By: randosteve|Posted on: September 19, 2007|Posted in: Broken Link to Photo/Video, Gannett Peak, The Wind Rivers | 17 comments
 Morning Alpenglow on the peaks of Porcupine CreekAlpenglow lights up Squaretop Mountain
and the peaks of Porcupine Creek

The forecast for weather was up to 40% by the time we left Jackson at 4 am on Monday morning, some snow was also predicted. Not the best conditions for a speed attempt on Gannett Peak, but my stubbornness kept the trip on track and Julia and I were on the Highline Trail by 6:30 with just enough light to go without the headlamps.

Fall colors and mooseIt was a beautiful morning as the sun lit up the peaks on the other side of the canyon and the fall colors slowly came to life. It took us about 2.5 hours to cover the 12 miles to Three Forks Park, we saw a few moose (and not a single person) on the way. I was constantly looking over my shoulder to the west, expecting to see a blob of clouds approaching, but it was still bluebird when we proceed off-trail and forded the Green River. We took our first real break, ate some food, and soaked in the warm sun as it finally reached the floor of the steep canyon.

 Julia takes a break after crossing the Green River

The line up into Tourist Creek is not an easy one and it is protected by steep boulder fields on the right and thick trees on the left. We opted for the boulders, which ranged from the size of cars and buses where route finding was challenging, to baseballs and soccer balls that would move beneath our feet with nearly every step. Unlike the speed of the first half of the trip, it took us 2.5 hours to travel the 3 miles and 3000′ up to Lake 11,085. About halfway up was when I saw the first clouds appear in the sky and I knew the success of the trip was in jeopardy.

 Julia ascends out of Three Forks ParkJulia negotiates an easy section of boulders
with the Green River and Three Forks Park below

We were still about 4 or 5 miles from the summit of Gannett Peak and still needed to drop down 600′ before climbing another 3300′ to the nearly 14,000′ summit. Staying focused on the goal was challenging with the bad weather approaching, potentially making a descent back to the canyon bottom through the boulders extremely treacherous. The thought of continuing for another couple hours, before getting denied by wind, rain and snow, brought our confidence down and we decided continuing further wasn’t the best idea.

 Storm Clouds Move in on Gannett PeakDark clouds threaten a summit bid.
The Mammoth and Baby Glacier are visible in the distance.
The summit of Gannett pokes just above the skyline on the left.

My head hung low as we made our way back to the canyon floor. I though the boulder field was easier on the way down, Julia thought it was harder. We decided to muscle it back out to the car after a rest next to the river and it was about 4:30 when we started the hike/run out. Staying on pace, we made it out just after 7pm. I had some beers waiting in a cooler, but they weren’t as enjoyable without the summit of Gannett in the mix. I was bummed, and kinda mad at myself for not paying more attention to the weather, which I feel play such a huge part in executing fast and light trips like this.

Pretty good workout non-the-less, and a nice 30 mile day under the belt. I was still feeling pretty good when we got to the car, but after some dinner (and another beer) at ‘The Place’ in Cora, the drive through Hoback Canyon was a blur. I felt a little hazy and dehydrated yesterday. Round trip…door to door…18 hours.