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PatmanTN
07-10-2018, 10:19
Hello All,

Iím looking for a partner, or perhaps a small group, to attempt the Andrew Skurka-version Wind River High Route starting in late August / possibly extending in to September. Ideally, Iíd like to find someone already planning to do this or with the wherewithal to do this solo but who simply wants a partner for safety (thatís my situation and mindset). Here is the ďaboutĒ page from Skurkaís website: https://andrewskurka.com/adventures/wind-river-high-route/

This will likely be the most difficult trip Iíve 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 (likely in the case of a bail-out) or longer (for various reasons). My dates arenít set yet, I can adjust if needed, but Iíd rather not risk early-season snow by starting too late. If youíve already planned to do this then you know this wonít 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, etcÖ Iím also ready to fail and bail if needed. After all, it is a recreational outing and not do or die. 😊

This seems weird to post this much about myself but it's relevant in the context of a meet-up for this adventure: Iím 46 years old, and an avid backpacker; Iíve done over 8000 miles of backpacking in the last decade. I work full time but go out almost every weekend (44 trips last year out of 52 weeks). For the last 6 years, Iíve averaged about 1000 miles of backpacking per year. The majority of my experience is on-trail but over the last few years Iíve been doing solo off-trail trips in the Southern Appalachians. These types of trips often involve following old, overgrown, and faded routes (known as ďmanwaysĒ locally) or using creeks as hand rails and hiking in the creek while climbing falls and cascades, or bush-whacking through heinous rhododendron (my least favorite).

I live in East Tennessee and so the southern apps are my goto, but I usually go out to the western US about once a year to backpack in some new area or mountain range. Here are some of the places Iíve trekked: Sierra out of Mineral King (https://www.trailspace.com/forums/trip-reports/topics/148286.html), Grand Canyon (Rim to Rim to Rim (https://www.trailspace.com/forums/trip-reports/topics/99672.html)), Grand Teton National Park (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTLrkzlbcN8) , Four Passes Loop (https://www.trailspace.com/forums/trip-reports/topics/171863.html) in the Elk Mountains of Colorado (Maroon Bells), Glacier National Park Montana (https://www.trailspace.com/forums/trip-reports/topics/180631.html), Weminiche Wilderness , CO (https://www.trailspace.com/forums/trip-reports/topics/186494.html) .

If you want to peruse for more here are about 100 trip reports (https://www.trailspace.com/people/patman/?content=trip-reports) on Trailspace.com (the older ones have broken picture links). I wa recently a Reviwer of the Month at Trailspace and they did a little write-up (https://www.trailspace.com/blog/2018/05/23/patman-reviewer-of-the-month.html). I bagged my first western peak about 6 years ago in the Sierra (Sawtooth Peak 12,343) and have since done five fourteeners in CO: Snowmass, Sunlight, Windom, Eolus, North Eolus. Iíve done occasional class 4 moves but never with a full pack. Iím not a rock climber or mountaineer and will choose my routes accordingly.

As far as navigational skills, Iíve done years of terrain association with topo maps, Iím proficient with dead reckoning (determining distance based on rate and speed), and Iíve done quite a bit of route-finding in my home terrain. I know compass basics as far as transferring bearings from the map to the field and vice versa as well as how to triangulate but have not used these skills extensively. Iíve been practicing for this trip though.

If you are interested please reply back to this thread and /or send a private message to discuss more details.

Happy Trails!

patrick

Venchka
07-10-2018, 12:57
I can only dream and wish.
Good luck!
Wayne

Dogwood
07-10-2018, 23:32
I surmise this will be your most strenuous hike ever. Not many "outs" either. I'd start first wk of Sept with your timeframe. Definitely get Skurka's WRHR mapset. SHR has more "outs." I may be going out to do a Sierra 230 mile hike starting first wk of Sept with the WRHR a part of it. It will be an extension of the L2H Route. It's not definite as work and personal life currently have me swamped. I'll be doing more than 10 a day though.

PatmanTN
07-11-2018, 06:56
Thanks Wayne, I need all the luck I can get!

Dogwood,

Well I guess you never know till you go, but yeah, I don't think I've done that much up and down in that few miles before. What is your reasoning for advising a September start? My concern is that a big snow will wreck the trip on that terrain.

Sure enough, I bought the mapset/ guidebook some time ago and have been studying the route for a couple months now. Also bought the Earthwalk Press maps and a digital version of Kelsey's guidebook which had some really interesting chapters.

I'm not really sure how much daily mileage I'll do out there but for planning purposes I'm estimating conservatively. Since there is no marked line of travel for most of it, I may very well make some bad choices along the way and have to backtrack or reroute around an obstacle, etc...

Venchka
07-11-2018, 07:49
I will cast a vote for late August and early September. Lack of rain. Lack of insects. Get to the trailhead ahead of the Labor Day rush and finish after the rush. We were there last year in the southern end of the Range and it was lovely.
Can it snow? Sure. Any day of the year. Will early September snow stick around? Probably not.
Didnít Skurka mention making 3 mistakes? Donít do that. 👍😄
Have you looked at Adventure Alanís Wind River Route?
http://www.adventurealan.com/wind-river-high-route-guide/
In case you need a place to escape nasty weather. The Big Sandy Lodge.
http://www.big-sandy-lodge.com
All the best to you!
Wayne

PatmanTN
07-11-2018, 08:08
Wayne,

yes the Alan Dixon route is still on the table. Skurkas route is harder but seems more interesting with more highlights.

Venchka
07-11-2018, 08:22
Go for it!
Worst case: Drop down and follow the CDT/Fremont Trail. There are no bad days in the WWR. Heck, there are no bad days in Wyoming.
Wayne

notbad
07-11-2018, 10:08
PatmanTN I am interested in this route!

PatmanTN
07-11-2018, 13:24
notbad,

Right-on! I sent you a private message with my e-mail address in it. I had low hopes that I would get any responses on this at all. :)

Dogwood
07-12-2018, 00:36
My bad. I was referring to Skurka's Kings Canyon High Basin Traverse. Cooler weather beginning early first wk of Sept. Makes for better strenuous hiking. I surmise the risk for heavy snowfall to be low risk with your 10 day timeframe.

DuneElliot
07-12-2018, 13:49
Notbad, you could do our trip then meet the OP and do the High Route too...be a mega Wind River trip and really make the trip worth it

Dogwood
07-12-2018, 15:15
I like the way you think DE. One trip is in Cali - the Sierras - and the other WY.

DuneElliot
07-12-2018, 15:49
I like the way you think DE. One trip is in Cali - the Sierras - and the other WY.

It is the Wind River High Route, not the Sierra or Kings Canyon High Route. Both trips are in the Winds.

Dogwood
07-12-2018, 21:37
Dixon and Skurka had different WRR high routes as well as several others. I was initially confused and referring to Skurka's High Basin Sierra route.


I dont think I'd do both their routes on one trip. I'd choose my own route pieced together from various documented routes as well as some of my own. I very much do like what Andrew did though. Some of D and S routes I did already do as a CDT WRR alternate.

PatmanTN
07-13-2018, 09:40
lol, I believe the Skurka WRHR will be as "mega" as most would want! per Skurka:



It averages 620 vertical feet of change (up and/or down) per mile, compared to 420 ft/mi for the Appalachian Trail, 375 for the John Muir Trail, 310 for the Pacific Crest Trail, and 300 for the Continental Divide Trail.

DuneElliot
07-13-2018, 09:46
lol, I believe the Skurka WRHR will be as "mega" as most would want! per Skurka:



It averages 620 vertical feet of change (up and/or down) per mile, compared to 420 ft/mi for the Appalachian Trail, 375 for the John Muir Trail, 310 for the Pacific Crest Trail, and 300 for the Continental Divide Trail.


You don't know notbad like I do....the man is a machine when hiking. Our loop route in the north would be a 70 mile warm-up for him.

PatmanTN
07-13-2018, 10:01
You don't know notbad like I do....the man is a machine when hiking. Our loop route in the north would be a 70 mile warm-up for him.
oh wow ok, that's really good to know and just the kind of person I was looking for! :)

Venchka
07-13-2018, 10:53
Put half of your gear in his pack. That might even things out.
Oh. Bad idea. His pack is tiny. And weightless. Grinning!
SUL gear aside, heís a good guy!
Standing by for the Trip Report and lots of photos!
Wayne

notbad
07-13-2018, 15:41
My ears were ringing....and than I find this!.... All half truths and exaggerations I assure you all...although very kind!... especially the good guy part,,��If the stars align and the spirits of Western Wyoming allow! Driving home from work I'll be reaching out to CJ and Pat in a more private setting tonight when I am home!...Too funny.....signing off with new trail name ...notbad and not as good as described!... Hope all is well Wayne!... Can't imagine it down in the East Texas rainforest right now...it's hot here in the north pole....

notbad
07-13-2018, 15:42
Winking emojis failed to register

DuneElliot
07-13-2018, 16:31
My ears were ringing....and than I find this!.... All half truths and exaggerations I assure you all...although very kind!... especially the good guy part,,��If the stars align and the spirits of Western Wyoming allow! Driving home from work I'll be reaching out to CJ and Pat in a more private setting tonight when I am home!...Too funny.....signing off with new trail name ...notbad and not as good as described!... Hope all is well Wayne!... Can't imagine it down in the East Texas rainforest right now...it's hot here in the north pole....

You left us in the dust...or did sometimes until you slowed down! I know you are more than capable of doing both back to back

Venchka
07-13-2018, 17:39
A cold front passed through the Upper East Side of Texas. Itís only 90. And. We had 1.5Ē of rain this week.
Iíll get a small taste of the Rockies with my granddaughter in early August.
Yíall have fun! Blaze the route for me!
Wayne

JPritch
08-18-2018, 11:59
Did you end up going on this trip? I never look in this sub and completely missed this, though the WRHR is likely on my list for next year. If for some reason you put this off til next year, then I'm your man. Was planning on going solo, but a partner would be a good thing for a trip like this.

DuneElliot
08-18-2018, 14:25
They are doing it starting Aug 28. Notbad is doing my northern loop trip in the Winds from Aug 20-26, taking a day or two off and then doing the WRHR with Patman

DuneElliot
08-18-2018, 14:25
There are four of us doing the northern loop.

Venchka
08-18-2018, 14:53
Yíall have fun! This year wasnít right for the WRR. Iíll be back!
Wayne

Malto
08-18-2018, 15:49
Wayne,

yes the Alan Dixon route is still on the table. Skurkas route is harder but seems more interesting with more highlights.
You can mix and match between the routes. We ended up doing that due to weather, late September. Drop dead gorgeous area.

Venchka
08-18-2018, 16:25
Letís all pray that it doesnít get a 3 letter abbreviation followed by ďThruĒ.
If so, Iíll have to find somewhere else to go.
Wayne

swisscross
08-18-2018, 17:13
Y’all have fun! This year wasn’t right for the WRR. I’ll be back!
Wayne

Was not right this year for me either. You kids have fun.

PatmanTN
08-19-2018, 08:44
You can mix and match between the routes. We ended up doing that due to weather, late September. Drop dead gorgeous area.

Yeah I'm approaching this with an open mind. Who knows what the weather will do and what decisions we may have to make. The plan is to attempt to follow the Skurka route as close as possible. If we have to bail, it seems most of the options are to the west but our car will be on the east so that could complicate things a little. My partner is already out there and I'm set to go in a few days. Wow , this is exciting. :)

I wish my pack were a little lighter but it's about as good as I can do right now. With 10 days of food and 1 liter of water I'm at a skin-out total of 36.77 lbs. about 2 pounds is clothing I'll wear most of the time so 34 riding in the pack. I don't relish the thought of descending the loose rock of Wind River Peaks west gully with that load but I'll just go slow and be as careful as I can. We will likely stop to camp above Deep Creek lakes and I can at least be down one days food before the harrowing scramble.

I'm bringing a Tarptent Stratospire 1 and I'm soooo tempted to leave the inner and just bring a ground sheet. But if the mosquitos are still going that would suck.

Venchka
08-19-2018, 08:51
Pat man,
Last year. Week before Labor Day near Leadville, CO and the week after Labor Day on the CDT NW of the Big Sandy Trailhead: SS 1 fly only. Or cowboy camped. Insects not a problem. Love the StratoSpire 1!
Cheers.
Wayne

swisscross
08-19-2018, 09:19
agree with wayne...inner not needed.

Time Zone
08-19-2018, 14:01
Best wishes on your trip, Patman. I've enjoyed your posts and TS reviews for some time, and especially enjoyed what you had to say about external frame packs in our hiking area:


"Many of the “on-trail” places I go are so lightly maintained that you still have to use the five D’s of dodge ball to get through them."

:D

Kudos to you on all the great adventures you've had and continue to seek.

- TZ

colorado_rob
08-19-2018, 19:51
Wow, how cool, I'm excited to see this thread and wish PM the best on his quest. I wonder if there is any chance, weather wise, on giving this a go in mid-late September? I might give it a thought.

swisscross
08-19-2018, 21:18
Wow, how cool, I'm excited to see this thread and wish PM the best on his quest. I wonder if there is any chance, weather wise, on giving this a go in mid-late September? I might give it a thought.

weather is different every year. last year we had great weather. 30's at night...60' during the day (starting sept 1).
friends of mine were doing the same or similar route one week later and got 2 feet of snow in the cirque. they were forced to bail.

Venchka
08-19-2018, 22:26
weather is different every year. last year we had great weather. 30's at night...60' during the day (starting sept 1).
friends of mine were doing the same or similar route one week later and got 2 feet of snow in the cirque. they were forced to bail.
YIKES! We were very lucky. I had no idea that the weather changed that much so soon after we left.
Wayne

DuneElliot
08-27-2018, 09:10
Notbad and I just got off our route. He is due to meet Patman tonight at the south end of the range...however 4-8" of snow expefted above 9500' today and tonight could make things a little tough to start.

Malto
08-27-2018, 20:34
agree with wayne...inner not needed.
Ompletely agree

double d
08-28-2018, 09:38
Very cool hiking plans-have a great hike!

Venchka
08-28-2018, 19:33
Freeze warning issued for Pinedale tomorrow morning.
Wayne

DuneElliot
08-28-2018, 19:40
Freeze warning issued for Pinedale tomorrow morning.
Wayne

We already dealt with freezing temps. They are hitting Wind River Peak today or early tomorrow. They are well-prepared for cold weather

Venchka
08-28-2018, 19:45
I knew that they are prepared. Itís still August. Not unusual, seems a bit early. I actually appreciate a frost in the mountains after summer along the Gulf Coast.
Wayne

notbad
09-10-2018, 10:27
Beautiful, Brutal, Done!

Venchka
09-10-2018, 12:07
Beautiful, Brutal, Done!
Totally Freaking Awesome!
Heading home into another hurricane.
Whatís up with that?
Have a safe trip! Standing by for the Trip Report!
Wayne

notbad
09-10-2018, 12:20
Thanks Wayne! It was more than one could ask for...in both beauty and challenge. Back home safe in WNY. Feeling blessed! Good luck with the weather. Pat ( the toughest IT dude in America) will be putting together what I expect to be an excellent trip report!

DuneElliot
09-10-2018, 13:20
Thanks Wayne! It was more than one could ask for...in both beauty and challenge. Back home safe in WNY. Feeling blessed! Good luck with the weather. Pat ( the toughest IT dude in America) will be putting together what I expect to be an excellent trip report!

Good to know you made it home safe. Hope you get your phone situation sorted out soon...and pictures.

notbad
09-10-2018, 13:23
Thanks CJ!

Venchka
09-10-2018, 16:01
One assumes that there was an appropriate Sublett County Party in honor of Yíallís completion of this Epic Route?
Patman? IT? Who knew?
Wayne Out!

PatmanTN
09-10-2018, 16:21
Hey now, Notbad is a super freaking tough dude. This was the hardest route I've ever done; the real deal. I'm swamped at work right now but hope to get a report up soon. I tracked the trip with a Suunto GPS watch and want to go through the data. Looks like we did around 35,000 feet of vertical climbing. Ouch!

Venchka
09-10-2018, 16:32
Yikes! Ouch is right.
Thatís higher than Everest if you started in Mumbai!
Iím envious. Time to get my old bones in gear!
Wayne

DuneElliot
09-10-2018, 16:59
Hey now, Notbad is a super freaking tough dude. This was the hardest route I've ever done; the real deal. I'm swamped at work right now but hope to get a report up soon. I tracked the trip with a Suunto GPS watch and want to go through the data. Looks like we did around 35,000 feet of vertical climbing. Ouch!

Told you he was a machine!!! Glad you had a great trip...he told me how brutal it was when we had lunch on Friday but look forward to the trip report.

notbad
09-10-2018, 19:45
Told you he was a machine!!! Glad you had a great trip...he told me how brutal it was when we had lunch on Friday but look forward to the trip report.
Skurka WRHR......where machines go to be humbled!

notbad
09-10-2018, 19:56
One assumes that there was an appropriate Sublett County Party in honor of Yíallís completion of this Epic Route?
Patman? IT? Who knew?
Wayne Out!

Ainít no party like a Sublette County party! Like the sign says....Pinedale...all the civilization one needs!

Venchka
09-10-2018, 20:03
Ain’t no party like a Sublette County party! Like the sign says....Pinedale...all the civilization one needs!

Amen Brother!

Wayne

DuneElliot
09-10-2018, 20:19
Skurka WRHR......where machines go to be humbled!

But worth every humbling moment

Venchka
09-10-2018, 20:46
Yíall do realize that...
If we talk about them, They will come.
Wayne

Dogwood
09-11-2018, 14:08
Skurka WRHR......where machines go to be humbled!

Its also humbling to design a route for yourself doing it entirely as a first by not skimping on making it easier taking in peaks that others had ignored on a WRHR traverse...without a mapset, accumulating data,.... which is what Skurka did. LOTS of elev change though. It's a demanding route. Congrats to Notbad and Patman.

notbad
09-11-2018, 15:31
Its also humbling to design a route for yourself doing it entirely as a first by not skimping on making it easier taking in peaks that others had ignored on a WRHR traverse...without a mapset, accumulating data,.... which is what Skurka did. LOTS of elev change though. It's a demanding route. Congrats to Notbad and Patman.
Plenty humbling for this full time working father of 4 softball dad from suburbia! I mean *****....I got lost in the mall at Xmas time last year! Definitely enjoy attempting to up the skills game though...Thanks to Mr.Skurka for his fantastic work laying out such a beautiful vacation itinerary! Saw very few footprints......thanks a bunch for the congrats Dogwood...feeling accomplished!

PatmanTN
09-11-2018, 20:47
OK, trip report is up in two parts:

https://whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php/130700-Wind-River-High-Route-Skurka-Version-Part-1


https://whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php/130701-Wind-River-High-Route-Skurka-Version-Part-2?p=2222739#post2222739

Dogwood
09-11-2018, 23:13
Plenty humbling for this full time working father of 4 softball dad from suburbia! I mean *****....I got lost in the mall at Xmas time last year! Definitely enjoy attempting to up the skills game though...Thanks to Mr.Skurka for his fantastic work laying out such a beautiful vacation itinerary! Saw very few footprints......thanks a bunch for the congrats Dogwood...feeling accomplished!
lol........lol