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Wind River - Island Lake - Titcomb Basin, WY
mini location map2021-09-01
49 by photographer avatarBiFrost
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Wind River - Island Lake - Titcomb Basin, WY 
Wind River - Island Lake - Titcomb Basin, WY
 
Backpack avatar Sep 01 2021
BiFrost
Backpack45.80 Miles 11,056 AEG
Backpack45.80 Miles5 Days         
11,056 ft AEG
 
1st trip
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Headed into the Wind River Range and Island Lake/Titcomb Basin area for 5 day backpack. Weather was a concern but we decided to hike in anyway. First night decided on a camp spot out on the Sacred Rim which we explored the day before on our day hike. Nice spot and the smoke that had been really thick was starting to clear. Thunderstorm rolled through in the evening but we were already setup so no big deal.

Day 2 the goal was to make Island Lake but the forecast was not favorable. Clear in the morning as we headed to Island Lake and as noon approached, we started to hear to some rumbling in the distance. Reaching Seneca Lake it was clear that it was going to hit the fan. Quickly decided to setup camp just in time for a wall of rain, hail, and wind to blast through. There were several waves of rain but fortunately it cleared enough around dinner time to eat and even have a fire. More rain overnight for several hours with lots of hail and what seemed like some close lighting, so we had a wet start in the morning.

Day 3 dried everything out and continued to Island Lake. Finally arrived just before noon with the weather improving as the day wore on. Found a good spot on the south side of the lake and setup. In the afternoon I was looking to explore Titcomb Basin and some waterfalls on the north side of Island Lake. Checked out the cool waterfalls and then continued to Titcomb Basin. There are series of lakes with two main Titcomb Basin lakes. Made it past the first one and start of the second one before turning around and heading back to camp. Talked to some forest rangers around the basin who were on patrol keeping an eye on the holiday backpackers.

Day 4 next morning with the rain clearing out it got very cold overnight. Based on all the frozen ice it must have been several degrees below freezing. That was the scene on the way to the goal for the day Fremont Peak. It’s the third highest in Wyoming after Gannett and Grand Teton. The most common route is pretty standard accessing from Indian Basin. I left the trail sooner than the recommended route preferring the cross country which was all above tree line. The initial goal was a saddle on the west ridge at about 12,200. There was a beat in route to the saddle and from there it’s just a steep route up the west face ramp. The ramp is rocky loose talus with some class 3 rock scrambling but nothing technical. Reaching the summit ridgeline just below summit a marmot was the welcoming committee and unphased by my presence. Then a short hike to the summit at 13,745. On the summit it’s difficult to describe the view on the other side which is the largest glacier I’ve ever seen. Great views of ice and rock for miles around to the east. I was there about 10 minutes before two guys from Denver showed up. We talked for awhile spending about 30 minutes on the summit before heading back down the same way we came up. Much quicker down reaching the saddle and then into Indian Basin to the trail.

Arriving back at camp we had previously agreed that while I was hiking the peak Scott would head to a camp closer to the trailhead. The destination was Sapphire Lake about 5 miles from Island Lake. So after the peak I packed everything up and headed to the other lake. A bit tired after the peak effort arrived at Sapphire Lake just before 6pm. Setup camp and had a pleasant evening for the last night.

Day 5 goal was just to hike out to the trailhead about 7 miles. Uneventful hike out but many people hiking into the Winds. I will say that Island Lake is extremely popular and can be tough to find camp spot especially on a holiday weekend. Being a spectacular location, I guess that’s the price we pay. Either way great trip despite some sketchy weather in the middle!
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