Sublette County Highpoint Trip Report

Gannett Peak

Dates: July 5, 2005 (?)
Authors: Peter and Mary Green

We drove from Oregon to Wyoming in a day and half with the goal of climbing Gannett. We decided to go through the Wind River Indian Reservation and use the Ink Wells trailhead in order to reduce the hike to 28 miles round trip. Getting the necessary permits to cross the reservation was easier than we expected, taking only about fifteen minutes. The Whiskey Mountain store outside Dubois is where we got the permits at a cost of $25 per person for the day we hiked in and $20 per person for the day we were to hike out. The store closes at noon on Sunday and we barely made it in time.

We drove to Crowheart to meet Ramona O'Neil and her pickup. We got there two hours ahead of our scheduled time but she was happy to take us in early. The cost was steep: $200 per person. The road is rough and the drive is tiresome. We began our hike at about 4 pm on Sunday.

Hiking from the Ink Wells trailhead into the Dinwoody Creek basin is a lot of work. We crossed Scenic Pass (11,400 feet) and the altitude almost killed us. Our camp was set up in the trees on the far side of the pass. The second day, we hiked down to Dinwoody Creek and then up to where Gannett Creek comes in from the west. We found earlier descriptions of this portion of the trail to be confusing, so we'll try to be clear. While hiking up Dinwoody Creek, various streams enter from your right (west). The first stream that takes some thought is Klondike Creek. The trail for hikers is a bit upstream of the confluence with Dinwoody Creek and we had to remove our boots to cross. A while later the main trail crosses half of Dinwoody Creek at UTM zone 12 (613239 E, 4785901 N) and goes out onto a large flat island and follows it for maybe a quarter mile or more, then crosses again back to the west shore. It is possible to stay on the west shore and follow a hikers' trail without going onto the island.

Continuing on, at about UTM zone 12 (612468 E, 4784728 N), just below 10,000 feet elevation, a series of maybe six steams come in from the right (north). Several of these are forks of Gannett Creek. The thing to remember is that the main trail (for horses) just plows straight across these streams quite near Dinwoody Creek, while the crossings for hikers are all a short ways up the gentle western slope. You need to cross each of these in turn by keeping the hillside on your right and the main stem of Dinwoody Creek (not visible through the trees) on your left. Each crossing has a boot trail up to it, none of them require more than benign bushwhacking. After you have crossed the last one, head southeast until you hit the obvious trail that the horses take up to the high camp.

We camped right next to the main trail at 10,000 feet, too tired to carry our oversize packs to high camp. This made for an extra two hours (round trip) on summit day but saved a lot of backpacking pain and allowed for better sleep. I strongly recommend it. We were very lucky with mosquitoes on the way in, as we were in that magic window after the snow has left but before the mosquitoes have hatched. Two days later on the hike out we were fully assaulted by mosquitoes.

On summit day we set off at 3:20 am, hiking by headlamp up the trail. We reached the highest camps at 5 am. Climbing conditions could not have been better. We stayed on the true right side of the Dinwoody Glacier, crossed the non-existent bergschrund, climbed up the almost 50-degree slope and ditched some gear at the beginning of the summit ridge before 10 am. We got caught behind some friendly fellows at this point and decided to protect the exposed snow traverses with a few pickets. We summitted at 11:20 am. It was Mary's 48th state high point.

The descent involved a lot of glissading and a long nap.

We decided to stay an extra day in the Dinwoody Valley to soak in the beauty and then hiked out to meet our ride. We arrived an hour early but there she was, ready to take us out.