I left work in the afternoon with a coworker and headed to the airport to pick up a few friends coming in from Ohio and Tennessee. The plan is to drive to Lander, Wyoming spend the night and then meet up with Mone near Crowheart the next morning. The next morning we paid the escort few and got our permits to cross the reservation to the Ink Wells trailhead. After a ride from hell and getting my kidneys crushed we said good-bye to Mone (sweet lady) and hit the trail. We were taking it easy, since the two that flew in were coming from almost sea level. We had a most pleasant 8-mile hike up 2400’ and down to Big Meadows area, which is where our first camp will be. After eating I went for a short run across the bridge and east on the Glacier trail to take in the surrounding area.
The stream was full of glacial tile and made it impossible to fish (don’t forget the Wyoming fishing license). The second day would a fairly easy day, only about five miles with a few thousand vertical. The only obstacles would be the four stream crossings, which aren’t that difficult. All four had some kind of logs dropped across. We set up camp just below High Tarns. Either you can climb through the boulder field with a 45lb pack or get up a little earlier on summit day and climb it with a much lighter pack. After a great nights sleep we choose for a 4:00 am rise. The boulder field wasn’t as much fun as I would have liked with the headlamp on (but thems the breaks). The major goal (other than the summit) is to get to the base of Gooseneck Pinnacle. We were able to find good routing and had no problems to the base of the 60-degree black ice. A small snow bridge, about ten feet wide, was present but dumped us onto this steep ice. We had ice screws but decided to (while belaying) chop footholds in the ice slope. After making our way across the ice without incident we were on rock. This rock is extremely steep and loose, but while watching out not to start any rock falls we had made it to the Gooseneck Pinnacle.
The Pinnacle would be an awesome rock climb, a long hike in for a rock climb though.
After eating and sucking down some GU it was off to nail the summit, from here it was a nice climb through the rocks until the finally push north to the summit. From here it turned to snow for the rest of trek to the summit. We started back down and met an older couple at the base of the 60-degree ice; they had no climbing gear and took our advice not to push for the summit. Not just because of the lack of gear but also because of the time.
We made our way back to base camp below High Tarns and had a well deserved dinner. The next day we made it past Big Meadows and up the switchbacks towards Scenic Pass.
The few lakes you pass are full of hungry trout; bring a pole if fishing is your forte. A storm was starting to brew and the decision to climb over Scenic pass and get within a few miles of the trailhead was a go. We stopped after making the pass and down about another mile. We were out of water so the water searching started. There are hundreds of range cattle so we had to pump from some very smelly water holes (glad for the PUR).
After dinner we continued to a point about a mile from the trailhead. The next morning we broke camp and finished the Trek. Met up with good old Mone for the kidney-busting ride out. It was off to Red Lodge, Montana to climb Granite the next day.