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Wind River High Route

Face the fear, even if it’s only a tiptoe outside of your comfort zone instead of a leap. Progress is progress.

Annette White
Next week, I’ll start the Wind River High Route with these lovely, off-route, thru-hiking, bad ass chicks.

I’m posting this as Richard and I drive west to Wyoming. We’re headed to Green River Lakes Campground, about two hours east of Jackson Hole and 8,000 feet above sea level. It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world and the beginning of a thru-hike in the Wind River Range.

With forty named peaks over 13,000 feet, the “Winds,” as they are affectionately known, make up the highest spine of the Continental Divide in Wyoming. Seven of the largest glaciers in the Rockies are here, including the biggest of all, and the range is filled with water, including 1,300 named lakes. (it’s the unnamed lakes, though, that we’ll use for much of our navigation.

The Winds are less like the Grand Tetons, their more popular cousin to the north, and more like the Sierra, made up of rugged granite peaks and spires as well as glacier-carved cirques, kettles, and hanging valleys.

And guess what? I have never been there before!

This is the route! Thanks to Alan Dixon for creating the route and Walking-with-Wired for this awesome tour.

Our non-technical “high route” starts on trail, but then veers up, staying above 10,000 feet as it climbs over pass after pass for 80 miles with a cumulative elevation gain (and loss) of around 20,000 feet. There will be snow-fields and talus, plus masses of wild flowers, alpine meadows with elk, bighorn sheep and maybe a grizzly in some of the most thrilling alpine scenery in the world.

We’ve honed our navigation chops and will bring ice ax and crampons, plus gear for wild weather swings. I can hardly wait to put these blissful feet on the Winds to tackle this trail-less route with two tough young women. Climb on and have fun!

Thanks John Reamer and Associates for their support of my video project on the WRHR.

8 Responses

  1. Please be extra careful about bears there. Years ago a grad school friend of mine got seriously mauled by a mother bear when he had the bad fortune of cresting a hill on the trail and finding himself between mother and cubs. He made it up a tree, but she clamped down on his hip, and he incurred major injuries and spent the summer in hospital. He ultimately finished his field work in the Wind Rivers in a subsequent summer, but I cannot imagine what that must have been like. Make a lot of noise!

    1. Oh my goodness! That is so awful. I am pretty much all about hiking in gangs through grizzly territory. It is pretty far down their territory, but apparently they are returning and we walked through a whole lot of huckleberry patches (smelled like jam) so were loud with spray at the ready. All the best to your friend.

  2. Quite the map! Would like to watch that with a regular map along side! My first “western” experience started at Big Sandy after a night of altitude sickness (which I thought was the flu) followed by constant pinching myself to remind me this gorgeous place was REAL! Good luck with black flies. . . a different strain from the North Shore. . . Bites lasted for weeks and yes, it was in August! Can’t wait to read your reports!

  3. Alison! This is awesome! I’m looking forward to the pictures and posts.

    We loved, loved spending time with you and look forward to more visits!

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