Gannet Peak WY
August 24-29, 2008
I picked up Justin Johnson in Renton WA early Sunday morning and headed eastbound on I 90. 18 hours later we met Steve Johnson (Justin’s father) at the Elkhart Park trail head near Pinedale WY. We could see the glow of a nearby forest fire. We set up our tents and camped at the campground/trailhead for some needed rest.
We started hiking early Monday morning. We ate our first lunch near Picture Point (a summer camp destination) and made Seneca Lake by evening. The second day we hiked to Titcomb Lake Basin and camped at one of climbers campsites at the upper end of the basin and the base of Bonney Pass. There are several tent sites in the area where the campers have built rock walls for protection from the winds. The scenery was spectacular. We were surrounded by granite towers and water was flowing everywhere.
On the third day we woke up early to start our climb. We crossed Bonney Pass (12,600') to get our first look at Gannett Peak. Crossing Bonney Pass was labor intensive. No easy scrambling anywhere, we had to pick our way through unstable boulders the whole way. From Bonney Pass we dropped down about a 1000' onto Dinwooty glacier and Gannett Peak. The winds were fairly intense, I was blown down a couple of times and struggled a bit. We found shelter from the winds between two large rocks, ate lunch and easily decided to call it a day. We turned around and headed back up Bonney Pass and back to our camp site. We had some day light so we packed up and hiked to Island Lake and spent the night. The winds which scared us off the mountain also whipped up the forest fire we had seen the evening we arrived. We were initially worried but it turned out to be a non issue. On the fourth day we hiked out.
Even without the winds, we underestimated the difficulty and the length of the climb day. A lot of climbers use pack animal assist to make the 20+ mile hike in less stressful and they bivouac on Bonney Pass to gain a half day advantage. I’d estimate that climbing from Titcomb Lake Basin is a 20 hour day for a strong climber.
All in all it was a nice 45 mile hike with a summit attempt thrown in.
Hikers/climbers were Justin Johnson, Steve Johnson, and Steve McManigal.
— photos by Steven McManigal