Trip Report
Wind river range, heaven on earth?
Tuesday December 13, 2011 10:09pm
Me and my buddy Scott made it to the winds this summer, which was no small feat.
My kido's are 2 and 5 and it'll about like pulling teeth with the wife to get a kitchen pass, especially for 3 or more days.

So we left from eastern Idaho on a Sunday, I had driven back from Spokane Washington the day before (500 miles). We made it to the trail head in 4 hours from eastern Idaho. Big sandy parking lot was very crowded and not inspiring in terms of the crowd levels.

Credit: Ezra Ellis

The first 6 miles to big sandy lake flew by and were unremarkable, at out first view of the lake we saw the amazing haystack mountain, and hiked about 1/2 hour beyond the turn off for jack ass pass. we ran in to a dude doing the great divide trail over 3 months or so.

Credit: Ezra Ellis
Credit: Ezra Ellis
Credit: Ezra Ellis
Credit: Ezra Ellis
Credit: Ezra Ellis

Jack ass pass was re-named suck ass pass and kick my ass pass. It was totally brutal. On the hike in we met a dude from california who first climbed on a gold line in the 60s, who told us about his recent divorce.

California guy hawking a natural DEET replacement
California guy hawking a natural DEET replacement
Credit: Ezra Ellis


The views were worth it when we made it over the pass.

The cirque of the towers with Pingora and Wolfs head
The cirque of the towers with Pingora and Wolfs head
Credit: Ezra Ellis
Credit: Ezra Ellis
Credit: Ezra Ellis
Credit: Ezra Ellis
Credit: Ezra Ellis


The cirque is like a temple to me. Absolutely world class beauty. We crashed and awoke at 5:40 to climb Wolfs head the next day.
sunrise before Wolfs head
sunrise before Wolfs head
Credit: Ezra Ellis
Credit: Ezra Ellis

Wolfs head went well but the grassy ledges approach was wet and snowy in early august, so we did the tiger tower approach and Scott had to cut snow steps in a heroic hand freezing effort, as we had no pons or axe.
Credit: Ezra Ellis

We simul climbed for 800 feet and made two quick raps down to the side walk in the sky pitch, which was very cool.
Credit: Ezra Ellis
Credit: Ezra Ellis
Credit: Ezra Ellis
The awesome sidewalk!
The awesome sidewalk!
Credit: Ezra Ellis


We made a route finding error and counted a minor tower as a major tower, but climbed on and had no problems.
Credit: Ezra Ellis
Credit: Ezra Ellis
Credit: Ezra Ellis
Credit: Ezra Ellis
Credit: Ezra Ellis
Credit: Ezra Ellis

After the piton traverse
Credit: Ezra Ellis



The whole afternoon there was a lighting bearing storm that was off in the distance and threatened to hit us at any time, we were simuling and placing pro every 50 feet in the easy parts to beat the damn thing.

Credit: Ezra Ellis

On one of the crux towers I said to Scott, you got this. His reply was: "shut the f#ck up Ezra". It was a smidge stout for a 5.6, if you know what I mean.

We made it to the top and wrapped very quickly down the 6 or 7 rapells, which were mostly strait forward. A summit post over view of the route is the only beta you'll need.

Credit: Ezra Ellis

We made it back to the tent just as the showers started, and were so glad to not have been stuck in the lightning storm.


I remember eating a bagel and nutella for a snack, and that nasty hamburger helper and salmon for dinner. Scotts stove failed and he had to use mine, I made him have luke warm dinner to save fuel.


I was so relieved to have not gotten hurt on the route and not hit by lightning. Funny how I felt so invincible 11 years ago when I started climbing. I should mention the first night before a big route I usally sleep like sh*t, out of fear of the unknown I guess, not sure exactly why.

That 2nd night I slept like a baby!

The next day we climbed the south buttress of Pingora, some of the finest granite I have ever laid eyes on. Each pitch was a well protected stellar joy and absolutely fantastic. We did the K cracks on the last pitch. We made it to the base by 11:30 am and saw a party of 4 or 5 old duffers just starting the east ledges route, I guess they didn't worry about lightning.
Credit: Ezra Ellis
Credit: Ezra Ellis
Credit: Ezra Ellis
Credit: Ezra Ellis
Credit: Ezra Ellis
Credit: Ezra Ellis
Credit: Ezra Ellis

Looking up P1 of the route (our 2nd pitch)
Credit: Ezra Ellis

Looking up p2
Credit: Ezra Ellis


Looking down p2
Credit: Ezra Ellis
Credit: Ezra Ellis

K-cracks
Credit: Ezra Ellis


We made it back to the camp site by 12:30pm and were at the trail head at 4:50pm and home by 9pm. We manage not to hit any wild life that trip, which was nice!!!
Credit: Ezra Ellis
Credit: Ezra Ellis

There were few crowds there in the cirque, maybe 5 tents but we went in on a Sunday admittedly.



  Trip Report Views: 4,518
Ezra Ellis
About the Author
Ezra Ellis is a trad climber from WA, & NC & Idaho.

Comments
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Comment on this Trip Report
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
  Dec 13, 2011 - 10:58pm PT
I agree a Heaven on Earth, no doubt one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in North America. Like all things of great beautiful we can appreciate each of them for their similarities and differences. The Winds are awesome, thanks for the TR.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Dec 13, 2011 - 11:03pm PT
Ezra this pic is just awesome:



jahil

Social climber
London, Paris, WV & CA
  Dec 13, 2011 - 11:06pm PT
Another one to put on the list - thanks for posting - stunning pictures !

steve
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Dec 13, 2011 - 11:08pm PT
there are many heavens, and this is certainly one of them

Oxymoron

Big Wall climber
total Disarray
  Dec 13, 2011 - 11:08pm PT
There is only 1 Wind River. Learn a new term for this amazing Range, please. While one can say "The Wind River Range" or The Winds and be correct, to call anything with 1 namesake river rivers is just dumb. You people are always going on about how Godamn smart you are, well figure it out.
Nice TR, BTW. Thanks.
Dos XX

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
  Dec 14, 2011 - 07:56am PT
Hoorah for terrific climbing shots!
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
  Dec 14, 2011 - 10:49am PT
Ezra: Thanks! Great trip report!
Tork

climber
Yosemite
  Dec 14, 2011 - 10:59am PT
Very cool!
eKat

Trad climber
  Dec 14, 2011 - 11:01am PT
WHOA!

TFPU!
sandstone conglomerate

climber
sharon conglomerate central
  Dec 14, 2011 - 03:34pm PT
yes, the winds are heaven on earth..beauty incarnate.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Dec 14, 2011 - 04:36pm PT
Nice report Ezra. I still haven't done Wolfs Head but deffinately plan to.
Cirque of the Towers from the top of Ambush
Cirque of the Towers from the top of Ambush
Credit: mike m
Here is one of Wolfs Head from a different angle.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Dec 14, 2011 - 06:34pm PT
EZRA!!! Awesome TR bro.

Please put photos in thread! Don't know why it bugs me when peeps just put a link. It shouldn't, but,........

Gawd I need to get to the Winds.
Mtnmun

Trad climber
Top of the Mountain Mun
  Dec 14, 2011 - 09:37pm PT
Credit: Mtnmun
We passed through there in September. I can not wait to go back for some Alpine fun. Thanks for the TR. Cheers, Jude
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
Author's Reply  Dec 14, 2011 - 10:59pm PT
Thanks so much guys for the positive feed back, it is trips like these that are burned in to your memory.

Survival, I added the pics for ya!

Charlie and Le Bruce thanks much!

I forgot to add: Bring DEET the mosquito's are the only bad part, but I hardly remember the blood sucking buggers in retrospect!
dogtown

Trad climber
Cheyenne, Wyoming and Marshall Islands atoll.
  Dec 14, 2011 - 11:19pm PT
Itís worth suffering the bugs I say for great stone. ( many Bugs that bite ) I try to get up to the range a few times a year always a good time. Thanks for the TR.
Cheers.
scaredycat

Trad climber
Berkeley,CA
  Dec 14, 2011 - 11:22pm PT


Nice nice nice, and thanks. But I can't resist.

On the hike in we met a dude from california who first climbed on a gold line in the 60s, who told us about his recent divorce.

Yeah, that really narrows it down.
Hawkeye

climber
State of Mine
  Dec 14, 2011 - 11:23pm PT
Great TR, the wind Rivers are a awesome range, thanks. there i said it oxymoronf*#k. i have been saying it for 4 decades. Wind Rivers.


There is only 1 Wind River. Learn a new term for this amazing Range, please. While one can say "The Wind River Range" or The Winds and be correct, to call anything with 1 namesake river rivers is just dumb. You people are always going on about how Godamn smart you are, well figure it out.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Dec 14, 2011 - 11:24pm PT
Thanks Ezra, ur my new hero!!
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
  Dec 14, 2011 - 11:28pm PT
That looks awesome,dude!!!
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
  Dec 15, 2011 - 04:31pm PT
Looks like fun Ezra TPFU!
steveA

Trad climber
Wolfeboro, NH
  Dec 15, 2011 - 05:19pm PT
Thanks for the nice T.R.

I love the Wind River Range.
barry ohm

Trad climber
escondido, ca
  Dec 15, 2011 - 05:29pm PT
Thanks for the photos, I too have great memories from the Winds
Larry

Trad climber
Bisbee
  Dec 15, 2011 - 05:41pm PT
Oxy, this is English, not mathematics. Wyomingites have always called their great(est?) range the Wind Rivers.

The first time I heard anyone say "the Winds" it was Chuck Pratt. Sounded very weird and Californian. I was cool with it though, 'cause it was Pratt.

Thanks for the trip report, Ezra.
David Wilson

climber
CA
  Dec 15, 2011 - 06:23pm PT
a few more from my favorite range ( after the sierra of course )

mt hooker
mt hooker
Credit: David Wilson

pingora ( jackass pass in distance )from the top of bolinger peak
pingora ( jackass pass in distance )from the top of bolinger peak
Credit: David Wilson

pingora
pingora
Credit: David Wilson

lonesome lake with warbonnet in distance
lonesome lake with warbonnet in distance
Credit: David Wilson
Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Dec 15, 2011 - 09:17pm PT
Love it!
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
  Dec 15, 2011 - 10:30pm PT
There is only 1 Wind River. Learn a new term for this amazing Range, please. While one can say "The Wind River Range" or The Winds and be correct, to call anything with 1 namesake river rivers is just dumb. You people are always going on about how Godamn smart you are, well figure it out.

Did you know the range to which he was referring? If so, then dang it--all due respect--enjoy the TR and put a sock in it. Geez!! (Reminds me of the deeply meaningful diatribes about "Sierra" versus "Sierras." Seriously??)

Nice TR!
Nohea

Trad climber
Living Outside the Statist Quo
  Dec 15, 2011 - 10:42pm PT
Awesome! Seriously very sweet!

Looks crowded, guess I gotta check that place out next time I set foot on NA.

Aloha,
Will
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
  Dec 16, 2011 - 10:41pm PT
Awesome!!! The Cirque is a wonderful place.

So is Titcomb Basin!!!

Porkchop_express

Trad climber
Springdale, UT
  Dec 16, 2011 - 10:58pm PT
This aforementioned mountain range is one of my favorites ever. Will definitely be there this summer. Not sure what part though--maybe several places! I want to explore some bouldering on my lighter "rest" days.

Great TR though sir! Lots of awesome pictures. Thank you for taking the time to share that with us!

Steve Richert
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
  Dec 16, 2011 - 10:59pm PT
OKay! I want some of this.

Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
Author's Reply  Dec 16, 2011 - 11:02pm PT
David wilson- AWESOME PHOTOS,

Thanks Steves, fritz, mooser and every one else!

Any body done Ellingwood? I hear its a great route with a 15 mile approach!
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
  Dec 17, 2011 - 05:50pm PT
Great report on my favorite range.

A few random shots:

Shadow Lake and Shark's Nose


Cirque


Storm in the Cirque


Lonesome Lake after the storm (this was in early August)


Moonrise over Mount Temple


Haystack Reflected in Clear Lake


Warbonnet from slabs below Clear Lake


Hooker



Chriz

Ice climber
Olympia, WA
  Dec 20, 2011 - 02:21pm PT
Had to share some more photos from an epic few days at this place. A heaven indeed.

Approach to Lost Temple Spire
Approach to Lost Temple Spire
Credit: Chriz

Credit: Chriz

Credit: Chriz

Credit: Chriz

Credit: Chriz

Credit: Chriz

:)

melski

Trad climber
bytheriver
  Dec 20, 2011 - 09:00pm PT
wow we,wow ezz,,seens like about 20 years since jim anglen and i spent almost tow weeks in the cirque,,thunder showers you could almost set your clock to,,the smell and feel of charged air on the summits and ridges,,absaloutly the best outthere rock ive ever touched ,,,ps john rich (metoleus) might have some more mt.hooker shots,,,thanks again for the refresher,,,cheers,,melski,,
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
Author's Reply  Dec 20, 2011 - 09:20pm PT
Rgold and Chriz, awesome photography, really good.


Melski- glad I could take you back to paradise!

Chriz, what was the epic all about??? Do Tell!!!!
Captain...or Skully

climber
in the oil patch...Fricken Bakken, that's where
  Dec 20, 2011 - 09:19pm PT
Holy fricken Buckets!
I knew that region was amazing, but ya'll are shedding some new light for a monkey that's not THAT far away, eh?
Plots begin to abound. PLans? Yeah, sure.....maybe.
Thanks!!! or rather, TFPU!!
Make it official, right? WOOT!
wbw

Trad climber
'cross the great divide
  Dec 20, 2011 - 09:56pm PT
Really sweet photos and TR. My first trip "out West" in 81 was for 3 weeks in the Winds and the Absorokas. Changed my life forver and I've never looked back.
Chriz

Ice climber
Olympia, WA
  Dec 20, 2011 - 10:14pm PT
Erza - Epic as in super awesome, lots of pitches, fresh fish to eat and nobody else around!
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
  Dec 20, 2011 - 10:32pm PT
Wind River Range----long ago and far away---1971

Gannett Peak from the east side----is a long hike, and we did it to a meadow with only our party there.

[quote]Gannett Peak is commonly climbed on a four to six day round-trip. It is considered by mountaineers [who?] to be the most difficult state high point except for Alaska's Mount McKinley and possibly Montana's Granite Peak.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gannett_Peak[/quote]

Our first view of NE side of Gannett.
Our first view of NE side of Gannett.
Credit: Fritz


NE face of Gannett Peak above Dinwoody Cr.
NE face of Gannett Peak above Dinwoody Cr.
Credit: Fritz

East side of Gannett Peak.
East side of Gannett Peak.
Credit: Fritz

So----without digging out the guidebook. We hiked up the Dinwoody Glacier, and climbed up behind "the Gooseneck" onto the East Face and scrambled to the summit.

I may have forced us to rope up for a short section off the glacier, but the "free-spirits" prevailed. No ropes to the summit.

I never did find this route in a guidebook, but we were not "writing-up" routes in the 1970ís.

Harry on East Face Gannett.  No ropes.
Harry on East Face Gannett. No ropes.
Credit: Fritz

Credit: Fritz
To our surprise: we found another group of climbers, when we summited on a calm and warm August 1971 afternoon. Of course we smoked some dope.

Party on Gannett---1971
Party on Gannett---1971
Credit: Fritz


Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
Maestro, Ecosystem Ministry, Fatcrackistan
  Dec 20, 2011 - 10:34pm PT
Man I need to get back in there its been too long.

Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
Author's Reply  Dec 20, 2011 - 11:15pm PT
Fritz, Awesome pics from the way back, love the gear!

My friends climbed Gannett from the east side this summer, I believe In 3 and 1/2 days. The said it was quite the slog, but still had a good time.


Some study Teton guides did gannett in a DAY this summer, 38 miles round trip, no rope. CRAZY!

Thanks Fritz!
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