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Stefan
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PostSat Feb 01, 2020 6:12 pm 
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This is late…

Went out to the Wind Rivers again in August 2019.  This time with Kirsten H., Carla S., Matt B., Brett D., and Juan L.  On the way to Winds we stopped by Carlas parents house in Spokane who graciously and wonderfully treated us with their hospitality overnight making our second day of driving much more tolerable.  Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Schauble!  The next day we spent the night in Pinedale.  We woke up very early the next day and drove the paved road 45 minutes to the Pole Creek Trailhead.  Where we started moving.  Oh.  Not a single drop of precipitation was encountered during the entire 8 day outing!

Day 1 We hiked 14 miles starting at an elevation of 9400 feet to Bald Mountain Basin.  Yes, carrying a load at that elevation is tiring.  Elevation gain was only  1200 feet for the day.  It was windy.  And there were some mosquitos.  I had originally wanted to hike to the top of Mt Baldy, but my tired legs, so no by the end of the day. I had also wanted to camp on the north end peninsula on Spider Lake, but the wind dictated a NO and we sought calmer shelter.  We waited for Matt B. for a long time.  It turns out he went to the top of Bald Mtn!


Day 2.  We went around some lakes, hit the trail again and then went up the east side of Wall Lake.  Pure Wind River experience here!  We did one person.  And then…not again.  Wind was a factor near the end of the day, so we camped near the outlet of lake 10488.  We went up to lake 10842 and then went up to the saddle and then back west to the top of peak 12629.  Gorgeous flowery meadows.  Did I say the Winds are awesome!


Day 3.  We went east up over a pass and then several of us ascended Mount Lester from the north.  Lester is a moving pile of rock.  However, it sits at a very central point to our trip.  It has 360 view of all the lakes in the area even looking up Titcomb Basin.  A nice vantage point.  This is the place where I put on hiking boots.  I had been using running shoes most of the time….and I highly recommend running shoes for most of your Winds travels.  We swam in the lake just north of Lester, because it was hot.  Nice!  We then went down to Island Lake and then went up Titcomb Basin.  We did come across multiple people along this trail as it is the premier highlight of the trip.  Lotsa pictures!!!  We camped just north of Mystic Lake overlooking Titcomb Basin.  Definitely top 10 camping spot in my life!  There were mosquitos.


Day 4.  Some of us went up went up Fremont Peak, while others walked around went walking around Titcomb Basin.  I went up Fremont with Juan L., and Matt B..  We walked around the east side of Mystic Lake up to the col south of Fremont and then up the popular southwest ridgeline of Fremont.  It is high up there at the top and there is a big canister for those interested in leaving things…..although I think the views from Mount Lester were more impressive due to its vantage.  Juan and I came down and then went through Indian Basin.   I also recommend Indian Basin!!!  Juan and I went cross country back to Titcomb and then Kirsten and I went to a white sand beach on the western and northern end of lake 10575 (Lower Titcomb Lake) and did some yoga.  It is about 4 feet wide by 40 feet long.  What a cool place!


Day 5.  We walked up Titcomb Basin and then went up Knapsack Pass.  We had carried ice axes and crampons because I knew this was a big snow year.  I had searched for trip reports before we went to see if there was too much snow, but I could not find any.  It turns out we did not need the stuff!  It was a haul going up to the pass, but not complicated.  At the pass we went up Winifred Peak and hurried because we could see thunderhead forming—something we did not want to experience this high up.  We hurried up.  We hurried down.  We got down to a safe distance, and nothing came.  A nice stroll down and camping near Peak Lake was had.  Along the way we came cross somebody from Sumner!  We went up peak 11175 for a nice peakbagging summit.


Day 6.  We went up the Shannon Pass trail and then all of us went up Stroud Peak.  Cool peak to be on top of.  The upper parts of the trail up there are really nice.  Flat open expanses.  Wildflowers.   We made camp on the north peninsula of Elbow Lake and then scrambled up Elbow Lake in the afternoon. We once again thought about the thunderheads that were forming a long way out, but all we experienced was a virga show.


Day 7.  We took the trail by Upper Jean and Lower Jean and then for a scenic swim by doing a little bit of cross country over to Island Lake.   There is a little peninsula on the northern west side of Island Lake that is phenomenal and quiet!  Eventually we took the main thoroughfare Indian Pass Trail out of Island Lake, next to Seneca Lake, and then followed a fishermans trail to Sapphire Lake.  Another beautiful lake.  Another lake where NOBODY is around.


Day 8.  We walked the shorter distance out to the car.


It is truly amazing how you can walk up to the Pole Creek trailhead and see several hundred cars and then camp at all the locations we did and not have or see anyone camping near you.  This place rocks!

Route here:
https://caltopo.com/m/UERA

All pictures here:
https://flic.kr/s/aHsmGvEX3i

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Art is an adventure.
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Chief Joseph
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PostSat Feb 01, 2020 6:45 pm 
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Nice report! I made my first trip there this past July. The most amazing thing to me are the endless high mountain meadows. Plus the fishing, which is also amazing, and of course there is an endless supply of Mosquitoes that keep the fish fat.

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Go placidly amid the noise and waste, and remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof.
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Nancyann
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PostSat Feb 01, 2020 7:00 pm 
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Beautiful! I haven’t been to the Winds yet but sure would like to go.
I like how you included your friends in many of your photos. up.gif
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raising3hikers
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PostSat Feb 01, 2020 7:16 pm 
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Glad you finally got around to posting this TR. Looks and sounds like a great place

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Eric Eames
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostSat Feb 01, 2020 11:52 pm 
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up.gif
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Eric Hansen
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PostSun Feb 02, 2020 6:14 pm 
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Thanks! Brings back great memories of being on top of Fremont on a high viz day.
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iron
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getting old
PostSun Feb 02, 2020 8:37 pm 
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time to move to the winds, stefan. it's your happy spot.

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man, you go through life, you try to be nice to people, you struggle to resist the urge to punch 'em in the face, and for what?

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cascadetraverser
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PostMon Feb 03, 2020 2:49 pm 
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Glad to see this report...What a great trip!  The Winds are amazing and you definately covered some ground... (no surprise there wink.gif )
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Sabahsboy
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PostWed Feb 05, 2020 7:26 pm 
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Wonderful to see these photos and know others have experienced the high Wind Rivers!

I did this trip in late 1960s and found my way up to Titcomb basin and wandered all over the place...it is so wide open!

Another trip in 1970 took me and a friend to southern Winds...a most spectacular place!

Unfortunately, my slides have been "lost" in the many, many boxes of photos and slides I have accumulated since 8 years old!  I have no idea where I can find the photos and no logical means to reproduce.  Dangit!

Thank you all for sharing!

BTW, I had the good fortune to encounter two climbers when up at Titcomb way...they had just done a first climb route; I believe one was a Whittaker, possibly soon after the Everest climb!
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texasbb
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PostWed Feb 05, 2020 7:59 pm 
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Sabahsboy wrote:
I have no idea where I can find the photos and no logical means to reproduce.

The Winds are still there...   smile.gif
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Bedivere
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PostThu Feb 13, 2020 11:39 am 
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Very cool, and a much different experience than I had in August 2018 despite going to some of the same places.

This 23 second video sums up our retreat 2 days early.  And, while the weather was good the first three days, we encountered no mosquitoes at any point on the trip.  Weird.


Reatreating in the snow from Will Baker on Vimeo.


The place was also pretty crowded.  We encountered lots of hikers everywhere we went, including the route from Island Lake/Titcomb basin over the pass to the upper end of Wall Lake and all along the route from Wall Lake back to Pole Creek Lakes.

I think this was due to the horrible smoke that was blanketing everything West of the Winds.  Many people we met were from Washington and Idaho and were trying to escape the smoke which was far less pernicious (but still present) in the Winds.

I *REALLY* want to go back.

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Brian Curtis
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PostFri Feb 14, 2020 6:35 am 
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Bedivere wrote:
The place was also pretty crowded.  We encountered lots of hikers everywhere we went, including the route from Island Lake/Titcomb basin over the pass to the upper end of Wall Lake and all along the route from Wall Lake back to Pole Creek Lakes.

I think this was due to the horrible smoke that was blanketing everything West of the Winds.

It is just plain crowded there. I've done quite a few trips in the Winds (we've been to every part of the area). On one trip in the late seventies we came down from the east side over Indian Pass to Island Lake where we had lunch. As we were eating lunch a troop of boy scouts hiked across the trail above us. The string of Scouts never seemed to stop and in the end we counted 33. Many of them had bundles of firewood on their packs. As we hiked down the trail toward Seneca Lake there were so many people coming up the trail heading for the Titcomb Basin that we had to keep counting. By the time we arrived at Seneca Lake we had counted 96. And we didn't count the people camped at Seneca.

That being said, as soon as you get away from the really popular areas you leave the crowds behind. Just don't expect to be anywhere close to alone in the Titcomb Basin area or the Cirque of the Towers area.

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that elitist from silverdale wanted to tell me that all carnes are bad--Studebaker Hoch
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Slugman
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PostFri Feb 14, 2020 8:00 am 
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When do you folks go? I’ve been three times and hardly saw anyone. Titcomb basin was completely empty, Cirque of the Towers had just a couple of other campers. I guess the place empties out after Labor Day, at least until hunting season. 2012, 2014, 2016, all in early-mid September.

There has been a discussion among those going this year in the Sluggish Expedition as to whether we should start  the actual hiking on Aug 24th or Aug 31st. 13 days on trail with horse packer resupply halfway through. 16 days total including driving. I was the one thinking we should start at the earlier date, mainly for time off work scheduling. The helpful info here has made me rethink this idea.

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“The jerking motion of a knee does not reflect the operation of a mind”  Slugman, January 24th 2020
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jhiker001
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PostSun Feb 23, 2020 12:55 pm 
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So I just joined this site in hopes of finding info and pictures of the Titcomb Basin area.  Your report didn't fail to disappoint. Looks like you had a fantastic trip. This summer we're doing a 4 nighter in this area and I'm looking for any additional insight to make my trip a success. I've been to the Winds twice- 20 years ago my dad and I hiked in the Green River Lakes area and 4 years ago we got to the Cirques. Beautiful places!
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