Wind River High Route- Skurka Version

7:01 a.m. on July 10, 2018 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,704 reviewer rep
2,221 forum posts

Hi all,

I've talked to some of you regarding a Wind River High Route Trip for 2019 and I still want to do that. I'm also planning to go this year too and was initially considering an alternate High Route (the Alan Dixon version) or a section of the Skurka version. But I'd like to go ahead and throw this out and see if there is any interest for this year as I have the time off to use from work.

My dates aren’t set yet, I can adjust if needed, but I’d rather not risk early-season snow by starting too late. I'm thinking late August to start.

Ideally, I’d like to find someone with the wherewithal to do this solo but who simply wants a partner for safety (that’s my situation and mindset). Here is the “about” page from Skurka’s website: https://andrewskurka.com/adventures/wind-river-high-route/

This will likely be the most difficult trip I’ve ever done with 65 miles off-trail ( 97 miles total) and over 30,000 vertical feet of climbing (but I expect, also the most rewarding). I estimate 10 days on-trail with no resupply, but given the nature of this endeavor it could go shorter  (in the case of a bail-out) or longer (for various reasons).  If you’ve already planned to do this then you know this won’t be a blissful, mindless, mile-crunching hike: it will have some stress about it with constant route-finding, navigation checks, weather watching, speed and distance calculations, etc… I’m also ready to fail and bail if needed. After all, it is a recreational outing and not do or die. :)

Send me a private message if interested,

Happy Trails,

Patrick

PS I'm also going to post a thread on Whiteblaze

3:18 p.m. on July 10, 2018 (EDT)
125 reviewer rep
3,141 forum posts

I would've been your huckleberry 30 years ago, but I don't think I now can haul my rocking chair up ALL of that XC incline.  I hope you chase this project, it is a worthy milestone accomplishment.

Ed

7:08 a.m. on July 11, 2018 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,704 reviewer rep
2,221 forum posts

Thanks Ed, no doubt this is a big trip and grand adventure for me...I've never set my sights on one like this before. It should be a fun and memorable attempt even if I have to bail out or skip something.

10:50 a.m. on July 11, 2018 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
3,334 reviewer rep
1,296 forum posts

I am looking forward to hearing about this one, and hopefully joining you out there in the future!  That may be my next big walk to focus on and keep me in shape! 

3:47 p.m. on July 11, 2018 (EDT)
244 reviewer rep
5,318 forum posts

Because of all the snow in the high country, I have decided to take a part time job, so I will be working 3-4 days a week, on weekends Fri-Mondays thru mid October. I took a job at a supermarket butcher shop. So I won't be able to join you. 

There is lots of snow above 9000 feet from the above average snow fall here last winter. This view of Rendezvous Peak (10,927') in the Teton Range just south of the top of the tram I took last week.


36889538_1661544803959861_12467745759082The basin in front of the peak is 9400'

4:49 p.m. on July 11, 2018 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,704 reviewer rep
2,221 forum posts

Thanks for letting me know Gary. If I wind up staying in Jackson at any point I'll send you a message. 

It's funny, based on what I've read, there are parts of this route where the snow would be beneficial to avoid talus and other parts where it could turn a pass from a backpacking route to a mountaineering route. 

I've gotten one contact with interest so far from Whiteblaze! We shall see.......

9:37 p.m. on July 11, 2018 (EDT)
25 reviewer rep
3,537 forum posts

The Winds are famous for many things including seclusion, great views, lakes, mosquitoes and crummy weather.  I think you know what you are sigining up for Patman.  Not many can keep up with you.  Depending on the month and year you might need an ice axe and crampons. 

10:14 a.m. on July 14, 2018 (EDT)
GUIDE/OUTFITTER TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
9,065 reviewer rep
437 forum posts

PM sent to your inbox, Patman...

4:04 p.m. on July 14, 2018 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
7,222 reviewer rep
1,385 forum posts

No PM sent to your inbox Patman :)

I like your plan. Knock out the master level high route this year and maybe we'll aim a bit lower on the pain scale if we try to put together a group thing next year. Don't think I could carry enough food up that first climb to last me as long as it would take me to make it to the final descent heh.

7:58 a.m. on July 16, 2018 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,704 reviewer rep
2,221 forum posts

ppine, yes I'm for sure bringing traction since lack of such could turn you around at any point. unless something changes, I will probably not bring an ice axe

LS,

lol, I understand, this will be a tremendous amount of work no matter how it goes, even the bail-outs are difficult endeavors since its a full days hike out of the center of the range from about any point. 

You bring up a good point on pack/ food weight and that's something I hope to have completely worked out before this week is over. Skurka estimates that a strong hiker can finish the route in 7-10 days, but I want to bring 10 days of food if I can, just to be conservative and not go too hungry if I'm delayed. That's a big food load to haul up and over the first summit (I'm planning a northbound route so the first climb is Wind River Peak (13K) at 7,900 feet of gain in 17 miles from Bruce Bridge ) and the next few passes. By 30 miles in will also have to climb Jackass Pass (1506 gain) and New York Pass (1323 gain) so it is a significant factor. I certainly don't look forward to going down the West Gully of Wind River peak with a heavy pack on all that loose rock.

I usually don't eat of lot of dehydrated stuff but I don't see a way around it. Trying to resupply mid-route with pack animal service is really expensive and logistically difficult. I may lose some weight on this trip. :)

8:13 p.m. on July 16, 2018 (EDT)
25 reviewer rep
3,537 forum posts

Bring at least a hand line for some trout. 

8:47 p.m. on July 16, 2018 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
3,332 reviewer rep
1,022 forum posts

Unfortunately, my teaching semester will already be in full swing when you. And, like some others here, I'm not sure I have it in me to keep up with you, Patman. But it does seem to me that someone with time on their hands could volunteer to meet you halfway with a load of food... 

Also, I not that Skurka recommends microspikes and and ice axe, though I suppose if you can get some beta on current conditions you might be able to go without.

If you bring that hand line you will also need a $90 Wyoming fishing license and probably a frying pan.

Best wishes, it should be fantastic however it goes.

9:13 a.m. on July 17, 2018 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,704 reviewer rep
2,221 forum posts

nah, I'm no super athlete or anything, I have the impression that you train as much or more than me Red!  

I've slowed down noticeably in the last few years (started noticing at 41 , just turned 46). And really that is a big part of why I don't want to wait for this trip. I'm not getting any younger and I want this one bad. Something about this has grabbed me and I really want to experience that incredible remoteness.

It will be extreme physically for sure, but as Skurka wrote regarding emotional maturity being a prerequisite:

"The idea of wilderness is very appealing, but being in wilderness can in fact be stressful, if not scary. The considerable distances from safety, the overwhelming sense of solitude, and the discernible presence of environmental risks lead to a very strong realization of self-dependence. Some backpackers become addicted to it, while others return to more blissful endeavors."

I often operate under the illusion of wilderness here in the east. I try to stay away from things that spoil my illusion like camping where I can hear traffic, or crossing roads, or crossing by vacation homes. Night hiking in the smokies is eye opening: the lights reveal how close all the houses and civilization really are.

I've done 100 mile hikes before but never one that didn't cross a road! How cool is that?

This will be the most remote trip I've attempted, so I am curious how I'll handle that. Be careful what you wish for, 'cause you just might get it, right? :)

9:33 a.m. on July 18, 2018 (EDT)
25 reviewer rep
3,537 forum posts

I would just remind you to keep caution in the front of your mind.  The snow and ice, and boulders make a mis -step dangerous.  When you get tired, stop for the day.  Fatigue is your enemy and you have manage it to stay safe.  Even a sprained knee or ankle has consequences in remote locations.  Bring some Ace bandages or other appliances like a knee brace.  What kind of weight are you anticipating starting out?  You are going to remember a trip like this for the rest of your life Patman.  

9:42 a.m. on July 18, 2018 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,704 reviewer rep
2,221 forum posts

Ppine, I'm aiming to be at or under 37 lbs to start. I'm willing to go a touch light on food and my kit will be as paired down as it can. I plan to use my lightest pack (the Gossamer Gear Mariposa) which actually has a listed limit of 35lbs but it was fine last year in the Weminiche with 37 to start. I brought a heavy winter bag rated at -10 F and more layers than I actually used on that trip (carried wool long johns and never wore them); I'm going to cut that a little closer for this and use a 15F bag (saving one pound) , a lighter tent (saving a half a pound), a lighter pad (saving 7 ounces) etc... 

I'll call some of the outfitters and find out just how expensive that pack animal resupply stuff is. If it's not too crazy I may consider it. I've read there is one that will meet you near the end of the Glacier Trail but the trip is almost over by then. I do have the ability to send text messages from my SAT device to coordinate. I dunno, still mulling it over. I need to get everything layed out soon to see where my weight is at.

The more I study this, I think the mental exhaustion of the navigation will be the biggest factor for me. I expect that to slow me down quite a lot. I've read several trip reports and one of the problems could be visibility (bad weather can decide this whole thing). With no set line of travel you have to be able to have some sight lines; I doubt there will be many areas where you can just follow a straight bearing and maintain it's integrity. Even the places with cliff walls and creeks as handrails will need to be examined for the best footing, least obstacles like willow or loose talus, etc...

What Phil said about his navigation in Scotland keeps coming back to me concerning the three levels of route-finding: long range goal, mid-range goal, and watch where you are putting your feet!

Yes, I'm consumed by this now that I have a possible partner; it's getting much more real by the day. :)

10:33 a.m. on July 18, 2018 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,704 reviewer rep
2,221 forum posts

I hear you about the caution on that terrain. Some of the passes look pretty freaking intimidating. But, the route does go, just gotta make sure to hit the right ones.......

11:20 a.m. on July 18, 2018 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
3,334 reviewer rep
1,296 forum posts

Just a thought about resupply...have you considered reaching out to any groups (here or others) where some kind soul might be interested in planning a shorter route and willing to be a pack mule substitute for a day or so. If I had the time but not enough to do the whole trip I would always be happy to carry in supplies for a longer walker.

3:25 p.m. on July 18, 2018 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,704 reviewer rep
2,221 forum posts

Phil, I haven't yet explored that. I was thinking this would be a shorter trip but then I got a bite on the post for a partner and of course work got busy at the most inopportune time. :)

My partner is heading out there a week before and doing a 70 mile on-trail route with another group to get warmed up! Looks like he is a hiking machine and perfect for this. 

10:10 a.m. on July 20, 2018 (EDT)
25 reviewer rep
3,537 forum posts

A lot of the country is pretty open with good sight lines, but it can be socked in with fog and low clouds for several days.  Make sure you have a way to catch fish if you get stuck waiting for the weather. 

3:27 p.m. on July 25, 2018 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,704 reviewer rep
2,221 forum posts

So Big Sandy Lodge would drop food for me at Big Sandy lake for a minimum of $380 (plus tax). It's $195 per pack horse and a $185 Wrangler fee. 

I'll just be lugging it, lol. 

2:04 p.m. on August 29, 2018 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,704 reviewer rep
2,221 forum posts

First summit wind river peak, 13192 feet
20180829_120050.jpg

2:17 p.m. on August 29, 2018 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
7,222 reviewer rep
1,385 forum posts

Up, up and away!! Have fun and keep your eyes open for easier routes for next year :p

4:22 p.m. on August 29, 2018 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
3,334 reviewer rep
1,296 forum posts

Woo hoo! Looking forward to more!

December 11, 2018
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply

 
More Topics
This forum: Older: How can I connect with other Teton hikers Sept 3-9? Newer: Big Bend Outer Mountain Loop - Nov 2018
All forums: Older: Anyone have details on the Montbell 80L trekking pack? Newer: Wind protection: weight vs. function.