Gals! (And guys, cuz I’m politically correct like that) We are headed back to Cloud Peak!
I never really did a real trip report last year when Anh and I attempted Cloud Peak. It seemed like there was way too many things that I wanted to share, and at that time, my site wasn’t as wildly popular as it is now so it just didn’t seem like something I wanted to spend hours on. (Your sarcasm detector should be going off.)
But, because I do have some new readers in the past year, let me take you through my Cloud Peak series of posts:
First, a little pre-trip planning and background information on the Cloud Peak Wilderness Area. You will notice, I mention bears. I hate bears, Brendan.
Next, I gave you a little rundown of our homemade, dehydrated backpacking food.
Then, we went on the trip. I didn’t write anything, but I gave you 200+ pictures of Cloud Peak.
Lastly, several months later, Anh made an outstanding video of our trip.
And now, here we are. Here is where I give our past and future itinerary.
To get to West Tensleep Trailhead, drive to the lovely town of Buffalo, WY. Stop in at one of the fine establishments on Main Street (not The Occidental), and ask for a local named James. Have a beer or two with him, but don’t get suckered into karaoke. Then, head west on 16. Once you come to a deer lodge, hang a right to go north on a barely graded dirt road (Deer Haven Lodge Rd./Bower Rd./10 Sleep Rd.) for about 20 min. to the trailhead. It’s impossible to miss. Once there, sign-in and be on your way. Make sure you keep your registration; we were actually checked by the friendly ranger last year.
Trust your map skills. We had planned on taking the green 2012 route last year because it does seem to be the obvious choice, both in elevation gain and directness. However, when we got to the point where the trails split apart, it actually looked easier to walk the edge. It provided some amazing photo opportunities, but easy and direct, it was not. The entire hike up to the summit is nothing but a glacial boulder field. There are no flat, smooth paths. You will literally be hopping from one boulder to the next for about 2 mi. On our way down, we took the green path, and said, “wow this would have been a lot easier; let’s take this up if we ever come back.”
Seek and Destroy Cloud Peak
Our last trip was meant to be a relaxing, week-long backpacking experience and both of our’s first peak. This trip, now that we know what to expect, is really about vengeance. You see, we fell 500 ft. short (in elevation) of the summit because Anh got altitude sickness. She’s out in WY summiting Gannett Peak right now so she’ll be acclimated this year (let’s hope I can hold up again). We plan to leave next Thursday night and be back in our own beds by Tuesday, including the 28’ish hours of driving.
We plan to get to West Tensleep Lake Trailhead early on Friday morning, and hike along the Misty Moon trail to Misty Moon Lake or further on the first day. On day 2 (Saturday), we’ll take a leisurely stroll up the mountain further up from last year’s basecamp to shorten up summit day by an hour or so. We’ll get up around 2 or 3 am on Sunday to try get to the summit by sunrise and back down by noon. We’ll probably even start heading back if we have any energy left. By Monday evening, one way or another, we should be at the trailhead. We’ll spend one more night in our tent, and head home to MN on Tuesday morning so I can be up and ready for work on Wednesday!
And there you have it. There will be substantially less pictures being taken this year. No fancy, homemade, dehydrated food. And hopefully my pack will be about 10 – 15lb. lighter. We are going to get some payback!
What say you? Have you ever done anything like this? If so, where?
Don’t Miss Your Chance
I was stuck in Corporate America for 9 years. I was miserable.
Then I took control.
You can too, and it starts right here.