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  1. #1
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    Wind River Cirque of the Towers loop

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    Iím heading to backpack washakie pass - lizard head - cirque of the towers at the end of the month. Has anyone been through there recently? Weíre a little worried because the ranger station said the bugs are ďviciousĒ right now (assuming theyíre extra bad b/c of the late snow pack). Any other 4 night trips around Jackson Hole we should consider?

  2. #2
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    I pulled that photo off the interwebs - hope that doesnít violate a rule ...

  3. #3
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    The skeeter conundrum is real. A top five mosquito Hell like AK or the Everglades.
    100% deet and netting.

    So many sick hikes close by: the Teton Crest Trail, Continental Divide trail, All of Yellowstone. Beartooth Pass too.

    Oh, and Bears.

  4. #4
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    Thanks Djongo. Anyone have success with the walk up permits for the Teton Crest Trail?

  5. #5
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    Wind River Cirque of the Towers loop

    Are you using permethrin? Stuff works great for mosquitos, etc
    Quote Originally Posted by My Pet Powder Goat View Post
    Come for the poo-slinging, Save a fortune on a plumber.

  6. #6
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    Iíve never used it before, but I ordered a spray bottle after I read about the bugs in the Winds. Glad to hear it works.

  7. #7
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    Oct 2017
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOLAjong View Post
    Thanks Djongo. Anyone have success with the walk up permits for the Teton Crest Trail?
    hit or miss, especially to link up the best campsites. I got teton crest out of my system long ago, but last year a visiting friend tried to do teton crest overnight last minute and ended up with second tier campsites in less than ideal stopping points.

    obviously the teton crest trail is unreal, but save yourself the hassle and time of trying to figure out teton crest permits or dealing with GTNP crowds, construction, tomfoolery, etc. and just enjoy yourself in the winds.

  8. #8
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    Jan 2017
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    Thatís our current plan. Hopefully the squitos and back flies will die off a little in the next week and a half.

  9. #9
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    Jan 2017
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    Let me know if anyone has any more tips on this route. Campsite advice? Weíre planning on bringing bear spray. Is it necessary? Should we all have one or would we be good with one? Thanks for all the advice!!

  10. #10
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    Oct 2017
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    bring chemical water treatment, not just filters. drink from streams rather than lakes if you can. there is a lot of human shit around cirque of the towers. please consider buying those bags that you shit into then carry around for the rest of the trip so that you can pack it out, but i don't blame you if you choose not to, because holy fuck those smell bad at the end.

  11. #11
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    Jan 2008
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    According to Howard Donner MD--a wilderness medicine and expedition medicine specialist--the stagnant water at the edge of lakes is safer then the rushing water from a stream coming from the same lake because some of the organisms have been killed by UV rays.

    I have never been to the Wind Rivers and not encountered a lot of mosquitos and no-see-ums. On one trip my partner insisted on killing mosquitoes that got into the tent by squashing them on the roof and leaving them there. Disgusting. What "vicious" mosquitoes means compared to the usual you'll have to find out for yourself. The worst I've experienced was in mid July with a fair amount of snow still in the Cirque but it was bearable and we didn't have permethrin.

    Treat your clothes with permethrin and your skin with picardin. Long sleeves and pants. If you really want to be protected take a head net and light gloves but you probably won't need to use them.

  12. #12
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    Thanks OG. Thatís surprising info about the stagnant water, but i guess it makes sense. Iíll pick up some picardin.

    Lester - Iíll talk to my group about carrying out our shit. We definitely donít want to add to the problem up there.

  13. #13
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    Oct 2017
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    yeah specifically, drink from streams above the popular camping zones. interesting about stagnant water but UV is powerful

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOLAjong View Post
    Thanks OG. That’s surprising info about the stagnant water, but i guess it makes sense. I’ll pick up some picardin.

    Lester - I’ll talk to my group about carrying out our shit. We definitely don’t want to add to the problem up there.
    I should be more specific--if faced with the need to drink and no means of purification, shallow stagnant water is best. But treating the water, wherever you get it is still best.

    Quote Originally Posted by LesterSmoove View Post
    yeah specifically, drink from streams above the popular camping zones. interesting about stagnant water but UV is powerful
    As an ex climber I can tell you that in a place like Winds there is plenty of shit above the popular camping zones and climbers are less likely to bury their shit than normal people--usually in a hurry and often no dirt to bury it in. On my first Winds trip one of the great pleasures was kneeling down beside a little high alpine stream and drinking from my cupped hands. No way I'd do that now.

    About poop bags--when we hiked the Virgin narrows they gave us a bag with chemicals for the poop to throw in the regular trash. In the morning there was an awful smell coming from our gear. I thought the poop had leaked in my back. Turns out it was the canyoneering shoes we rented. I think I would almost had preferred it to be leaked poop.

  15. #15
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    I've heard the bugs are gnarly this summer, makes perfect sense given the snowpack. Almost went up to Mosquito Lake in the Uintas last weekend but luckily my partner bailed.

    Try to be redundant when it comes to bug prep. It is war. Layers, nets, sprays. Sometimes you need everything and you still get constant noise from em. I've had to abandon camp for a pass because they just. dont. quit.

  16. #16
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    Jul 2015
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    I spent a month in the Winds in August Ď89, the mosquitos had passed by then. Still remember humping up Jackass Pass and then the view below to the lake and Cirque. Amazing. Spent a few days there, only saw a backcountry ranger passing through.


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  17. #17
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    Jan 2017
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    Iím praying that the bugs are dying out with the recent dry weather (but deep down I know the snow pack is holding that standing water).

    Any thoughts on whether we should carry mini-spikes b/c of snow cover?

  18. #18
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    Jul 2005
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    Moose, Iowa
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    We have been to the Winds for week longs last summer and the year before and bug reports were both the same...horrible terrible stories of death swarms misery and hikers departing the hell early. We ignored and marched in anyway of course.

    What we found is bug conditions change rapidly so the reports are usually outdated by the time you hear them. Also bug swarms for us were limited to certain altitudes. Above or below we were fine. We treat every single piece of clothing with a fresh coat of permethrin and bring treated head nets...which are god awful things to wear but in a pinch they provide some relief. We bring some 100% deet also in the little plastic spray bottle. Last year the reports were so dire that I threw a larger aerosol spray can of OFF in my pack and that thing ended up being our go to for quick and easy relief and it was worth its weight in gold ie family backpacking...we blew threw most of that can that July week and the little bottle of deet was lonely and mostly wasted weight.

    Last year we also started to set up camp at one site that ended up being an incredible bug pit from hell but ended up moving to a more exposed site a few hundred yards away that was almost bug free, put away our nets and had a fan fucking tastic evening on our own private lake.

    So just go. We haven't done your route but when we did a more traveled route the first year we found the shit piles everywhere reports to be way overblown. Never have seen one actually but we seek out off trail camp sites in non climb zones and make sure to dig mini pits a good distance from camp and water. What pissed me off more than anything are the via coffee packets strewn around practically every site. People are such slobs. Also I think shit bags are a great thing to bring if you are going to camp in a highly trafficked zone. Bags in another no smell trash bag equals no smell or mess at all and my poop is the worst smelling crap ever according to everyone.

    Also bear spray for everyone in the party absolutely.




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    Last edited by uglymoney; 07-20-2019 at 11:17 AM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOLAjong View Post
    Iím praying that the bugs are dying out with the recent dry weather (but deep down I know the snow pack is holding that standing water).

    Any thoughts on whether we should carry mini-spikes b/c of snow cover?
    For normal snowfield approaches and such I doubt you will need the spikes. Trekking poles and post hole till it softens. Probably just extra weight. This is not specific to your route though. Ymmv.

  20. #20
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    - Camp in spots exposed to wind if mosquitoes are bad.
    -get the poop bags with the powder in the bottom, holds the smell down.
    -I personally don't think shoe spikes are all that helpful in summer snow, unless you happen to cross first thing in the morning when the surface is frozen. If anything a lightweight axe is the tool to have for steep snow crossings. I don't remember any particularly steep spots on either Jackass or Washakie passes though, my memory isn't great.
    -I'm not sure that I've ever taken bear spray in the southern winds. But I've heard that the grizz are moving south. Can't hurt.

  21. #21
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    Thanks guys. I really appreciate the intel!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by uglymoney View Post
    For normal snowfield approaches and such I doubt you will need the spikes. Trekking poles and post hole till it softens. Probably just extra weight. This is not specific to your route though. Ymmv.
    In 5 climbing trips to the Winds in July and August the only time I put on crampons was for an ice gulley on Mt Helen and for Dinwoody Pass early season (my partner didn't bother with them and was fine). Even the gooseneck route on Gannet was easy with just an axe. Of course early or late season would be different. A ranger should be able to advise you if an axe is needed for steep snow high in the passes. I personally would never use spikes or crampons without an ice axe, but an ice ax without spikes or crampons frequently.

  23. #23
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    Thanks again for all of the advice. The trip was amazing. The mosquitos were out, but the permethrin worked wonders. We packed out TP, but not poop.

  24. #24
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    Feb 2005
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    Why didn't you just burn it?

  25. #25
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    Dec 2008
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    Nice! Looks like you guys got some good weather. Pretty embarrassed to have never been to the winds

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