Conditions continue to improve in the Wind River high country! Every day, the snowline continues to recede and backcountry users can make it deeper and deeper into the range. We’re seeing daily thunderstorm patterns emerging, starting with light build-up after lunch, and heavier build-up (and eventual rain) around 2:00 to 3:00 PM. Highs in the mid-70s, lows just above freezing. Creek crossings should no longer present any problems to hikers, backpackers and climbers.
Trail-wise, everything in the Green River Lakes area is open for business. Making it as far as Summit Lake should be no problem. From there, the Elbow Lake and Peak Lake areas will contain some hold-over snow, but nothing that will bar passage. Lozier Lakes and the surrounding area is open with a few drifts to contend with. Reconstruction on the bridge over Clear Creek started last week, and has replaced the bridge that washed away earlier this summer. The road getting to Green River is in good shape.
Out of Ekhart Park, trail is in good condition. The trail is snow-free up to Island Lake, where you will start to encounter snow. From there, both Titcomb Basin and Indian Basin are full of snow, although this is changing quickly. Knapsack Col will continue to turn away hikers and climbers trying to get into the Peak Lake area from Titcomb Basin; the large cornice at the top continues to present problems. The summit of Fremont Peak is accessible using micro spikes or similar traction devices; crampons are not necessary.
For those attempting to climb Gannett Peak, Bonney Pass is snow from top to bottom. The glacier itself won’t be showing many signs of opening crevasses, but be aware that they’re there. The bottom of Bonny Pass (Dinwoody side) is a good place to rope up if you feel uncomfortable on glaciated terrain. Crampons and an ice axe should be mandatory for anyone attempting Gannett. The last report we received was that the snow bridge was starting to open up; an alpine start will ensure a frozen snow bridge and easier travelling over the snow.
The Cirque continues to open as the summer weather melts what is left. For climbers, most all routes on the peaks in the Cirque and Deep Lake area are open to climbing. Approaching climbs should not require crampons or an ice axe. There are no lingering snowfields to worry about. The rain deposited by afternoon thunder showers and storms dries quickly after. Bug dope will be your best friend!
For those branching off towards Marms Lake for loops over Washakie and/or Hailey Pass, snow will be present, but shouldn’t make routes unpassable. You may have problems towards the top of Hailey Pass with lingering snow. Micro spikes will be nice to have. Texas Pass still holds snow, mostly on the Cirque side, but is present at the top as well.
Fishing in the smaller lakes is taking off considerably. On a high snow year, the water temperatures take longer to warm up, and takes the fish longer to get going. Now that the lakes above 11,000 ft. have thawed, the fishing is lights out. We’ve been hearing good reports out of Cook Lakes as well as Island Lakes and the inlets/outlets between the Titcomb Lakes. It’s tough to forecast lakes in terms of fishing because of the amount of change from year to year. Generally, dry flies are better, but mixing it up by fishing sub-surface wet flies generally produces bigger fish. Be sure to stop by the shop to see our selection of high country flies.
The bugs are still out in full force! Be sure to grab a bottle of DEET and Permethrin to make your stay in the Wind River Range a little more enjoyable. Also, camping above treeline and picking a nice open area will ensure a bit of wind coverage and will keep the bugs down. As tempting as it is, try to avoid camping near stagnant water, as this is where bugs breed. 3000 lakes mean 3000 mosquito breeding grounds. The good news is, the later into August we get, the less of a nuisance the bugs will become. Planning your trip for the third or fourth week in August will ensure nicer temperatures, less bugs, and more stable weather.
For the most up-to-date conditions, or to chat with one of us about your upcoming trip, be sure to give us a call, (307) 367-2440, or shoot us an email, firstname.lastname@example.org.