way down. The unmaintained section is a beautiful windy trail rife with wild flowers and views. At the base of the trail, a bridge still crosses Bridger Creek, yet a sign warns that the trail is no longer maintained. Hopefully the bridge holds for years to come, because crossing the roaring waterfall and "creek" here or anywhere close seems tenuous. After 1800 feet back up switchbacks and rocky class two climbs we arrived at Elkhart campground at 9:30. The final section was equally beautiful with many vistas en route.


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Fremont Lake from the Crow's Nest


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Too bad - The Pine Canyon Trail from Glimpse Lake to Bridger Creek is no longer maintained, and no-one likes bushwhacking in the woods


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Cool Flower


Thanks for reading!




Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38


 Comments or Questions
nyker

Great!
07/20/2020 15:44
Looks like a great trip and nice pix! Pic 14 is magnificent. Hope to get there at some point.


ltlFish99
Excellent report
07/20/2020 23:26
That was a wonderful report. Absolutley great photographs.
Thank you.


astrobassman

Nice Job
07/22/2020 05:40
My friend and I also climbed Gannett this day, from the east. We were on top around 9am, so perhaps we didn't cross paths with ou. I do recall talking to a guy who had just learned to use an ice axe the day before though, so maybe we did cross paths.
Anyways excellent trip report. The Winds have a strong pull.


wombat

Time
07/22/2020 06:14
I was indeed up there at 9:15 (facepalm). I used my phone call history to recall when I summitted, but now that I am back on the East Coast it added two hours!

I remember talking to you, your buddy, and the third guy who joined you (and took that picture of us) on the summit. Thanks for cheering up my buddy on the way down.

What a beautiful day it was!!


Dan the Trip Leader

Wow!
07/22/2020 19:53
Fantastic stuff, thanks for sharing.


abreibart

Awesome and beautiful
07/25/2020 16:49
We're headed up there in 2 weeks. I plan to use trail runners and crampons. Do you think a stiffer boot is required due to the snow?

Also, how were the bugs and stream crossings?

Weather is always a crapshoot.

Thanks for the report!! Way to crush!! Woot! Woot!


wombat

Snow
07/26/2020 16:28
Abreibart- Thanks! Iâm no expert at footwear, but you can expect the snow to start getting soft at 8 AM. If you are going over Bonney and wake up early it will be hard and crusty all the way up.

Bugs horrible in treeline- Wasnt much of a problem in Titcomb or higher! Facenet is a good idea if you have to camp low. No problems at all with any crossings!

Have a blast!



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