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Wind Rivers II: Titcomb Lakes and Freemont Peak

In July 2004 we embarked on our second trip to the wonder Wind River range in Wyoming. The first time we went we wondered the northern edge of the park. This time it would be an out and back in the center of the park not far from the big town of Pinedale, WY.

After stopping in Pinedale for a bit, we drove up towards the trailhead which was off of Fremont Lake. But on the way up we saw a sign for dinner on Half Moon Lake. I think it was called the Half Moon Lake Resort, but my memory fails me now. Anyway, we enjoyed a nice steak dinner and I even had a glass of wine all while over looking a beautiful lake with boats and water skiing. Someday I thought I might return for a week or forever 😉

After a nice dinner, we continued up the main road (Skyline Dr) along Fremont Lake till we reached the end and a small campground at 9200 feet. We made camp and enjoyed the sunset.

The next day we broke camp and started our hike headed more or less east towards Photographer’s Point. We never actually made it to that location as it was a bit off the trail and out of the way, but it was not the best day for a view anyway.

We continued along the trail ascending slowly upwards to Seneca Lake at around 10,300 feet. The trail continued on rolling up and down along various river and lake valleys until we hit Island Lake where we rested and I think a few of us even took a quick swim.

Eventually we continued on just a bit further into the start of Titcomb basin where we made camp on a small hill at about 11,000 feet. The basin was extremely beautiful and the skies had wonderful clouds. A photographer’s dream.


I enjoyed the sunset and snapped away while the guys made some food. The bugs were bad. No, they were terrible. It was one of those spots where you had to wear rain gear to keep them off of you. But otherwise it was very nice.

I learned how to play a game called “Scum” which I would later learn again, five years later when my kids learned it as a game called “Caps or Capitalism”. We played a lot of scum because it kept us away from the bugs.

The next day we day hiked up to Indian Basin which was an above treeline alpine basin…our favorite kind. From there, the guys decided to climb Jackson Peak at 13,517 feet. I wasn’t quite up to it so I climbed a trail which reached a pass just below the peak which would give me a nice view of the Bull Lake Glacier at about 12,800. After a nice hike and beautiful views, we returned to camp around the same time. The guys reported a successful climb of Jackson Peak.

On our third day we again climbed up to Indian Basin with our intent to climb Fremont Peak, the third highest peak in the state at 13,745 (Gannet is the highest at 13,804 and is just a few miles north). We started out fairly early but the weather looked iffy the whole way up. We slogged up some snowfields just above Indian Basin around 12,500 feet and it started to rain. But it was not too bad yet. So we continued on up Freemont which was basically a bolder hopping, steep climb. Very steep.

The weather worsened as the afternoon grew long. Thunderstorms were all around us as we made our way up a terribly exposed rock face around 13,200 feet. We reached the summit ridge and as I started to look over the top I could not see anything! It was all cloud. I immediately sat down and tried to get my balance. It was the most intense and scary feeling I may have ever experienced. As soon as I saw just fog/cloud at the top, I lose all sense of balance and reference and felt like I was falling. I slowly got back up and looked again and it was the same. Weird feeling!

With storms all around, we did not stay long and began a quick descent. Not quick enough. We started to get hit by a storm and found some “shelter” under a large rock over hang. It was not much, but it did give us some shelter from the storm. First rain, then sleet, then hail. The mailman was not delivering up here! The lightning shot in the pictures was taken during this period.

After maybe 30 minutes, the storm cleared out a bit and we were able to continue down on the wet slippery rock. Thankfully we made it back down to the saddle just above Indian Basin and were able to enjoy glacading down the snowfields and back to camp.

The storms cleared out that evening as the sun went down. More sunset pix for me 🙂

The next day we hiked out the same way we had come in. The storms came earlier today and pounded us relentlessly. Sleet and Hail just powered down on us. It literally hurt to be out there. But it was also kind of amazing to see what mother nature could do.

As we made it to our car at the trail head we realized that these storms were ONLY on the mountains. The valley where Pinedale is located (just 10 miles away) was completely sunny – not a cloud in the sky. Yet the Wind River mountains were totally socked in with storms. Amazing stuff.

Once back in Salt Lake, we visited the largest copper strip mine in the world just in case you were wondering where you could see those big trucks.

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