| Gannett Peak, Wyoming - New Glacier Trail Route
Monique, (ClemsonClimber), Patrick, Hugh, Nate, Larry, Uwe
07/07/09 – 07/12/09
New Glacier Trail – Gooseneck Glacier/Gooseneck Ridge
Trek Segments and Approximate Travel Times
Trail Lake Ranch TH to Ink Wells/Glacier Trail Junction
@ 18 - 19 miles – 11.5 hours
Ink Wells/Glacier Trail Junction to a camp area below the Dinwoody Glacier moraine
@ 4-5 miles - 3.75 hours
@ 4 to 5 miles – 7.5 hours
Camp to Ink Wells/Glacier Trail Junction
@ 3.25 hrs
Ink Wells/Glacier Trail Junction to Trail Lake Ranch TH
@ 11 hrs
Pace – a steady clip throughout
4 days of mostly blue skies and brilliant moonlit nights. The
periodic clouds and breezes were welcomed. Temperatures were 60's
to 70's during days, mid to high 30's at night. Had a little frost nip in
the morning at InkWells/Glacier Trail junction campsite due to our
proximity to Dinwoody Creek. At our second camp, dry conditions with
highs in the low 60's, & lows in the mid to upper 30's. Summit
conditions – clear blue skies, 39 degrees, with a mild, steady breeze.
Trails Lake Ranch Trailhead to Ink Wells/Glacier Trail Junction
Summer conditions. The Forest Service has done a good job building
and maintaining the trail and bridges. We encountered an easy to
follow trail with no real route finding issues. If required, most stream
crossings had either solid Forest Service built bridges or makeshift
logs, all in good working order. There were muddy, wet spots in and
around the meadows and in areas where water run-off flowed across
or onto the trail. This route is shared with horses.
Ink Wells/Glacier Trail Junction to the Moraine Below Dinwoody Glacier
Summer conditions. The outfitters had just gotten through for the first
time the week prior to our arrival. The trail ranged from dry to muddy
and wet to snow patches. Did our first and only boots to sandals swap
on the Klondike Creek and Gannett Creek crossings. While cold and
swift flowing, they were below knee level and manageable. To pick
out a good crossing point you may have to move away from the trail a
Base of Dinwoody Glacier to Summit
An excellent 'spring snow' climb. Hiked across consolidated snow
patches and on through a cairned boulder field straight to the
base of the Gooseneck Glacier. From there, a straightforward
snow climb to the summit. The summit ridge is airy and exposed, but
the snow was so good we all felt pretty comfortable. After a series of
clear days & nights, the snow was well consolidated making for very
smooth crampon travel. However, the early sun-hit had the snow
softening by 08:00.
The bergschrund is starting to show, but still had good places to cross.
My guess is that within a couple of weeks it will be exposed with few
snow bridges available for crossing.
The InkWells/Glacier Trail junction was home to a classy site, best on
the trail in our opinion. We camped in a big meadow surrounded by
trees next to a bend near Dinwoody Creek. Our second camp below
Dinwoody Glacier was in a wind protected depression on a grassy
knoll, close to Dinwoody Creek. Plenty of room for 4 tents.
07/07 - Drive Up
Left Denver at 06:00 and arrived on the outskirts of Dubois, WY on
Hwy 26 @ 13:30. Checked into the Longhorn RV and Motel, which is
about a mile west from the turn-off to our trailhead. Worked out our
share gear, built our team med and repair kits and divided up the pro-gear.
Headed into Dubois, (pronounced "DU-BOYZ" by the locals), picked up
the free bear canisters we had reserved from the Forest Service,
walked about, met up with the rest of our crew, met up with our
outfitter - using pack animals to haul in some gear was an option most
of us took advantage of. Had a beer at a cowboy bar, Whiskey Creek
saloon, and dinner at Lorenzo's, an Italian restaurant.
07/08 - Day 1
Hooked up with Patrick, our outfitter, who took our gear and loaded up
the mules. Hit the trail at 05:30. He took the pack animals up the Old
Glacier Trail while we hiked up the New Glacier Trail. The trail took us
about 18 miles - over Torrey Creek, up a series of switchbacks, through
the Arrow Mountain – Burro Flat alpine tundra, past Phillips Lake, down
to Double Lake, past Star Lake, down another a series of switchbacks
past Honeymoon Lake, across Honeymoon Creek to Downs Fork
Meadows, and on past Big Meadows until we arrived at our first
campsite at the junction of Ink Wells/Glacier Trail. Only ran into a
family riding out on horseback. The campsite was empty, too. Nice
camp dinner, lots of laughs, and off to bed.
07/09 - Day 2
Since we went further than expected the day before, we started out
at 08:30. We passed through Floyd Wilson Meadows under clear skies
and a bright sun, hooking up with our outfitter at the end of the
meadow. Grabbed our gear, said goodbye to Patrick and the mules,
repacked and hauled all our stuff to the base of the Dinwoody Glacier,
below the moraine.
Set up camp and took the afternoon off. Hugh and I did a route
evaluation of the summit climb. We saw a series of tracks from the
base to the summit ridge. Our route would follow the prior footsteps
for the most part; contouring around the right of Gooseneck Ridge and
Pinnacle, along the left edge of the Gooseneck Glacier up through some
35-45 degree sections, turning right onto the south ridge which leads
straight to the summit ridge.
07/10 - Day 3
Headed out at 03:00 under a bright moonlit sky, moving over snow
patches and boulders in the lower part of the moraine. Once we hit
the edge of the Gooseneck Glacier, we pulled out the helmets, ice
axes and crampons and proceeded on to the summit with all of us
arriving by 07:30. Had a sweet descent that included some decent
Two Scotsmen joined us at the summit. They came via Dinwoody Pass
(Bonney Pass), having bivied on the other side of the pass the night
before. We had seen their headlamps at 04:00 as they were
descending Dinwoody Glacier. Very cool sight.
We saw the remnants of a MASSIVE avalanche. The slab crown
extended from just below the summit ridge, down to the south ridge.
It looked fairly fresh, only a couple of days old?
No issues with the bergschrund that runs above, to the right of the
Gooseneck Pinnacle near the base of the last steep snow climb before
you hit the south ridge. We decided no need for anchors or setting up
belays. Found a safe crossing and moved over the area in a slow,
singular fashion. Did not rope up. On the way back, the snow over the
bergschrund had softened up to the point that Monique punched
through with her leg.
Off the glacier by 09:30, hiked back to camp, rested, packed up and
headed back to our campsite at the Ink Wells/Glacier Trail junction.
This time we shared the site with the Forest Service employees and
interns who had arrived for the season.
07/11 - Day 4
We headed out at 07:30. Good day. Maintained a pace that brought
us back to the trailhead in time to check in, drop our packs and grab a
good meal at the Cowboy Café in Dubois. Hiking out, we meet a couple
of parties who were coming in to give Gannett a shot. The summer
climbing season is on!
07/12 - Drive Home
After a leisurely breakfast at the Cowboy Café we headed home,
arriving in time for dinner making for a happy ending to a fine
Pro Gear Considerations
While not used, we carried harness, (2) 30M 8mm short ropes, rappel
rings, slings, locking biners, belay devices, (3) pickets, cordelettes,
rock pro gear and some crevasse rescue gear. On summit day, we left
the rock pro behind after seeing the climbing conditions the day
before. As the summer season moves on, this gear may be required.
Most of our pack weighed 50 to 60 lb range, plus the 3 lb bear
canisters. I saved a little weight by only carrying (2) 1-liter water
bottles. With so many water sources along the way, you could get by
with 2 water bottles or a 2-3-liter camelback throughout the trip. No
filtering problems. Did not have to to melt snow. Used < 8oz of MSR
fuel canister for MSR Pocket Rocket for two persons over six meals.
Having mules carry gear in allowed us to do the trip in four days without
killing ourselves. We were well rested for summit day and had a long
sleep the night prior to heading back to the trailhead.
Trip Tips & Links
Bears and moose – We did not see either. Patrick with Chamley
Outfitting did see a moose and calf in Big Meadows.
Bear Spray and Bear Food Canisters – Some of us carried the Forest
Service's recommended Counterassault's Bear Pepper Spray. The
Forest Service required that you either hang your food or have a bear
canister which they can loan to you. Hugh said, "Heavy suckers! I'll
avoid them in the future."
Here's a link to lightweight bear food canisters:
General Information about Gannett Peak:
General information about Dubois:
Longhorn RV and Motel:
307 455 2337
They honor AAA. Charlotte, Connie or Marie will be happy to
help. They can make recommendations, hold your gear, etc. Great
folks and facilities.
Whiskey Creek Saloon:
Shoshone National Forest Ranger District Office – Dubois
District Office Dubois: 307 455 2446
Ask for Justin, Carl or Connie – a great crew.
Dubois Sheriff's office: 307 455 2226
The Glacier Trail is well marked in the USGS Topo Maps:
Gannett Peak, WY; Fremont Peak North,WY; Ink Wells, WY;
and Torrey Lake, WY
Kelsey, Joe, Climbing and Hiking in the Wind River Mountains, 2nd
edition, Chockstone Press, 1994, pp 115, 120-122.
Holmes, Don W., Highpoints of the United States: A Guide to the Fifty
State Summits, 2nd edition, University of Utah Press, 2000, pp. 237-244.
We liked ours.
Chamley Outfitting, llc: 307 455 3755
Ask for Blake or Amelia
Having spent a bit of time in the Southeast, I am not sure what the
fuss is all about. Anyway, ubiquitous is how Monique described them.
There was no hiding from them. Long pants, long sleeves, a head net,
and a light pair of gloves kept me comfortable. I used about 4-5
squirts of 100% DEET over the course of the trip. The cool night
temperatures warded them off, but as soon as the sun peeked over
the horizon, they went into action. Below timberline, it is a good idea
to start moving by sun-hit. We were thankful for any breezes as it
helped keep them at bay. Our second camp was pretty much free of them.
Anyone heading up there, please be on the lookout for Monique's
trekking pole. She said, "Black Diamond Spire Compact - pink handlebar
tape on the lower grip (thanks to a 2007 marmot encounter!) and
supply of bright pink duct tape below the grip. Was dropped down the
slope right where the folks coming down from Bonney Pass connected
with our route..."
Monique's photo journal is available at:
Patrick checking into our cabin at the Longhorn RV and Motel. He only has two more
state high points to do - Granite and Denali. WAY TO GO!
Sea of wildflowers in the Arrow Mountain - Burro Flat alpine tundra.
Patrick, our outfitter, catches up to us.
Dropping down and getting ready to pass Phillips Lake.
Double Lakes. A swim was tempting.
Larry passes Star Lake.
Monique and Larry head down the switchbacks that pass by Honeymoon Lake.
Still smilin' with miles behind and more ahead.
Dinwoody Creek just above Big Meadows.
Looking back across Big Meadows. Note the sandy trail.
Nate on the bridge at the junction of Ink Wells/Glacier Trail.
The campsite we enjoyed coming and going.
We had parked ourselves at the second camp, and got our first good look at our route.
It is 05:45 and Patrick is trucking up the snow slope. Gannett Peak is right behind him.
All accounted for: (L-R) Nate, Hugh, Monique, Larry and Patrick.
It was nice enough for us to horse around the summit a bit.
Hugh leads our descent.
Descending from the summit ridge.
Descending from the south ridge.
Hard to see: slab crown that extends from the summit ridge, all the way across. The long line of the
crevasse that was starting to open up. In the lower right corner, the beginning of the huge
avalanche debris field.
Find the two Scotsmen as they make their way down and across Dinwoody Glacier and back up to
and Monique 1/2 mile from the trailhead, looking fresh and ready for more. Hard to tell that they just
hauled out 18 or so miles under a heavy pack.
Celebrating at the Cowboy Cafe. Good buffalo burgers and pie.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):