Gannett Peak Expedition

Location Wind River Range

Season Summer

Difficulty Moderate - Hard

Duration 5 - 6 Days

Overview

The Wind River Mountains, located in western Wyoming, are a great climbing and mountaineering destination. The massive range spans 100 miles and it’s crest forms the Continental Divide. The northern Winds are renowned for their 13,000’ glaciated peaks and remote alpine areas, including Gannett Peak, at 13,804’ the highest summit in the state. Jackson Hole Mountain Guides have been climbing in the Winds for decades, and have racked up an impressive list of ascents of many of their finest routes. Some of the best alpine rock and ice climbing in the United States is found in the Wind River Mountains. Backpacking, day hiking, and fishing are also pursuits to be enjoyed here.

Our 5 – 6 day Gannett Peak adventures approach from both Elkhart Park on the west side of the range and Cold Springs on the east sides of the range.  Whichever approach you decide to do, one thing is guaranteed.  The majestic views of the Wind Rivers will take your breath away.

 

Season Summer

Miles 44

Elevation 13,804'

Elevation Gain 4500'

Minimum Age 15 (with a parent or guardian)

Trip Planner

Itinerary

This Gannett Peak trip utilizes our traditional approach from the west side of the Wind River Mountains, and has a six day schedule. The trip starts with a two-hour organization session at our Jackson office the day before your trip. Paperwork is completed, gear is reviewed, packs are filled, and final details are made to carpool or meet at the Elkhart Park Trailhead, near Pinedale. Some people may drive down to Pinedale and meet the team at Bald Mountain Outfitters at 7am the first day of the trip.

Day One – (Approach to Island Lake, 13 mi)

5:00 am We depart the Jackson Hole Mountain Guides office and drive to the Elkhart Park Trailhead. If other team members have elected to stay in Pinedale, we meet them at Bald Mountain Outfitters.

7:00 am Rendezvous at Bald Mountain Outfitters. Two mules will carry in up to 300 pounds of gear for our team. Your gear should be packed in a separate duffel bag for the mules.

8:00 am Depart Elkhart Park Trailhead on the Pole Creek Trail. The 10 miles past Photographer’s Point and Seneca Lake is a beautiful and relatively flat hike. Camp will be established very near to the equipment drop just past Island Lake.

Day Two – (Approach to the head of Upper Titcomb Basin, 4 mi)

Today we load up our packs and hike 4.5 miles and several hours to the head of Titcomb Basin. As we travel up this glacially carved valley, we walk alongside two mile-long green-blue lakes. Jagged peaks (Fremont, Sacagawea, and Mt. Helen) rise abruptly into the sky. Camp is made above the upper lake and below Mt. Helen. In the afternoon, snow climbing and self-arrest techniques are reviewed and practiced on nearby snowfields.

Days Three and Four – (potential summit days)

An alpine start allows us to reach the summit of Gannett before noon and return to camp before dark. Be prepared for a 14-hour day! This long climb requires excellent fitness-please be prepared. There are a number of route choices, the most popular one being the Gooseneck Route. All routes are technical and entail crossing glaciers, snow climbing, and rock scrambling over exposed terrain. Our guides employ ropes, pickets, and belays whenever necessary.

We can alternatively have a partial rest/training day on Day Three, and possibly move camp up to the top of Bonney Pass in good weather. Day Four would then be summit day.

Day Five – (Hike part-way out, 6 to 9 mi)

The last two days of the trip are great for enjoying the Wind River Mountains. There is excellent fishing (permit required) in nearby lakes and the views remai stunning. We cover between 6 and 9 miles this day.

Day Six – (Return to trailhead, 8 to 11 mi)

The final hiking day takes us past Seneca, Hobbs, and Eklund Lakes. A final break at Photographer’s Point allows one last view of Titcomb Basin and Gannett Peak.

JHMG can also arrange for Gannett trips starting at Cold Springs roadhead on the Wind River Indian Reservation. This trip utilizes the shortest approach to the peak with a five day schedule; hiring a Tribal Outfitter and purchasing a fishing permit are required for use of this roadhead and the tribal lands.

The Gannett Peak trip starts with a two-hour organization session at our Jackson office the day before your trip. Paperwork is completed, gear is reviewed, packs are filled, and final details are made to carpool or meet in Crowheart, near Dubois.

Day One – (Approach to Echo Lake)

7AM The party will meet the tribal outfitter in Crowheart, where we’ll park our cars and then get driven to the roadhead. Please have packs already packed up. The Cold Springs roadhead is at ~9500’, and we hike for about 6 miles, up and over the 11,400’, aptly named Scenic Pass, where Gannett Peak and the entire northern Wind River Range can be viewed. The first camp is at Echo Lake, by the Ink Wells trail.

Day Two – (Hike to Dinwoody Glacier)

From Echo Lake, we hike southwest and join the Dinwoody Trail. Following Dinwoody Creek upstream, we have several river crossings along the ~8 mile hike. Camp will be established at the terminal moraine of the Dinwoody Glacier.

Day Three – (Summit Day)

An alpine start allows us to reach the summit of Gannett before noon and return to camp in the afternoon. Be prepared for a full day! There are a number of route choices, including the Gooseneck Route and the South Couloir. All routes are technical and entail crossing glaciers, snow climbing, and rock scrambling over exposed terrain. Our guides employ ropes, pickets, and belays whenever necessary.

Days Four and Five – (Return to Echo Lake and the roadhead)

The last two days are great for enjoying the Wind River Mountains. We trace our steps back the way we came, with a final grunt up and over Scenic Pass. We’ll rendezvous with the Indian Guide at Cold Springs at noon on the fifth day.

 

Six-day Gannett Peak Climb Price: $3000 private; $2040 pp/group.

Five-day Gannett Peak Climb Price: $2750 private; $1875pp/group. (Be aware that an additional $330 is paid to the to the Wind River reservation for transportation and fishing licenses. This is paid directly by the client to the reservation)

Price includes breakfasts and dinners (i.e., evening meal) while in the backcountry, technical climbing gear, tent and group cooking gear. ***HORSE SUPPORT OR PORTERS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Price does not include equipment drop/portage and shuttle fees.

Group pricing is for 2 – 3 people on a trip. We will match you with other interested participants on “group” trips. Please note that trips must reach minimum # of people.

Private trips cannot be booked directly online based on scheduling, please click here to inquire about specific dates for a private trip.

Please read through our policies by visiting this page.

Trips run from late June through mid-September.

Directions to Trailheads

Both Pinedale and Crowheart/Dubois are about 1.5-2 hours from Jackson.

Elkhart Park Trailhead is 14 miles east of Pinedale, and has a paved road the entire way to the 9380’ elevation parking lot. Near the east side of Pinedale, where the highway curves south and Faler’s General Store is located, turn east on Skyline Drive; there are signs for Fremont Lake. After three miles, bear right and subsequently pass roads on the right to Half Moon Lake and White Pine Ski Area. Pass a Forest Service A-frame house and the parking area is on the right. To rendezvous at the horsepacker’s, take a right on a small two track, FS Road 740B about a third of a mile before (not just before) the A-frame. Please contact our office regarding east side Wind River departures and shuttles.

Wind River Range trips and classes operate out of our Jackson headquarters, which is located in the south part of Jackson at 1325 S. Highway 89, Suite 104 and shares a parking area with Smith’s. Our phone number is (800) 239-7642 or (307) 733-4979. Most trips and classes will meet at this office for gear checks, preparation, and classes. The Jackson Hole airport is the closest, but Idaho Falls (a 2 – 2.5 hour drive) is a cheaper option and Salt Lake City (4 – 5 hour drive) are also air travel options. It is helpful to arrive a couple of days prior to your trip/class in order to acclimatize. Otherwise, you should arrive the day before and stop by our office for an equipment check. Do not plan on traveling the day after a significant climb – you will be tired and there are no guaranteed times when we will return to the trailhead. Plan on having accommodations for the night prior to and the night you return from a significant climb. There are a plethora of hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts in Jackson and the surrounding area. Accommodations near our office make your transitions convenient. It is highly advisable to make reservations as early as possible.

VIEW PDF

The Gannett Peak climb from Elkhart Park involves 44 miles roundtrip, two crossings of Bonney Pass (12,800 feet), extensive snow climbing and rock scrambling (3rd or 4th class) on the summit ridge. Even with horse support, this is a significant mountaineering challenge. While the east side approach from Cold Springs is shorter, the expedition is still quite rigorous with five days straight of tough physical activity.

Prerequisites

Climbers must be fit and be able to effectively use an ice axe for self-arrest. A one-day snow climbing course or equivalent experience is required. This course can be completed in Jackson Hole prior to the trip or in another guiding venue.

Climbing Gannett Peak requires prior climbing experience. Before attempting the a significant hike, most clients will be required to enroll in two climbing classes with Jackson Hole Mountain Guides. Our classes are designed to give you the skills you need for a successful experience on the mountain. Climbers who have previous climbing experience may only need to refresh their multi-pitch skills for a day at our local crag.

Some people feel more confident by first practicing their new found climbing skills on a smaller peak or multi-pitch climb before attempting Gannett Peak. We’re happy to accommodate anyone’s pace and offer suggestions for next steps.

We strongly encourage our clients to come with some experience hiking on rugged trails, particularly on steep up and down hills, and uneven, and rocky terrain, since this is 75% of any Teton ascent.

Training

It is an undeniable fact that those who are in good shape are more likely to enjoy the view from the summit! Those who engage in regular exercise before coming to climb Gannett Peak (or any of the other climbs we offer) typically do fine on the ascent. Give yourself adequate time—at least a couple of months–to prepare, particularly if this form and intensity of exercise is new.

Training for a Teton climb needs to be specific, and should include cardiovascular activities and weight training. For three days a week, focus on an hour or more of aerobic exercise such as running, cycling, swimming, etc. Gym equipment such as stairmasters, rowing machines, etc. can supplement cardiovascular training. On weekends a full day hike or other longer endeavor will help prepare you for the endurance required in the Tetons. Carrying a 20-30 pound pack uphill on trails or stadium steps will simulate the real climb better than anything. Lifting moderate weights to increase core body, leg, and arm strength is also a good idea. Focus on quads and hamstrings—legs need strength and endurance. Being generally fit and having some solid stamina for long days is the overall goal. Be in the best shape of your life!

*If you are not already in decent shape, or are not as young as you used to be(!), it would be prudent to consult with a doctor or certified physical trainer before undertaking a physical fitness training program.


Altitude

The high elevations in the Tetons have stopped otherwise fit people who didn’t take the time to acclimate. We strongly encourage our participants, especially those coming from sea level, to arrive a few days early in Jackson. Jackson is at 6200 feet, while our Corbet High Camp is near 11,000 feet.

To help your body adjust to the thinner and drier air, first of all HYDRATE. Exertion at altitude demands hydration. Drinking enough water markedly improves athletic performance and helps to prevent altitude mountain sickness. Before and during your climb, aim for 4-5 quarts of fluid a day. Make sure your water is readily accessible. During the ascent, hydration systems like Camelbacks, or a water bottle on your hip will provide easy access to your water. Sport drink mixes like Gatorade are highly recommended; they promote drinking and help replenish electrolytes. Avoid too much alcohol and caffeine, as these have the effect of dehydrating your body.

In the days before your Gannett ascent, assist the acclimation process by going to some higher elevations, above 9000 feet, and get some moderate exercise. Hiking from Teton Pass up Mt. Glory, or up to Surprise Lake in the Park allow one to get to 9,000-10,000’ elevations fairly quickly.

If you have never been to high altitude before, don’t worry—everyone has a first time; keep your guide posted of any physical symptoms you may be experiencing. If you have had trouble with altitude in the past, please let us know ahead of time and consult with your physician before you come. Some people simply acclimatize more slowly; they often find that allotting a few extra days to acclimate is helpful for performance.

FOOD INFORMATION

Jackson Hole Mountain Guides supplies all breakfasts and dinners. You need provide your own lunches, trail food, and energy drinks. Our office will send you more information regarding food selection.

view pdf

 

This area has elevations from 9000-13,804’, and these high mountain areas have extremely variable weather. Often the nights are cool or below freezing while the days can range from 40-75 degrees F. Wind, rain, hail, even summer snow showers may be encountered, and expect early morning starts to avoid those afternoon thundershowers.

The weather is variable; often the nights are cool while the days can warm up substantially even in the alpine environment. Wind, rain, hail, even summer snow showers may be encountered, and expect early morning starts to avoid those afternoon thundershowers.

The drinking water needs to be treated, either with iodine pills or filters. We practice Leave No Trace camping, hiking, and climbing techniques to leave the wilderness areas as pristine as we found them. We follow safe bear camping practices in order to avoid any potential conflict.

Footwear

Lightweight Mountaineering Boot – Trips before mid-July and those including  extensive snow climbing (e.g. Gannett, Granite, Multi-day objectives, NOT GRAND TETON)   require a lightweight mountaineering boot  NOT a plastic boot.

  • Guide Pick: Salewa Repace GTX or Mountain Trainer
  • 4 pair of wool socks and blister prevention
Upper Layers
  • Synthetic/Wool Long Underwear Top
  • Synthetic T-shirt – Guide Pick: Mountain Hardwear Wicked Light T
  • Insulating Jacket: lightweight down or synthetic – Guide Pick: Mountain Hardwear Thermostatic Jacket
  • Soft Shell: fleece or pile
  • Rain Jacket: waterproof/breathable with hood. Guide Pick: Mountain Hardwear- Plasmic Jacket
Bottom Layers
  • Synthetic/Wool Long Underwear Bottom
  • Hiking Short or Pant for approach – Guide Pick: Mountain Hardwear – Men’s Mesa –Women’s Corsica convertible pants
  • Synthetic Climbing Pant – Guide Pick: Mountain Hardwear- Chockstone Pant
  • Rain Pant – Guide Pick: Mountain Hardwear Plasmic Pant
Accessories
  • Hat: lightweight to medium weight warm hat – sleek enough to be worn under a helmet
  • Gloves: one lightweight to medium weight pair – synthetic or fleece material. If snow route, shell also recommended.
  • Gaiters: only until mid-July
On the trail
  • Large Pack – Guide Pick: Mountain Hardwear- South Col 70 Outdry . Internal frame only.  70+ Liter  for 4 day trip. Large enough to fit all your personal gear plus ten pounds of food and water. Some trips will require an additional small summit pack for Technical Rock Climbs or summit days – Guide pick: Mountain Harwear – Scrambler 30
  • Water Bottles (2-3 L/Qt.) or H2O hydration system
  • Water Treatment tablets
  • Lightweight Bowl
  • Insulated Mug
  • Spoon and Fork
  • Stuff Sacks: zip lock bags
  • Dark Sunglasses
  • Extra Contact Lenses
  • Sun Hat or Visor
  • Sunscreen (35+SPF)
  • Lip Balm
  • Insect Repellent
  • Headnet
  • Headlamp and Fresh Batteries
  • First Aid – minimal: blister care, analgesic, etc.
  • Lunch, snacks & drink mix
  • Misc Items: minimal: light knife, camera,
    bandana, camp suds, wash cloth, etc.
Some trips require (please inquire with JHMG):
  • Sleeping Bag: 15 degree – Guide Pick: Mountain Hardwear ExtraLamina +20 Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping Pad: Closed-cell foam or Thermarest
Recommended & Optional Items
  • Trekking Poles
  • Camera and batteries, spare memory card
  • Insoles: custom or after market
  • Bear Spray
  • Insect Repellant
  • Camp Shoe – lightweight
Cold Weather Considerations:

Early and late season temperatures require warmer clothing. You may consider additional clothing if you get cold easily or if it is unusually cold or windy.

  • Balaclava or neck gaiter
  • Extra down vest or jacket
  • Expedition weight long underwear
  • Extra gloves

**Jackson Hole Mountain Guides supplies all the rock climbing gear, harnesses, helmets, locking carabiners & belay/rappel devices, crampons, and ice axes. However, you are welcome to bring your own equipment. Please coordinate with our office for gear checks. Backpacks, rock shoes, and boots can all be rented & purchased in our Jackson office.

For your safety and comfort, bring synthetic and or natural fiber clothing for insulation. Cotton
is NOT recommended and down must be kept dry. Clothing should be able to layer without
encumbering movement.

For a printable version of this list, please click below:

VIEW PDF

Testimonials

  • Thank you for taking us on the climb. It was such a blast! Being on the Grand was really neat and I hope to do more climbs like it. Thanks for teaching me many things!

    — Heather Berch, age 15 (recipient of Jim Ratz Memorial Scholarship)
  • If you want to climb safely with confidence and learn about WHAT you are actually doing and climbing…Pick JHMG.  Hands down the best guys for the job!  YEARS of experience and professionalism are very obvious from the moment you step inside the shop.  Nice guys, well trained and fun to climb with!

    — Darren Davis

Talk To Us

Here you’ll find online tools and information about joining us for a trip of a lifetime! To sign up for a trip, or if you have any questions, please call us. Listed on the left side of these pages are links that you may find useful, including printable forms and policies concerning a trip with JHMG. We encourage ALL prospective climbers to read our Preparation advice. Our office can help place you with others who are looking to climb.

By Phone 800.239.7642

By Email info@jhmg.com

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