Gannett Peak, Wyoming
This spectacular and remote summit serves up a complete wilderness adventure.
State high points in the West are usually crowd magnets (witness Whitney, Hood, Elbert, and company), but Wyoming’s isolated Gannett Peak suffers no such problem. Make 13,804-foot Gannett the midpoint of a 40-mile, east-west traverse of the Wind River Range, and you’ll experience breathtaking solitude and scenery. Start at Trail Lake Ranch, on the east side of the range, and hike over 10,895-foot Burro Flat and up braided Dinwoody Creek to a camp near Wilson Meadows.
The glacier system around Gannett is the largest in the U.S. Rocky Mountains, so ice axe and crampon skills are mandatory, but there is minimal crevasse danger–many parties don’t even bother to lug a rope. (Mosquitoes are typically the bigger risk.) Go before late July for easy step-kicking and snow-filled crevasses. You’ll climb a snow couloir to gain the ridge between the Gooseneck and Dinwoody Glaciers, and then follow the narrow crest to the top. Retrace your steps to the car or, even better, cross Dinwoody Pass and trek 18 miles down lake-filled Titcomb Basin to the Elkhart Park trailhead on the west side of the Winds.
Guidebook Wind River Mountains, by Joe Kelsey ($25, Globe Pequot Press)
Info (307) 455-2466; fs.fed.us/r2/shoshone