Wind River High Route Day 6. Woke to a clear, calm, warm day. We both felt the drain from the the 5 previous days, especially day 5 in Alpine Lakes Basin. Only one pass today, Blaurock Pass. But first, a major stream crossing.
Our route started that morning with 300′ gentle descent. Within 20 to 30 minutes, we were at the South Fork of North Bull Lake Creek, a fast, rocky, steam about 100 feet wide running with feet-numbing glacier melt. With these kinds of steams, getting across fast is key. I learned later in the day when we crossed Dinwoody Creek, these streams are quiet a bit warmer in the afternoon, especially when daytime temps are in the low 80s.
We both changed into our creek wading shoes: Work Ethic used Crock-like shoes; I had my XeroShoes Cloud – Men’s Barefoot Sandal. Work Ethic was across the stream before I got my pack back on.
As soon as I got my feet in the water, I knew it was going to be painful. I got about 20 feet before I had to climb up on a dry rock to get some relief from the foot-numbing water. That’s the problem with lightweight sandals: you have to carefully place each step to avoid even more pain by jamming your foot between rocks or slipping and falling into the stream.
After several more rest stops on dry rocks, I made it across. Work Ethic had a good laugh watching my painful crossing.
With shoes back on, we hiked over the lovely 11024 Pass into the North Fork of Bull Lake Creek, another big glacial stream. There was a feint trail leading down into Bull Lake Creek.
Work Ethic decided to cross the creek where the trail met it. After my painful experience crossing the South Fork, I decided to walk up the south side of the stream to see if I could find a smaller crossing. That worked. After traversing about a 1/4 mile, I was able to rock hop across a rushing, narrow tributary stream. Then, once I reached the meadows at about 10,800, I had to cross a shallow, 30 foot wide stream that was much warmer than the South Fork of Bull Lake Creek.
Work Ethic said his route was nice too, so you could go either way depending on your preference.
The hike up Blaufock Pass, aka, Blow Rock Pass, requires careful route selection to avoid as much of the massive talus fields as possible. We chose a route up the low angle snow. Once it steepened, we traversed right onto the big moraine and worked our way up to a big ramp and followed that up to the pass. Very steep and loose climbing, but it mostly avoided the big talus.
On the pass, you get a great view of Gannett Peak and the Northern end of the route. The descent into Dinwoody Creek was similar to the previous passes: if you were careful about the route you picked, you could avoid major talus fields and cliffs.
Once we made it to Dinwoody Creek, we decided didn’t want to do more talus, more peaks, more high ridges. We should have built in a rest day. We probably could have recovered enough to finish the high route. Instead, we chose to exit on the Glacier Trail. It’s about the same distance, but is all on a trail.