By Michael Lanza
In mid-afternoon, somewhere around hour 11 of our 27-mile dayhike across Wyoming’s Wind River Range, six of us departed from a nice break at Lonesome Lake and started across the spectacular Cirque of the Towers. A mind-boggling horseshoe of sheer-walled, granite peaks scratched at the clouds. Powerful gusts of wind knocked us around and drowned out our shouts to one another.
I got this photo of my friend, Todd Arndt, on the trail to Jackass Pass, with much of the skyline of the Cirque looming over his shoulder. Being there again brought back vivid memories of alpine rock climbs I’ve made of Pingora and Wolf’s Head in years past—and the memory of the first time I hiked over Jackass Pass from the other side and got my first look into the Cirque. Jaw dropping is overused hyperbole, but at that moment, I thought my teeth were going to fall out of my head.
A few summers ago, five of my craziest, ultra-hiking friends and I made a one-day, 27-mile crossing of the southern Winds, from the Bears Ears Trailhead in Dickinson Park on the east side to the Big Sandy Opening Trailhead on the west side. With a cumulative elevation gain of about 4,500 feet, our traverse had us above 11,000 feet for many hours, drinking up expansive vistas of soaring granite cliffs and peaks rising above 12,000 feet on the Continental Divide.
Click on the photo gallery below to scroll through these pictures, then see my full story about this big dayhike, “A Walk in the Winds: Hiking a One-Day, 27-Mile Traverse of Wyoming’s Wind River Range,” and all of my stories about the Wind River Range. If this brand of lunacy inspires you, check out a menu of all of my stories about ultra-hiking at The Big Outside.
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