To Gannett and Back in 25 Hours

To Gannett and Back in 25 Hours

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 43.18115°N / 109.65454°W
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Aug 7, 2010
Activities Activities: Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Summer

A quick hike to Gannett Peak, by Joseph Bullough and Matt Van Horn
Photos by Jacob Moon

Wildflowers in Titcomb BasinEarly morning in Titcomb Basin

The Team
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Joseph Bullough
Lone Peak

Jake Moon
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Matt Van Horn
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Scott Wesemann

by Joseph Bullough

Our motel for a few hours (strictly platonic)Motel at Pinedale

I scheduled this trip back in late spring / early summer, trying to pick a time when I thought the mosquitos would be ebbing, yet there would still be enough of a snowbridge over the bergschrund to make the crossing a non-issue. This worked out quite well, with only a few mosquitos in Titcomb Basin and a healthy snowbridge at the bergschrund. The initial group size of six shrank only slightly to four in the final week of planning, and with a good looking forecast the event was on.

Travel Day
by Joseph Bullough

Checkout at midnightLoading up at midnight

We met at my house around noon on Friday 8/6 for the drive to Pinedale Wyoming. The other three hikers were Jake Moon, Matt Van Horn, and Scott Wesemann. Scott had 2 previous Gannett summits under his belt, and I had one, but for Jake and Matt it would be a first time on Gannett.
Signing in at Elkhart THSigning in at Elkhart TH
With Jake behind the wheel we made short work of the drive to Pinedale Wyoming, arriving around 4:30 pm.

We secured a motel room, then had Subway Sandwiches for dinner. Back in our small motel room Jake and I selected sleeping spots on the floor, while Matt and Scott chose the bed, utilizing the king size to maximize separation distance. We settled on an 11:30 wake up time, and turned in around 7:00 pm for a short night of sleep.

No one managed much sleep, and it was somewhat of a relief to get up and get the day under way at 11:30. We packed up our gear, then made the short drive to the trailhead. A few more minor preparations, then we were off up the dark trail at 12:35 am.

The Hike Up
by Joseph Bullough

Matt began with a blistering pace which I didn't think I could keep up for too long. Fortunately he soon eased up a bit and we settled into a brisk but comfortable pace. A brief rainstorm the "night before" resulted in a lot of trail puddles to be dodged, but other than that the night was uneventful. Approximately 3 hours into the hike we arrived at Seneca Lake, where we stopped briefly to place a cache of unneeded items.
Blue Morning at Island LakeSandy beach at Island Lake

Indian Creek crossingApproaching Indian Creek crossing

The first light of the day began to make its appearance as we rounded the south shore of Island Lake, and this continued into a beautiful though somewhat cloudy sunrise as we proceeded into Titcomb Basin.
First view of Titcomb BasinFirst full view of Titcomb Basin
Near the north end of Upper Titcomb Lake we took a break to purify water for the climb to the summit.
Hiking toward Bonney PassToward Bonney Pass

Soon we were gaining elevation rapidly as we began the increasingly steep climb up to Bonney Pass. The air became cooler and a stiff breeze began blowing at our backs.
Hike to Bonney PassClimbing to Bonney Pass
I moved over to the right in a mostly successful effort to stay on rock rather than snow. I noticed that Matt was now moving more slowly, and I began to wonder if he would be able to continue to the summit.
Mid-morning view of Gannett from Bonney PassClassic view of Gannett Peak

Jake and I arrived at Bonney Pass first at around 10:00 am, and we moved a short distance onto the north slopes to escape the wind and get our first good view of Gannett. Jake expressed concern over our pace and that we might not make the summit, so I suggested setting a 2:00 pm turnaround time. This would give us a solid 4 hours to make the summit. We would obviously be hiking out in the dark, but we had no other plans so continuing to the summit seemed the logical idea.

A few minutes later Matt arrived on Bonney Pass, but still no Scott, which surprised me since Scott had been moving so well down below. About 10 minutes later Scott showed up and voiced his concern that he was moving very slowly and starting to feel the effects of altitude. Jake and I were becoming chilled and began moving down Bonney Pass towards Gannett. Scott made his decision not to continue, and after wavering a bit Matt made the decision to continue.
Scott at Bonney PassThis was as far as Scott went. We met up with him some 7 hours later for the hike out.

A short distance down the slope, unknown to us at the time, one of Matt's crampons detached from his pack. Although we found the crampon on the return up to Bonney Pass, the end result was that Matt made the entire climb without the use of crampons.
Joe on Dinwoody glacierJoe crossing Dinwoody glacier
Matt walking above the moat Matt on crest of the moat wall

After making the descent from Bonney Pass, we began the slow climb back up the Gooseneck Glacier.

The snowbridge over the bergschrund was very stout and a non-issue, and we finally trudged onto the summit at 1:01 pm. Our ascent time of 12:26 was not a blazing time, but respectable in our minds nonetheless.
Snowbridge over bergschrundMatt crossing the bergschrund
Gannett summit ridgeGannett Peak summit ridge

The Summit
by Matt Van Horn

I was surprised at how busy the summit was. When Joe, Jake and and I moved along the summit ridge, we passed 3 climbers roped together who had come up another route. Not far behind us were several climbers, including 3 ultra-marathoners who started the same trail we did some 3 hours after us, making way toward Wyoming's highest point.
On the summit of Gannett PeakSummit success! Bonney Pass behind and to our right.

The view from Gannett Peak lives up to its reputation. While shoving food into my mouth I glanced around at the mountains and glaciers now at my feet. Someone asked if the sky was clear enough to see the Tetons and yes, wow! there they were, standing tall in the distance.

The Descent
by Matt Van Horn

Although weather was very nice at the summit, we made our stay deliberately short. With 20-plus miles between us and our vehicle, we needed to get moving. We retraced our route down the snow-covered ridge, mixing in some rock scrambling when appropriate. Back down the col toward the bergschrund the downclimbing was easy forward-facing steps. At one point I lost sight of Joe and Jake as they moved on while I had a bathroom break.
Weather on Dinwoody glacierSummer storm over Bonney Pass

About this time dreaded thunder pounded down from above and echoed off the massive surrounding granite walls of the glacier valleys. Rain and light snow fell and more dreaded were the lightning flashes that now became common for the next 45 minutes as the three of us, Joe and Jake somewhat lower on the Gooseneck Ridge, and I, made our way as quickly as possible to the glacier to start our climb back toward Bonney Pass. For a time I was alone, not knowing where the others were, so when I saw three human figures crossing the dirty ice toward the moat crest, I assumed they were my teammates. I yelled and waved and one waved back, but when I finally caught up, it was two women and another man. I had somehow passed Joe and Jake and soon could see them approaching and where reunited to cross the glacier. They had taken refuge under some rocks to wait out the storm, which explains how I got ahead of them. Fortunately the storm broke and we climbed to Bonney Pass without threat of lightning and rain hanging over us. Being in the lead, I retraced our route from the pass hoping to find my lost crampons and was delighted to find it waiting for me on a rock, no doubt laid there by one of the thoughtful climbers ahead of us. The climb back up and over Bonney Pass was uneventful. A final look at the mountain and we plunged back down toward upper Titcomb basin.
Titcomb Basin from Bonney PassA view of Titcomb basin from high on Bonney Pass

Late afternoon hike out from GannettLate afternoon death march

Hiking out past many lakes Hiking out past lakes we did not see in the early morning darkness

The Hike Out

At the base of the pass we stopped to refill water, which for me was the last time I needed a refill. The weather held all the way for us as we picked up the trail and marched silently mile after mile past the Titcomb lakes. Occasionally I would wonder what became of Scott and where we would see him again. Somewhere near the lower Titcomb lake a familiar figure sat on a rock looking toward us. "There you guys are!", shouted Scott. None of us answered back. From his view on that rock he described the three of us as "shattered", bowed over with fatigue. He would be right because it was at this point I began to feel the weight of the day piled on me and I became a walking deadman.
Wasted with 10 miles to go10 miles to go and feeling like hell

Lamps lit at duskLamps lit for another night of hiking

I cannot speak for the others except to say we were all deeply tired at that point, and I silently wondered if I would be able to hike for 6 more hours. On the other hand, Scott seemed to be dancing around like a sprite, full of energy. Sure, he had hiked 23 miles into the Winds with a fifteen mile hike ahead of him, but he had a nice 6 hour rest watching the lake and waiting for us to come back from the other side of the pass.

There is not much to report for this portion of the trip except to say that it was nice to see some of the scenery that we had missed in the dark hike in. We set into a slower but steady march toward our trailhead goal as the sun went down. We reached Seneca lake at dusk and lit headlamps once again. I remember the last 4 hours as simply staring at the spotlight at my feet, dodging puddles, rocks and horse poop. "Where the hell is the parking lot? Are we on the right trail? I don't remember this dead tree laying across the trail."

Of course we did reach the end of the trail, thank goodness, and our total trip time was just over 25 hours. I'll call that a day hike of Gannett. After a few stops and a quick nap at the side of the road, Jake drove us home in time to go to church Sunday morning.

Not that any of us went.

Miscellaneous Stats

Hike Times
Ascent - 12:26:18
Summit - 0:12:44
Descent - 12:26:57
Total - 25:05:59

Roundtrip miles - ±44


Post a Comment
Viewing: 1-20 of 33

McCannster - Aug 14, 2010 3:54 pm - Voted 10/10

Great Report

I would love to do Gannett soon, I hope to get up there before it starts snowing. Your report gives me confidence that I can do it as a day hike.

Matthew Van Horn

Matthew Van Horn - Aug 15, 2010 5:28 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Great Report

Thanks, and Let us know how it goes for you when you get it done.


ZeeJay - Aug 14, 2010 5:17 pm - Voted 10/10


Nice job guys!

Matthew Van Horn

Matthew Van Horn - Aug 15, 2010 5:28 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: WTG!

Judy, you were there in spirit, right?


JLarsen - Aug 14, 2010 8:27 pm - Hasn't voted

Been looking forward to reading this.

Excellent effort up there.

Matthew Van Horn

Matthew Van Horn - Aug 15, 2010 5:29 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Been looking forward to reading this.

Give it another try next year!


JLarsen - Aug 22, 2010 11:54 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Been looking forward to reading this.

If you are planning to do it again next year, I could possibly be up for it, when I get the feeling of endless trail from photographers point on out of my head. I would love to get this done in one push, especially now I know what to expect on the section after Bonney.


TyeDyeTwins - Aug 15, 2010 1:14 am - Voted 10/10

Right on....

Excellent trip report, way to get out there and get it done. Happy Trails....however long they may be.

Matthew Van Horn

Matthew Van Horn - Aug 15, 2010 5:29 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Right on....

Would you consider skiing this sucker? Seems like you've skied everything else!


TyeDyeTwins - Aug 17, 2010 12:22 am - Voted 10/10

Re: Right on....

I have skied lots of Utah, a sliver of Nevada but never Wyoming. I am heading up there this weekend to climb the Middle Teton. The death march you guys were able to endure gives me hope that Kings Peak can be done in a day this September. Happy Trails.

Scott Wesemann

Scott Wesemann - Aug 16, 2010 10:04 am - Voted 10/10

Nice report

Great job with the report and the pictures. Just going into Bonny and out in a day was a KILLER. What you guys did was a KILLER + HELL. Seriously, nice work boys. I am in for next year.

Matthew Van Horn

Matthew Van Horn - Aug 17, 2010 11:04 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Nice report

I'l' even share a king size bed with you again.

Scott Wesemann

Scott Wesemann - Aug 17, 2010 1:02 pm - Voted 10/10

It was nice...

I mean who doesn't enjoy a little spooning before a long day in the mountains?

Joseph Bullough

Joseph Bullough - Aug 18, 2010 12:19 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: It was nice...

From the floor I thought all that noise on the bed was just the sound of two guys snoring. Silly me...

Scott Wesemann

Scott Wesemann - Aug 18, 2010 1:31 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: It was nice...

That bed was super loud. Everything in that room seemed to be LOUD. Maybe it was just the frequent (every 10 minute) bathroom breaks taken by Matt.

Matthew Van Horn

Matthew Van Horn - Aug 17, 2010 11:06 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Madmen gettin it.



SarahThompson - Aug 16, 2010 10:41 am - Voted 10/10


We saw you guys run/walk/drag yourselves past our camp in upper Titcomb Basin on your way out and figured you were pulling a day trip of Gannett. My feet hurt just reading about it! Congrats guys.


phatty - Aug 16, 2010 1:02 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Congrats!

sarah, what day did you guys summit? We talked with these boys at our base camp at lower titcomb, and summitted on Sunday...


SarahThompson - Aug 16, 2010 5:09 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: Congrats!

I didn't climb Gannett on this trip. Had an awesome week+ long stay in Titcomb climbing Henderson, Helen, Spearhead Pinnacle, Three Brothers, Sacagawea, American Legion & Great Needle. I was with a party of 4 others... maybe you talked to one of my teammates? One in our party required rescue high on Sacagawea Thursday/Friday.

Matthew Van Horn

Matthew Van Horn - Aug 17, 2010 11:05 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Congrats!

If I knew we hiked past some fellow Summitposters I would have managed to say hello!

Viewing: 1-20 of 33