The Innominate

Page Type
Wyoming, United States, North America
Trad Climbing
12761 ft / 3890 m
13203 Hits
86.13% Score
Log in
to vote
Page By:
The Innominate
Created On: Nov 12, 2004
Last Edited On: Jun 1, 2007


The Innominate is the fifth highest peak in the Big Horn Range of Wyoming. A knife-edge when viewed from the NW or SE, it presents two faces as the center headwall peak of the range's two deepest cirques - Wilderness Basin to the SW and Penrose Cirque to the NE. It is infrequently climbed due to the presence of immediate higher neighbors though it is known to lovers of alpine rock. It was first climbed by Walter and A. Willcox in 1933 at Grade III Class 5.6 from a high camp in Penrose Cirque. They did not attempt the summit block - a boulder standing on its end - considering it 'trivial' (Fred Beckey surmounted the block in 1977). Willcox compared it (favorably) to The Dru. The rock is granitic gneiss.


Northern Approach.The Princess Falls area can be reached from the north in a day via the Highland Park trail from Bighorn Reservoir. The trailhead requires high-clearance for the last section. Once at Kearney Lake/Highland Park the Spear Lake trail climbs west 3.5 miles before dropping to a meadow on Kearney Creek. Princess Falls, at the bottom of Penrose Canyon (Sawtooth Lakes), can be seen and a trail takes off towards them but soon diminishes. Climb and bushwhack to the left of the falls and above timberline into the basin for 2 miles and past the 9 or so Sawtooth Lakes to Penrose Cirque. A half day to high camp from the falls, 1-2 days from Bighorn Reservoir.

Southern Approach. Use the West Tensleep Trailhead and approach as for Cloud Peak. Hike 9 miles to gain Mistymoon Pass at the head of Mistymoon Lake and drop into the Paint Rock drainage. Contour variously from here for 2 miles to Middle Cloud Peak Lake at the base of Wilderness Basin. Ascend this basin for a few more miles past 6 lakes to the cirque at its head. Commonly done as a two-day approach, the second day being use trails above timberline.

Season and Conditions

Late June-Early September. Though the Big Horns get less snow than the other Wyoming ranges it tends to linger in the high basins.
Peaks in front of Innominate are sometimes visible on this webcam.
As for most Wyoming outings, bring DEET or be miserable.


Managed as the Cloud Peak Wilderness of Bighorn National Forest.
Self-registration at trailhead.
Normal wilderness restrictions on campfires, camping near waters, group size.


  • The first ascenders named the peak after a route on Kern Knotts Crag on the Great Gable, England. The route itself was named after a tarn in the Lake District.
  • The Innominate resides between the two northernmost 13ers in the Rockies.
  • Two words are used for the range, town and county (Big Horn) while one word (Bighorn) is used for the river and the forest.


AAJ, 1934; p. 176.
AAJ, 1968; p. 153 .
AAJ, 1977; p. 190.
Bonney, O.H. (1977). Guide to the Wyoming Mountains, 3rd Ed.; Swallow Press. Chicago, IL.