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Extended Off Trail Trip in Teton Wilderness Area

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Extended Off Trail Trip in Teton Wilderness Area

Postby lrschmidt » Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:51 am

Howdy ya'll. First post here, I've used SP for years and finally signed up.

I'm thinking about a big off trail trip in the Teton/Washakie Wilderness complex and was interested in your opinions. It would be a backpacking trip with an emphasis on non technical routes above treeline.

I'm looking for a 10-12 day trip of about 150 miles with no resupplies, I want to avoid heavily used areas and go off trail whenever it makes sense (i.e. open areas not pointless bushwacks). Just so you know I 'm not crazy, I've done lots of backpacking trips and I'm comfortable with a map and compass.

Here are the ideas I'm considering

1. Follow the Absaroka Divide above treeline from Hwy 20/14 in Yellowstone down to Brooks Lake. I've seen pictures and trip reports of the divide between Bonneville Pass and Younts Peak. That is definitely doable but I'm not as sure about the area to the north. It looks more rugged and a lot steeper. This would be sort of like an Absaroka version of the Sierra High Route.

2. Big Loop through Yellowstone and Teton/Washakie Wilderness Areas - The idea here is to link as many scenic and trailess sections together as possible. I'll stay above treeline as much as possible to minimize bushwacking. There are multiple options but I'm looking at something like this

-Hike down the Thorofare Trail from Yellowstone Lake, pass Hawks Rest and continue up the Yellowstone River.
-Go cross country from Yellowstone River south of Hawks Rest to the Younts Peak area (mostly above treeline rather then in the valley). This might be the crux of the route. Google Earth and topo maps show lots of cliffs and what looks like a burned forest.
-From Younts Peak area follow the continental divide down to Shoshone Pass. This is off trail but easier terrain and people have done it.
-Go east from Shoshone Pass and follow the divide to the Shoshone Plateau stay above treeline as long as possible before dropping down to the Shoshone River. If I can't do it off trail I'll take the trail along the Shoshone River.
-From the Shoshone River head back west either on or off trail and cross back to the headwaters of the Thorofare River. If I can I want to check out an unnamed lake in this area (more off trail).
-From the Thorofare area follow the Trident Plateau (more off trail) to the Glacier Basin area and head out along Fishhook Creek to complete the trip.

I'd be interested in which option would be better and any info on the cross country portions would be appreciated. The areas that I know least about are the following
1. The Absaroka divide between Hwy 20 and Younts Peak.
2. The divide between the headwaters of the Yellowstone and the Thorofare River.
3. The divide leading from Shoshone Pass to the Shoshone Plateau.
4. The divide between the Trident Plateau and Glacier Basin
Any info on these places would be appreciated.
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Re: Extended Off Trail Trip in Teton Wilderness Area

Postby Doublecabin » Mon Apr 22, 2013 5:13 pm

When I considered a similar trip years ago an experienced, reputable outfitter I fully trust suggested going up Thorofare Creek would be better than the head of the Yellowstone. I'd skip the Shoshone Plateau and from Shoshone Pass go down the East Fork of the Dunoir just a bit to where you can pick up a route up onto the Ramshorn Plateau and Five Pockets.

I don't know about North on the Divide from much past Marston Pass. I am quite envious of you. If I could possibly help you with a shuttle or something let me know and we'll look at the schedule.

bettsj16@aol.com
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Re: Extended Off Trail Trip in Teton Wilderness Area

Postby lrschmidt » Tue Apr 23, 2013 4:49 pm

Thanks a lot for the help. Ramshorn Plateau looks cool and I've heard about Five Pockets. I was kind of afraid they'd be overrun with people since they are closer to a trailhead. Is that not a problem or is the scenery worth it? I'm curious why your friend recommended the upper Thorofare over the Yellowstone was he saying it would be more scenic or easier to hike up? I looked at maps and Google earth and it does look more open along the Thorofare, the upper Yellowstone appears to have a dense forest until you get up to treeline.

I appreciate the shuttle offer, I'll send you a note once things get closer and I know exact dates. Want to come along? It would probably be last part of July and first week of August.
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Re: Extended Off Trail Trip in Teton Wilderness Area

Postby Doublecabin » Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:52 am

I am to fat and old to keep up with you, but perhaps you'll need a warmup day hike or something. This first one is my favorite dayhike I've guided for years. Younts on the left, Thorofare on the left:

Image
screengrab

This is from just below point 11,894', the highpoint of the Ramshorn Plateau:

Image
taking a screen shot
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Re: Extended Off Trail Trip in Teton Wilderness Area

Postby lrschmidt » Fri May 03, 2013 7:39 pm

First sorry I didn't respond for so long. I saw your post but had problems logging on.

Thanks for the pictures, yeah I might do a warm up so I'll let you know if I'm in your neighborhood. Maybe I'll see you on the trail. I've revised my plans slightly and I plan on doing the Five Pockets as you recommended. I was thinking after Five Pockets I'd hike up to Green Lake but the trail ends there. I've heard there is an old trail/route from Green Lake across to Emerold Lake. Do you know anything about that? Looks tough on Google Earth but a detailed topo map and guide say otherwise (I wonder if the Google Earth pictures get a bit distorted).
Also once I get to those lakes is there a way to keep going north or west? Or do I just backtrack to Hidden Basin?
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Re: Extended Off Trail Trip in Teton Wilderness Area

Postby Doublecabin » Sat May 18, 2013 5:50 pm

Sorry,

Forgot about this.

I do not know about going between the Lakes.

The Absaroka can be incredibly benign with flowered/grassed plateaus or conglomerate deadly hells. The other issue is that deadfall is a serious problem in this country. Factor in some, perhaps all too many gymnastic delays. Trail clearing isn't a sure thing either to say the least.

Raining pretty substantially here in Jackson last couple of days, not sure about what is happening at those elevations.
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Re: Extended Off Trail Trip in Teton Wilderness Area

Postby lrschmidt » Mon May 20, 2013 2:09 am

Thanks Doublecabin, I talked to a lady that has hiked the area and she pointed out a few flaws in my route, basically places where I'd run into cliffs. I think I have several possible options now. I'll probably skip the trail between the lakes since no one seems to know about it and its really a dead end anyway.

What I'd ideally like to do would be start in the north and hike across Eagle pass, through the corner of Yellowstone, and then more or less along the continental divide and come out at either Brooks Lake or the Five Pockets. That is IF I'm able to meet my brother up in there and arrange a shuttle. If not I'll be working out some kind of loop.

The loop will depend on YNP permits, any ongoing fires etc. but I'm pretty sure whatever I do I'll hit that section of the continental divide between Crest Mtn. and the Younts Peak area. I've also heard you can go cross country along the ridge from the Buffalo Plateau to what some people call Tri-County Lake (its not named on some maps). From there I could drop down to the Two Ocean Pass area and finish the trip on some of the more popular trails (where I'm less likely to get lost at the last minute)

I'll keep the deadfall issue in mind. I've tried not to plan any routes where I know there have been fires, I know that won't completely solve the problem but I figure it will help.
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Re: Extended Off Trail Trip in Teton Wilderness Area

Postby Doublecabin » Wed May 22, 2013 5:32 pm

I am having significant problems with the site here, anyone know what's going on with messaging, etc.

If the woman is talking about the head of Thorofare Creek there is indeed a slope to rise out of the drainage on before the headwall.

I'd like to continue this conversation privately so if you want more info email me at: bettsj16 at aol dot com.
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Re: Extended Off Trail Trip in Teton Wilderness Area

Postby georgia_yankee » Mon Jun 02, 2014 3:29 pm

lrschmidt--

I just today saw your posts from April/May 2013. I have had my eye on similar routes. I am curious--did you do the trip? How did it go?
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