The Wind River Range is one of my favorite mountain ranges in the United States. The towering granite walls, scenic meadows, sparkling lakes, plus an almost unlimited supply of peaks make the range a must for any climber or hiker.
Here is the story of a climb of East Temple peak that I did with my wife and two children over Labor Day weekend. The only downside was that I wish we could have stayed longer.
The photos will tell most of the story.
Looking 2300 feet down (700 meters) from the summit of East Temple Peak. September 1 2013.
East Temple Peak from Deep Lake.
Kim had to work very late (12:20 AM) the night before, so we got a late start on the drive.
Once reaching the trailhead in the early afternoon, we quickly set off towards Deep Lake. The parking lot was very full, so we had to park fairly far away.
We had really beautiful weather and we had to walk quickly because of the late start. We made our way to Big Sandy Lake before heading towards Clear Lake. Luckily this late in the year, the stream crossing was quite easy.
This is the trail near Big Sandy Lake.
Big Sandy Lake. Left to Right, the big peaks are Haystack Mountain, East Temple Peak, and Temple Peak.
Clear Lake had barking dogs, so we pushed on towards Clear Lake. It was actually a challenge to find a campsite that was both 100 feet from the steam and 200 feet from the lakes and trails, so Kessler and I set off to find one while Kim and Shaylee waited below.
East Temple Peak from Clear Lake.
We ended up finding a beautiful campsite on a bench below Deep Lake. We had made the 8 miles in 4.5 hours, but still had to hurry with camp set up and dinner before dark. Camp was set up just as the mountains were being painted orange by the sun.
Dinner time near camp and just below Deep Lake. Haystack Mountain is far left. East Temple Peak is the pointy peak center left. Temple Peak is to the right.
Sunset on Warbonnet Peak.
Today, Kessler, Shaylee, Kimberly and I set off to climb East Temple Peak. We slept in later than planned, but the sky was completely clear (and 30F/-1C) and we set off towards the mountain. Between Deep and Temple Lakes we found an old trail heading towards Temple Pass. Along the way we saw many pikas and a marmot that popped out and smiled for the camera.
Cirque of the Towers as viewed from near Clear Lake.
Steeple Peak (left) and East Temple Peak (right) as seen in early morning light.
The magnificent northwest wall of East Temple Peak. Lost Temple Spire can also be picked out from this angle.
In the isolated areas, some marmots are pretty shy, but this guy popped out and smiled for the camera.
Approach to Temple Pass from Temple Lake. Temple Peak is in the background.
Temple Peak as seen from the slopes of East Temple.
The trail to Temple Pass was very steep, but not too bad and provided quick travel. Once at the pass we set off up the southwest ridge of East Temple. The climb was fairly easy, especially by Wind River Range standards, but we had a lot of boulderhopping on the Class 3 ridge. We later found out that much of it could have been bypassed to the north.
Climbing the Southwest Ridge of East Temple Peak. Temple Peak is in the background.
Part of the ridge route to East Temple Peak.
Near the summit of East Temple Peak.
Once at the summit, we had a really nice lunch and an incredible view. The kids really like to look straight off the "diving board" just below the summit.
View from the summit of East Temple Peak. Haystack Mountain is in the center while the peaks surrounding the Cirque of the Towers are in the far background.
After enjoying the summit we found a class 2 route north of the route we took up. It was easier than our ascent route.
It was a routine descent back to camp. It sure was a beautiful climb.
Temple Lake and Temple Peak.
After dark we saw two headlamps near the top of Warbonnet Peak far to the south. They must have had an epic climb to the summit and had to descend in the dark. We watched them for a long time making slow progress down the mountain.
It rained the night before, so we woke up early and started packing up camp in the rain. The rain tapered off and luckily we didn't have to take the tent down until it stopped. We were sure if it would rain more and the sky was threatening, so we headed down the trail rather quickly.
The creek between Clear Lake and Deep Lake.
This is the trail above Clear Lake. Much of the route between Clear Lake and Deep Lake is on smooth rock slabs like this.
Haystack Mountain as seen after a rainstorm.
Crossing a log at Big Sandy Lake.
We took two good rest, one at Big Sandy Lake to eat breakfast (because it was raining, we waited to eat breakfast) and one at the junction half way back from Big Sandy Lake. Other than that it was a routine hike, and the kids enjoyed watching the squirrels. We made it back to the vehicle right when it started to rain again.
One of the squirrels the kids like to watch