Over the last week, snowlines in the Winds have jumped considerably. Expect snowline to be between 10,800 and 11,000 feet, with sparse snow still lingering at the upper end of that spectrum. Without freezing temperatures at night, the snowline will quickly rise higher over the next couple of weeks. Be prepared for temperatures in the low-to-mid 30s at night, with highs in the high 60s to low 70s during the day. The bugs are taking this opportunity to come out in full force! They’re gonna be bad for the next month, so grab some bug spray and a head net to make your trip a bit more enjoyable. Water levels are beginning to calm a bit. Expect some high creek crossings, but nothing that shouldn’t be passable.
The ENTIRE Wind River Range is home to both grizzly and black/brown bears. Hanging your food and other smellables (this means dog food, toothpaste, sun screen, etc.; anything with a scent) is the best way to prevent a bear from ending you, or your trip earlier than planned. Marmots, porcupines, and squirrels will chew on anything with your sweat plastered to it. I’ve lost hats and cork trekking pole handles to hungry small critters. The last thing we want is animals that have been habituated to human presence.
Out of Big Sandy Opening, expect a snowline around 10,800 and 11k feet. The Cirque is completely open and accessible, snow free. Texas Pass will still have some hold-over snow, but expect to be getting over pretty easily. Washakie (pronounced wah-shuh-kee) Pass and Hailey Pass loops are both hikeable with minimal snow to be encountered. All the high country fishing lakes in the area are ice-free and fishing great.
Scab Creek and Boulder are looking very similar. Expect your snowline to be around 11,000 feet. Europe Canyon and Halls Lake are both accessible. Expect muddy trails as you approach the Continental Divide. Photo Pass is open and hikeable. Middle Fork Lake is accessible.
In Elkhart Park, Titcomb Basin is now totally accessible. Expect some snow in the upper end of the lake and some ice at the upper end of the second lake. Knapsack Col will still have snow, as will Bonney Pass. For those climbing Gannett, the bergshrund at the base of Gooseneck Couloir hasn’t opened yet.
Spring Creek Park trailhead, you can hike to Summit Lake with muddy trails and no snow covering the trail.
For New Fork Lakes, expect the snow line to be hovering around 10,700 to 10,900 feet. The Lozier Lakes trail will be hikeable, just expect muddy, wet trails. Porcupine Pass Trail is accessible, but expect to run into some snow around the top of the pass. Expect similar conditions out of Green River Lakes.
As a very important side note… CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF. This means scattering cold fire rings, NOT burning your trash, packing out what you pack in, and (I can’t believe I have to say this one) PROPERLY dispose of your waste, your furry friends included. As more hikers, backpackers and climbers access the Winds, the idea of using the Wilderness responsibly falls more squarely on our shoulders as a collective user group. Use common sense and the seven Leave No Trace principles, so that other users can have an untainted experience and future users can experience the beauty of our wild backyard.
We do share the Wilderness with lots of other creatures. Make sure to do you part in not allowing bears, moose and marmots in the Wind River Range to become habituated to humans by hanging your food and practicing proper food storage. This is true above, as well as below, treeline.
If you have any questions regarding trip planning or gear, feel free to give us a call at (307) 367-2440 or email email@example.com. We carry a full stock of rental backpacking and mountaineering equipment, as well as fishing setups, bear spray and bear-proof containers, fuel and a full assortment of books and maps. Visit us online www.greatoutdoorshop.com to see trip reports, current conditions, or to browse our online store. Follow us on Instagram (@greatoutdoorshopwy), Twitter (@wrrconditions) and Facebook, and be sure to tag us in your Wind River pictures! Our staff is ready to help you plan a Wind River trip or to help with any questions you may have along the way.