OverviewMount Warren is located in the northern Wind River Range of Wyoming. Wyoming's fourth highest peak is not nearly as famous as the three highest. Each summer, any of those three is climbed more than Warren has ever been climbed; it has seen only dozens of ascents. A true mountaineer's peak, it sits at the heads of the valleys of Dinwoody (Dinwoody Glacier), the trailless Bull Lake Creek North Fork (Helen Glacier) and Titcomb Basin. The Warren massif stretches from Bonney Pass to the base of the east face at Elsie Col and includes the sub-summits of Les Dames Anglaises, Doublet, and Dinwoody. The highpoint is the easternmost summit of the massif (which meets the Continental Divide at the Doublet pinnacles). Though the Wind River's two highest peaks have had standard routes evolve (the SW buttress on Fremont, the Gooseneck on Gannett) and the Grand Teton has two (Exum, Owen-Spalding), no standard route has evolved on Warren; routes have been used on all sides and features. Crevasse hazards on Dinwoody and Helen Glaciers are more prevalent around Warren than they are for the standard route on Gannett and bergschrunds on either side of the mountain pose an obstacle for all routes except the west ridge from Bonney Pass (II, 5.2). Though vagueness of route descriptions (somewhat a tradition) and location continue to make this high peak a reclusive testpiece, most routes go at class 4/easy 5-mixed and Grade II (unless basecamp is set higher, on a glacier). Like many of the highest peaks in the range, the top few hundred feet is a gentler, pre-erosional cap of looser material. The rest of the peak is gneiss and, most of the year, ice. The routes are somewhat loose by Wind River standards and climb best as mixed routes. 32 Wyoming 13ers can be seen from the summit on a clear day. (Adjacent photo of Sunbeam, Turret and Warren above lower Dinwoody Glacier; credit: rfbolton).
ApproachesSouthwestern Approach via Titcomb Basin and the trailhead at Elkhart Park. The paved Fremont Lake road goes east from the south edge of Pinedale heading 14 miles to a campground and parking lot. A combination of the Pole Creek , Seneca Lake, Indian Basin and Titcomb trails lead 18 miles to upper Titcomb Basin.
Northern Approach via the Glacier Trail and Dinwoody Valley from the Torrey Lakes trailhead. 4 miles east of Dubois, turn south from highway 26/287 and follow the recently improved dirt road (FS #411; passable in cars) eight miles past Trail Lake Ranch to its end. The Glacier Trail is then taken for approximately 23 miles to the Dinwoody moraine.
For most, either approach takes two days.
Regulations and SpecificsThe west side is managed by the Bridger Wilderness and National Forest. The east side is managed by the Fitzpatrick Wilderness of Shoshone National Forest. Wilderness regulations apply for camp locations, group size, campfire restrictions and ethics. There are no permit requirements in these two wildernesses. Grizzlies have re-migrated to this part of the range and there have been sitings on the eastern approaches. Take necessary precautions. Food caching on the eastern approach is prohibited. Minimum-impact camping and travel ethics are increasingly important at Double Lakes cirque, Seneca Lakes and in Titcomb Basin. Backpacking stoves are necessary and water filtration is suggested. A fee-based campground exists at the Elkhart Park trailhead. There is undeveloped camping at the Torrey (Trail Lake) trailhead.
Season & ConditionsSummer season in the Wind Rivers is generally July-September with snow lingering on the higher trails into July. A snow storm is traditional between the last week of August and the second week of September. This is normally followed by a dry period with crisp temperatures for 1-4 weeks. Crevasses are hidden in June and begin opening sometime in July. Because the Trail Lake/Torrey trailhead is below 8000' on the dry side of the range (the glaciers above absorb the majority of the storms), the trailhead can surprisingly be reached almost year round, the exception being during heavy spring storms. The downside for ski approaches is that several miles must often be hiked before snow is reached. The road to Elkhart Park (the only paved road in the range) is plowed to within 2.5 miles of its end in the winter - about 2 miles past the turnoff to White Pine. The approach is heavy with mosquitos June thru August. Water must be carried the first 10 miles of the Glacier Trail.
An area webcam depicts current conditions.
Guides & OutfittersWarren is guided by Exum and JHMG. It has also been climbed by participants in NOLS courses.
Outfitters on both the west and east side approaches can support trips into this area via packing or supply drops.
History & EtymologySerious attention and juxtapositional assessment was first given to the peak by Arthur Tate on his second reconaissance expedition to Gannett in 1920. He named it Mount Elsie (for Riverton resident Elsie Stahlnaker, his packer's wife) after reaching Elsie Col.
In 1924, famous Colorado Mountain Club members Albert Ellingwood and Carl Blaurock were the third attempt party and the first to reach the summit, renaming the peak "Mount Harding". (They reached Elsie Col belatedly at 3:20p but still summited - at 4:10p!).
As with the Southern Rockies peaks Evans and Elbert, in neighboring Colorado, the peak was eventually and officially renamed for an early governor. Francis E. Warren was the governor when Wyoming territory became a state.
In 1929, Robert Underhill, Henry Hall (fresh from the first ascent of Logan) and Kenneth Henderson traversed all of the summits (and preferring the name "Broad Peak be bestowed)". They named the pinnacles west of the summit Les Dames Anglaises after a group of similar looking gendarmes they had encountered on the Peuterey Ridge of Mont Blanc. Doublet was the name they gave to the twin-pinnacled western summit at the divide junction. In 1930, Henderson simply called the peak "Peak 2".
The pinnacle labeled "Dinwoody Peak" on the current USGS topo (it's actually one of the western pinnacles of the massif) is the easiest of the massif highpoints to reach and was first gained in 1922 by a recon party that had been unsuccessful in attaining Warren from the east in previous days (they made it no further than this point). It's a scramble from Bonney Pass and was named after Dinwoody Pass. Climbers now continue to the true summit via a short rappel. Because there is an "official" Dinwoody Peak further down the Dinwoody valley, and because Dinwoody Pass has been offically renamed Bonney Pass, this summit of the Warren massif is now called Bonney Point by many climbers. "Dinwoody" itself is a corruption derived from 'Lt. William Dinwiddie'; a cavalryman and explorer who was stationed at nearby Fort Washakie in the 19th century and was fond of fishing the Dinwoody Lakes in the foothills below.
Bonney Pass is named for Wyoming mountaineer, guidebook author, historian and AAC vice president Orrin Bonney who pioneered its usefulness as an approach to Gannett and neighboring peaks from Titcomb Basin in the 1930s. Though still mislabeled as Dinwoody Pass on some later maps, the name changes for the features to "Bonney" became official in 1991.
Because the lowest notch between Warren and The Sphinx is west of Bonney Pass, the massif shoulder can also be said to include the sub-summit of Miriam Point (a walkup of a couple hundred feet next to the pass) and Bob's Towers (all of which are technical). Robert Underhill traversed all the summits from Elsie Col to Skyline Col, naming Miriam after his wife. Bob's Towers, the westernmost of these summits carries his name.
Titcomb is named after local brothers and route pioneers Charles and Harold Titcomb who, in 1901, were only the third party to see Wyoming's popular, hidden valley of thirteeners.
Sources/BibliographyTuriano, Thomas (2003). Select Peaks; Indomitus Books, Jackson, WY.
Bonney, O.H. (1977). Guide to the Wyoming Mountains, 3rd Ed.; Swallow Press. Chicago,IL.
Euser, Barbara (1984). A Climbers Climber: On the Trail with Carl Blaurock; Cordillera Press.
Henderson, Kenneth. American Alpine Journal. 1930.