WY – Hailey Pass / Baptiste Lake, Southern Wind River Mountains, Bridger and Popo Agie Wildernesses

My next destination was Pyramid Lake. It was a cross country trek from East Fork Lakes (see previous post for details on the hike to the lakes). With Pyramid Peak flagging the way, it’s pretty hard to get lost. 

These cute little trees made me giggle. I think Dr. Seuss has been visiting again. 

Looking back at the East Fork range and the pass to Pyramid Lake

Looking south from Pyramid Lake. As per usual, it was thunderstorm time. 

Those dark clouds surrounding Pyramid Lake sure add to the ominous feeling. 

After waiting out yet another hail storm, followed by cold rain, I elected to take anti-hypothermia measures by setting up camp at Mae Lake. The next day I’d tackle Hailey Pass which is tucked in that ridge behind Pyramid Peak

The next morning it was go time. 

Nancy Pallister’s book, “Beyond Trails in the Wind River Mountains,”  showed an off-trail short-cut saving about a mile. With everything being wet, I decided to play it safe and take the trail. I was in no mood for slip sliding slogging.  

Looking back at Mae Lake and Mount Gelkie (I believe). 

Find the cairns and do a little boulder scrambling. 

Almost there. 

First though, time to plow through a little snow. 

Darn false summits. First I must pass by partially frozen Twin Lakes

What? another false summit. 

Second Twin Lake.

Now I’m almost to the top of the Hailey Pass

Looking back at Upper Twin Lake

YIPPEE!!! It took me about 2.5 hours to cover the 1.8 miles; however, I stopped at one of the Twin Lakes to dry my gear and eat a snack. 

I absolutely loved the views from the pass vantage point. 

In the Winds, you soon learn what goes up must go down . . .in this case all the way to the bottom, which happens to be the drainage basin from Graves Lake

The descent begins with a snowfield, not my favorite. If you look closely in the middle, you’ll see a couple who’ve made it through the steep and are now on the flatter snowfield. It gives an idea of proportions. 

I had a terrifying descent at Mount Whitney last year and was not looking forward to a repeat. I did not have microspikes with me, and was not prepared for glissading as (1) I was wearing a skirt and did not have rain pants; (2) it was hailing and raining so I did not want to expedite hypothermia; and (3) I’m not comfortable with out of control speed. 

Looking back up at that snowfield. 

My direction of travel. 

Looking back at Hailey Pass

Time to head east on Bears Ears Trail #716.

Baptiste Lake. According to Nancy Pallister’s book, “only the south tip is on public land, the remaining is on the Wind River Indian Reservation, only accessed if you have a permit for the day.” I heard it’s a $10,000 fine for being caught without a permit. As of this writing, permits are $80 per person per week, available also in other increments.

See my tent snug as a bug? 

Morning light on Mount HookerNotice the waterfall? This was the first of three I slept near. 

To be continued . . .

Hike Details:

  • Date(s) Hiked: 8/8-9/17
  • Mileage: Approximately 12-13 (conserving battery so didn’t track)
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: Unknown, constant up and down (conserving battery so didn’t track)
  • Trail Conditions:
    • Tree obstacles: minimal
    • Overgrowth: minimal
    • Signage: moderate on main trails
    • Terrain: very good, a few spots of muck
  • Water: plentiful
  • Camping: excellent
  • Solitude: High! Saw a handful of people near Pyramid Lake, didn’t see anyone at Mae Lake until I was leaving in the morning and they were several tents at the opposite end. Met a couple who were also ascending Hailey Pass. I had Baptiste Lake to myself until around 8pm and then one hiker arrived and set up tent on south side of lake whereas I was on west side.
  • Bugs: plentiful but I didn’t need deet
  • Wildlife Sightings: none beyond birds, squirrels, chipmunks, pika, and marmuts
  • Precip: expect thunderstorms in July/August; I’ve been wet and dumped on with hail and rain nearly daily
  • Temp: Overnight varied and seemed to fluctuate a lot in the 30’s and 40’s, highs were probably in 60’s-70’s.
  • Jan’s Cherry Picker Delight Scale: 5 cherries (out of 5). This was a high WOW day!

Tips:

  • Be prepared for altitude, elevation changes, weather changes, bugs and navigation. Also review current food protection requirements/guidelines (I used an Ursack with an Opsack liner). 

Links:

Resources:

4 thoughts on “WY – Hailey Pass / Baptiste Lake, Southern Wind River Mountains, Bridger and Popo Agie Wildernesses

  1. Pingback: WY – South Fork Lakes, Southern Wind River Mountains, Popo Agie Wilderness – Jan's Jaunts and Jabberings

  2. Pingback: WY – Lizard Head / Bear Lakes, Southern Wind River Mountains, Popo Agie Wilderness – Jan's Jaunts and Jabberings

  3. Pingback: WY – Cirque of the Towers, Southern Wind River Mountains, Bridger and Popo Agie Wildernesses – Jan's Jaunts and Jabberings

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