The warm summer temperatures and afternoon thunderstorms continue to turn snow into water at higher elevations. With the snowline hovering between 10,000 – 10,200 feet, many places above treeline are becoming accessible, albeit with patchy snow and muddy trails. Although we are ahead of schedule for this time of year, we still have some ways to go before true summer mountain access.
Green River Lakes: Not much has changed here. As the snowline pushes higher, more access it possible out of this trailhead. As of today, Green River Pass is accessible from the trailhead, as is access from the Porcupine Creek Trail. Remember your bug spray!
New Fork Lake: The New Fork valley is completely snow-free. Doubletop Mountain Trail and the climb out of Palmer Canyon up to Hidden Lakes/Thompson Lakes area is patchy snow with mud, but passable.
Spring Creek Park: Snow will be encountered at Borum Lake, but the trail is dry and snow-free up to that point. Summit Lake is somewhat dry and muddy. The Pine Creek crossing is moving fast but passable. There will be snow past that point, but is melting quickly.
Elkhart Park: We have reports from a few days ago of parties being able to hike to Seneca Lake mostly snow-free. Past that expect patchy snow. Island Lake/Titcomb Basin is accessible on snow covered and muddy trails. The snow is melting fast!
Boulder Lake: The trail is dry and snow-free to North Fork Lake and the surrounding area at similar elevations. Hay Pass and Hat Pass are not yet accessible without encountering snow. LOTS of bugs. Creek crossings are swift but manageable.
Scab Creek: Trails in and around this area are completely melted. Lots of mud! Last we’ve heard, the trail up to Divide Lake is snow-free, and we expect snow-free trails even past there.
Big Sandy Opening: Still snow in the Cirque, but the approach up Jackass Pass is melting quickly. Lots of parties in the Cirque yesterday, with minimal travel on snow. Pingora and Wolf’s Head look to be mostly snow-free. As was the case last week, there’s lots of dry, climbable rock with snowy approaches. Ice axe and foot traction is recommended for the approach on Wolf’s Head, Watchtower, Overhanging Tower, Block Tower, Shark’s Nose and Mitchell. I’d say they would be optional for the approaches on Pingora, Warbonnet, and Warrior 1 and 2. Remember those observations are very subjective; bring ice axe and crampons if you aren’t sure about your comfortablity on snow. Bugs!
We’ve received lots of questions concerning the Wind River High Route (WRHR) conditions. Historically, the WRHR isn’t truly in condition until mid-to-late July. Knapsack Col usually develops a large cornice on the Titcomb Basin side that may turn around most parties who show up unprepared. Microspikes are usually a good idea and are standard on most WRHR gear lists for the Knifepoint Glacier portion of the trip. If you have questions about a specific portion of the WRHR, feel free to give us a call.
The staff at the Great Outdoor Shop will continue to monitor conditions in the mountains and update you with what we find. If you have any questions about specific trails, need some trip planning help, or have gear questions, please do not hesitate to give us a call at (307) 367-2440. Be sure to tag us in your Wind Rivers’ adventures on Instagram, @greatoutdoorshop. We carry a shop full of quality gear to make your mountain experience as comfortable and worry-free as possible, and it would be our pleasure to help you make your next Wind Rivers jaunt one you will never forget!