Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Cirque Of Towers, Wind River Range, 1972-92*

We first visited the Winds, and the Cirque of Towers, in 1972. The Cirque is one of the more spectacular of Alpine settings I know of, difficult of access, but of surpassing beauty and uniqueness. We visited again in the early 80s, when I climbed Warbonnet Peak, and then again in 1992, with our girls.
You turn off the highway at Boulder and then drive what were
then some pretty ugly roads, unpaved, for 25-30 miles or so,
and park at Big Sandy Opening; and then you walk; but
immediately the scenery is glorious; Haystack is the big
mountain with the giant face; from Big Sandy Lake

More of the initial scenery

Arrowhead Lake; points toward Shaft Lake; the trail to the
Cirque is reputedly the worst in the West, going up when it
should go down, and down when it should go up, etc.

Eventually, you reach Jackass Pass and your first good glimpse
of the Cirque

And Lonesome Lake; you camp by Lonesome Lake; in the
olden days, you could be pretty lonesome; not any more, I

A cirque is a circular array of mountains, usually around a lake;
so here we are panning around, first left, Warbonnet Peak, then
Warrior I...

And Warrior II and Warrior Ridge

More panning

And Pingora, the tower that looms 2,000
feet over the center of the cirque

And more panning

In 1972, climbing up the interior of the cirque to get a better
look at Pingora


And thus


Lonesome Lake again

Looking down the valley of the west fork of the Popo Agie,
toward Lander, some miles distant; Mt. Mitchell on the right,
named for Finis Mitchell, the Rock Springs climber/writer/
photographer/legislator who did so much to explore and
popularize this area--now all protected wilderness--among my
more prized possessions are some slides he sent me in the

August 20, 1972, the end of our first summer of backpacking;
6 inches of snow as we march out of the Winds

Magical place

*from the Sherouse Family Digital Archives

PS A few weeks after posting this, going through stuff in our storage unit in Missoula, I came across a post card Finis Mitchell also sent me, showing Gannett Peak and its features...

And thus

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