Wind River Peak is a Wyoming thirteener. It is the highest and most massive peak in the south half of the Wind River Range. A dominant landmark of the region, it is the highest peak viewed by hikers approaching the very popular Cirque of Towers and the most identifiable peak to regional residents (mainly due to Surveyor's Notch, visible from both sides of the range). Its first recorded ascent was by Hayden Survey topographer A.D. Wilson, in 1877, shortly after Wyoming became a territory. Due to its size, elevation and position, the surveyors made it the namesake peak of the range. Walkup routes are possible from most directions (all involving a day's approach trek to the base) but several technical routes have also been accomplished on the mountain's numerous granite headwalls. Though it is a 'hikable' Wyoming 13er, the routes are long and usually requiring a full day from camp. Climbers are rewarded with a view that includes mountains, glaciers, plains, deserts and, when clear, as far as the Uintas. The peak is relatively popular and is visited by hikers and mountaineers as well as goat and llama packers.
1) For eastern approaches, the Louis Lake Loop road (#131) from Lander through Sinks Canyon is followed for 17 miles to the Worthen Meadows road which ends at the trailhead.
Summer 2007. This road is receiving a long belated (and abbreviated) paving project - expect delays and closures during daylight hours on the switchbacks.
2) The Big Sandy Opening is used for the northwestern approach.
3) For the southern approaches, leave Highway 28 at the crest of South Pass (on the continental divide) just west of the Sweetwater River crossing. Follow the divide-straddling road and signs 25 miles to the Sweetwater trailhead. This is also the route taken to Big Sandy from Lander/Casper.
The west side is managed by the Bridger Wilderness and National Forest. The east side is managed by the Popo Agie Wilderness of Shoshone National Forest. Wilderness regulations apply for camp locations, group size, campfire restrictions and ethics. There are no permit requirements in this section of these two wildernesses. Roads can remain closed until early June. Fee-based campgrounds exist at all trailheads.
Summer 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 often followed by a dry period with crisp temperatures for 1-4 weeks. Wind River Peak has been successfully skinned and skied from winter to early June.
Turiano, Thomas (2003). Select Peaks; Indomitus Books, Jackson, WY.
Bonney, O.H. (1977). Guide to the Wyoming Mountains, 3rd Ed.; Swallow Press. Chicago,IL.