Thursday, August 1
We were on the trail a bit after 9 — not bad by camp standards, but about three hours later than John had said they had start this climb last year. (I had talked with Donald earlier that morning to ensure that we'd have dinner waiting for use should we be back late.) We came upon a couple work crews on the way out to White Rock. Mid-way along the lake, one crew was busy in the dust (no rain since the gully-washer Saturday eve had caused the campfire to be canceled) building a rock wall to restore a slumped section of trail. A second crew was replacing the bridge over Clear Creek. On fellow wearing waders was standing in the creek, drilling holes all the way through the three, flat-topped, 8" diameter logs.
Once on the other side, the search began. Pat had said that he had seen a faint trail heading up the hill. We soon found something which fit that description — up we went! The trail didn't last very long, but a little searching revealed another. We rested for a while in a steep, rocky meadow, far above the valley, but still not up to the ridge. Some wanted to follow the compass straight to the top; others thought going up the fall-line would be better — need to make the ridge to avoid being on the wrong side of the cliff!
The trail found again, we were soon above the trees. Below us, the slate-green of the upper lake; to the north, the darker green of the lower lake; and around us, the peaks of the upper end of the Wind River Range. Eyes turned downward when A small, white boulder was found — look for fossils!
Now the way was clear — on our left, a gently rolling (but steep) plain; on our right, the cliff. Only one small tongue of forest across our path above. And one false summit after another. “Oh no! I thought THIS was the top!” No more route-finding, just hard work in the thin, clear Wyoming air.
We stopped for a first lunch at about 10000' elev., then, finally, for a second lunch at the base of the summit pinnacle, just before 1:30, at about 11200'. We then explored the pinnacle, climbing to different levels dependent on our various levels of comfort. (It looks like an easy to climb rock - just a bit risky without any protection.) From the south side, the continental divide was easily seen.
The descent was comparatively easy, though slowed somewhat by the continuing search for fossils. Once back off the ridge and into the forest, route-finding again became a bit of a problem. In one place we had to skirt up around the top of a small gully. But before long we were back down to the Highline Trail.
Back at Clear Creek, the bridge was nearing completion. The three logs had been sistered together with bolts, and a single railing attached. Further down the trail, the wall-building crew had finished their job and packed out. And we got back to camp before 6; we could have our dinner at the usual time after all!
White Rockers were Cecile Blumm, Chris Minarich, Bob Huntley, Bob Burnett, Wayne Deeter, Keith Newsom, and Buzz Blumm (leader).
— Wayne Deeter
— photos by Wayne Deeter